Trigger Point Tooth Pain – an Unusual Cause

Masseter Trigger Point

It’s a little known fact that trigger points in the jaw muscles can be a very real cause of long term tooth pain and toothache. And I’ve had quite a few questions asking which trigger points cause mouth pain. So this video explains how you can find and treat them.

The commonest causes of mouth pain are your teeth and gums. Your dentist should be able to fix these. But sometimes this isn’t the cause. The reason for this is that the face and mouth have a very complicated nerve supply and often pain refers from one structure to another area.

So you could have pain from the neck or the jaw joint referring into the mouth. Equally, muscle trigger points can refer pain into the mouth and teeth. Chronic trigger point tooth pain can be incredibly debilitating, and really difficult to sort out.  The video below discusses two of the most common trigger points and how to treat them.

Chronic pain inside the mouth is quite common, and the causes that usually occur are teeth and tongue. Usually, if you went along to your dentist and they looked inside your mouth, they’d be able to sort that out.

Another lesser known cause of chronic mouth and tooth pain is trigger points. There are certain muscles around your jaw, which when they get trigger points in them, refer pain inside your mouth. Even though the trigger point is in the muscle, you feel it inside your mouth.

The two muscles most likely to do this are the temporalis and the pterygoids. The pterygoids occurs inside the jaw, and the temporalis occurs inside the jaw. They both pull your jaw shut.

Releasing Temporalis Trigger Points

One of four Temporalis Trigger Points. You can find the rest here >>>

The temporalis muscle is shaped like a fan. It starts at your hairline in the front and runs forward to attach to your jaw. You can turn off trigger points in this muscle using the ischemic pressure trigger release method.

When you do this correctly, you’ll feel the triggers melt away. There may be more than one, so you need to examine for each trigger point, and switch them off individually.

Once you’ve switched them off, then the next step is to stretch the muscle. The temporalis pulls your jaw closed. So the treatment is to hook your fingers in your open mouth, and let the weight of your arm pull your mouth open. Stay like that for about 30 seconds, and that’s your stretch.

The final thing to do is put local heat in the form of a wheat bag or a hot water bottle, and apply it to the muscle for 5 minutes.

The temporalis muscle will typically refer pain to an individual tooth or teeth. So quite often, people end up going to the dentist saying, “I know I can feel this tooth is really sore.” The dentist does x-rays and taps the tooth, and there’s no pain at all. This is the muscle that does that.

Pterygoid Trigger Points

The Lateral Pterygoid Trigger Point. You can find the other trigger points on charts here >>

The second muscle is hidden, and a lot of people don’t even know it exists. It’s called the pterygoid, which is Greek, with a silent P.

This muscle occurs inside your jaw, running inside the mouth. The way you find it is that you put your finger on the inside of your jaw from the angle coming forward, and you dig in.

Often these points can be very tender. Again, you can use ischemic pressure to turn these trigger points off.

The stretch is also the same. However, this trigger gives you a more diffuse pain inside your mouth.

These are two fairly common triggers that cause pain inside your mouth. In the past, I’ve treated people who’ve had teeth removed, trying to find the source of their pain, and it’s ended up being trigger points in these muscles.

Get more detailed videos on mouth trigger point treatment.

Maureen June 21, 2009

Thank you Jonathan,
I do really appreciate your help in showing and explaining just how this works and demonstating it fully.
I intend to start forwith, I will report back after a time of trail
Can you tell me for how long this should be applied for, eg.1wk, 1month etc. Or is it something that will have to be done always.
Thank you extremely
In Christ

Alexia October 2, 2009

I have been investigating trigger points for a few months now. I bought a trigger point board which has changed my life. I had so much wide spread pain that could not work out anymore as it increased the pain or stiffness. I have used trigger point therapy on my kids if they have a stiff spot. I love how easy it is, and how successful it is. Thanks so much for you videos as sometimes I am not sure what to do for a certain area. In Christ Alexia

Bill Guilfoil July 11, 2010

hi did send you two people that are comimg tonew Zealand in feb four people in all one dr hollyfritych she is a dermstologist and was also once an internist graduate of yale md also an actress marcia rodd look her up on google she was a leadimhg adya tennis player both of them and ghreat friends of ine all so so still working on psoas muscle and trigger points nby a gal massage and she weas a pysical trainer and seems to haver really helped am too active playing tennis and table tennis need to slow down a bit see you Best Bill Guilfoil

    Jonathan July 19, 2010

    hi Bill

    Thank you for sending these two friends of yours. They can e-mail me and perhaps we can meet up. I’m sure that they will enjoy New Zealand. You keep working away at that psoas


lovern July 20, 2010

Jonathan, you have been the answer to my prayers, the sediative to my pain, who ever you want to put it. Almost every time you upload a video, it’s about me and the pains I have been having for the last year.
This one on toothaches, hit the nail on the head. I have been having toothache pain since Feb.10 and did all that you mentioned with the dentist bit. Pain killers from the hospital was the last resort. Since I have been implementing your advice, life has improved immensely. Keep up the fantastic advice. God bless.

    Jonathan August 14, 2010

    Hi Lovern

    I’m so delighted that you have found such relief. It is fascinating and exciting how powerful and effective accurate application of knowledge can be. Studying and treating trigger points is a treasure trove.

    Keep up the good work. I wish you all the best.

    Kind regards

Andy January 26, 2011

Thank you so much ,I had a root canal done on my tooth (upper left molar) because of pain and headaches and the headaches have no gone away!

My gum even bleeds when my root canal hurts…. or the part near it, I started massaging it like you said and the pain went away, even the bleeding!

    Jonathan January 31, 2011

    Hi Andy,

    really pleased to hear that.

    All the best

Eddy Munro March 3, 2011

Hello Jonathan
Thankyou so much for all the free information you have given me in my pursuit of pain relief for my darling wife Wendy. She has suffered with symptoms of fibromyalgia for the majority of her 47 years and after getting on to your site and learning what was available to me in helping her get pain relief has had a major affect in her finding some peace at last from all the pains she suffers.
When I can finally afford to I will subcribe and continue in learning how to apply the techniques you show me to relieve my wifes pain.
wendy also helps relieve pains I have as well….you have saved us a fortune on medicines and professional help to overcome the pain that she suffers, thank you so much for all the good you have done for us and countless 1000’s

Kind regards

Eddy & Wendy

nathalie cohen March 21, 2011

you are amazing!!!!
thank you very much!!!!

Verna Campbell August 10, 2011

I have TMJ and recently went on a 4×4 road trip on very bad roads. I started with Tinnutis which is driving me crazy. Any suggestions? It first started when I experienced excrutiating pain shooting up in my head when I had flown to a location with a much lower altitude then disappeared after a day, our road trip was a few weeks later
I have now had it for 6 weeks.

sharon rogers September 14, 2011

dear johnthon
about 18 months ago i went in hospital as i had heart attack i came out went for a tooth out to dentist as i was in pain they took tooth out but left root in and couldnt fix it so i went to another dentist i paid to have root taken out and i was in severe toothache with other 22 teeth so i paid to have them taken out 22 of them now i have been told i have nerve damage and trigeminal neurelgia and mri scan shows i have severe nerve pain and need to see pain doctor but on waiting list for months i am on morphine 3 times a day and tegretol 2 times aday but still in loads of pain im a mum of 2 children but need painkillers and which ones please can you help me pain is terrible

Kathy Cale September 15, 2011

I am extremely excited to have ran across your trigger points video in my e-mail. I have been receiving the videos but not this one. I have been so puzzled to have this horrible pain in my mouth of which the dentist could not explain. My teeth were in fine shape but the pain was horrible. I had figured it might be my fiobromyalgia but not concrete answers as to what was going on. Thanks so much for shedding light on the subject. Just to know I can put a name to the pain and finally figure out that what is going on is real is a blessing.

Shi December 26, 2011

Any suggestions regarding trigger points in relationship to trigenic nerve pain?

Judy December 28, 2011

Jonathan, thanks for sending so much info over the past few months. I want to buy your whole thing. I just tried downloading Adobe Flashplayer on my brand new iMac and was unable to do it. Do I need that, does it come by regular mail, or what. Please advise. Judy

Jonathan January 3, 2012

Hello Judy,

once you’ve bought the course, just email my info(@) to find request a set of dvd’s of the course. At the moment we are offering free shipping world wide (though I’m not sure how long this will be available for.)

Tonya November 26, 2012

Hello Jonathan,

I really like your Trigger Point Finder on your website. It’s the best one out there. I would really like to have exactly that as an “app” for my Tablet (Android). Are you by any chance planning to make this into a purchaseable downloadable app? Love your work by the way. It’s so nice of you to provide so much free information. You’ve helped so many people. Sincerely, Tonya

    Jonathan November 28, 2012

    Wow, that’s a great idea Tonya. It’s certainly a possibility – I just need to find the right programmers. Thanks for the suggestion!

tooth ache remedys March 21, 2013

This is the right web site for anyone who really wants
to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).

You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for decades.
Great stuff, just great!

COSKUN December 1, 2013

hello Jonathan.

find your videos very informative and interesting. I keep using the methods you suggest.
I wonder if you could help me solve something else which is in the region of the jaw and the ear joint.! I do not get toothache as I have none of my original ones but my problem is that I keep getting `popping` sound in my ears,about the eardrum, especially when I lie down! Could there be any trigger point anywhere near, I wonder. I mean I have this intolerable,at times,tinnitus; but this air popping in it is really spoiling my sleep as I get some creepy crawly sensation on my right angle…like mini vibrations!! I wonder what you might be saying on this! Thank you!

Jo Schlaadt January 31, 2014

Hi Johnathon, I have an 85 yr old sister who is having terrible pain with her gums. The dental mechanic tells her that it is caused by old age shrinkage of the flesh on the gums so that her denture is sitting on bone and that the dentures themselves are ok. I suggested that she try rubbing her gums with manuka honey, which has helped. However we shall get on to the trigger points….that sounds as though it may be the way to go. Thankyou for that. Jo

Gert February 24, 2014

I can attest to this. When I was 17, I had my wisdom teeth removed. About three months after that, when the scars were completely healed I got an abscess on the side of my jaw (or so I and the dentists thought), there was really a lot of swelling in a localized region which felt sealed off. I had a week of ‘normal’ antibiotics and after this did not help the dentist prescribed another course of antibiotics which were supposed to specifically target the kind of bacteria that can survive in a cocoon like abscess. This also did not help. So they send me back for surgery in case there was some splinter left (which they could not see on an x-ray) after the wisdom teeth were removed. Just before I had to go into surgery, the surgeon had some questions, like describe the pain etc. This led him to believe that it may be the muscle and he postponed the surgery for a week and gave me stretching and strengthening exercise for my jaw, after three days the swelling and pain had significantly reduced (by this time the antibiotics were finished a long time ago) and the surgery to see what was going on was no longer necessary.

Sometimes (10 years later) I get referred pain in my teeth and then just do the stretching exercises again (after going to the dentist again to check on x-ray that it is not tooth decay). So what happened was that after the surgery I did not do any strengthening exercises and I did not chew with the same vigour as before since it hurt too much and the muscle atrophied to such an extent that a trigger point had swollen in the muscle to such an extent that it completely fooled the dentist into thinking it was an abscess (my theory anyway).

Thank you for site.

John Friday July 8, 2014

Hi Jonathan Kuttner this video is great thanks for sharing

Yolanda July 9, 2014

Hi Jonathan
Thanks for the very informative videos on trigger points, me and my husband are starting to apply and it really works.

Kathy Tate August 28, 2014

Are there triggers that cause ringing in the ears? Thanks for all your help.

[…] trigger point tooth pain – Chronic Pain … – Trigger point tooth pain is an often overlooked problem. Trigger points in the jaw muscles can be a very real cause of long term tooth pain and toothache. […]

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