Fibromyalgia and Dental Pain: Biting off more than I can chew

“If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched”, Adabella Radici sams-teeth

Look at a child’s lovely teeth and then hopefully we can see that those of us who clench ours instead of laughing with joy, showing toothy grins, will be prone to pain in the jaws and teeth!To-day I experienced my first tooth ache. It happened out of the blue, a bottom front tooth that had never been decayed, nor capped. The pain was excruciating and unrelenting. Being 4000 miles away from home, in a hotel on another coast, the pain was even more disturbing. I quickly searched out a dentist nearby and found a young, knowledgeable dentist who was very calming. X-rays revealed no abscess, no cavities and the gums were in good condition. She speculated that it might be due to fibromyalgia and I was prescribed Tylenol # 3 for pain. Thank you, Dr. Sara Hamidi, Vancouver, B.C.! She was right.

I consider myself an expert on FMS. I have read, explored, researched and analyzed about this condition as much as most other experts, having lived with it for over 40 years. My book is unique as it presents a theory regarding why it affects primarily women. I have not read anything that even comes close to my argument about women’s vulnerability to FMS. Yet, like most who have this condition and write about living with it, I am intent on what ails me most at the time. I tend to focus on the ‘biggies’, that is, pain, fatigue, depression and sleep disorders. I have been negligent in pointing out the extreme scope of this syndrome instead of showing how we dwell on symptoms that we think have become unique to our own particular set patterns. In fact, these patterns do often shift and rarely are two days alike. This is why to-day I write about tooth pain. It is a new experience in a life time of living with many kinds of pain and in various locations of my body.

I have had a difficult year dealing with elder care of my 90 year-old parents. My resources are depleted. I am exhausted; my reserves are drained; it has been physically and emotionally demanding. I am now feeling the effects of this stress. How could I not know that this condition would rear its ugly fangs (no pun intended) and produce a new form of attack on my tired psyche and body? But, my teeth? Why there? I have had facial pain in the past, shock-like, jabbing pains that were somewhat transient. But, this horrific pain is something new! Aha! The stiff neck, the tight shoulders that are almost up to my ears, carrying the weight of the world on them! This ties in to my belief that women generally do bite off more than they can chew. This is the story I write about in my book…the women who have overstimulated their nervous systems to such an extent that they cannot completely recover.

“Not my teeth”, I find myself groaning. Yes, new trigger points that are caused by clenching jaws and grinding teeth at night, shifting patterns due to overload of my nervous system. All this following a long tiring root canal just a month ago on a molar on the other side of my mouth. The muscles in my jaws became so tight! It begins to fit. Trigger points shift often. Why did I think my teeth would be exempt? Will this last, I wonder? The chronic stress I have experienced this year is not likely to end soon. Will the muscles in my neck and jaws relax and the pain shift to another locale? Just one more question of many in living with the demon of fibromyalgia.

87 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and Dental Pain: Biting off more than I can chew

  1. Michelle

    Thank you for writing about this. I have found that I constantly clench my teeth, and I have to literally think about it to stop it. I have TMJ, which the dentist found when I was 16, so I think I was doing it even then. I am 34 now and was diagnosed with FM in 2004. I think that I have had FM since I was at least 12, but I didn’t know it. Looking back I now realize symptoms that I had and only now does it make sense. There is no wonder we are sometimes treated like hypocondriacs when we have so much wrong with us! It is nice to know though that others are going through the same things. I have wondered why I clench my teeth like I do. I feel like my body never shuts down, even when I am asleep. Thank you for this wonderful site of info. It really helps!

  2. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Michelle! Me too!!!! I once wore that apparatus that dentists make for you to wear to keep your teeth from clenching but I kept throwing it out during the night. It didn’t help one bit! Sometimes I wake up with so much pain in my jaws it feels like I have been clenching all night. Like you, I think I have had FMS most of my life and in fact, some of the women in my book feel the same way. In a blog I wrote for the site Fighting Fatigue I wrote my ‘case history’ and said how I believed I developed FMS at a very early age. Also like you, I am constantly ‘on duty’ another concept I developed in the book! Sleep is not an enjoyable experience 🙁
    Thanks for your lovely comment.

  3. Paulette Parkes

    Thank you for once more realizing I am not crazy. I have been driving my dentist crazy until I read in your comments that the jaws or the nerves under the teeth can be a new trigger point forthe demon.

    Unfortunately I insisted the dentist extract the problem tooth which already had a oot canal on it.

    Still got the pain but I will let my dentist know he is not to blame.

    Thanks again

  4. Barbara Keddy Post author

    I know what you mean. I had to bring in articles about fibro and dental issues to my own dentist here at home after that younger dentist was able to tell me what the problem was! It can be very exhausting educating so many people, can’t it?
    Thanks for your comments, Paulette!

  5. Karen

    Wow. Finally someone talking teeth! I had a root canal almost three years ago. Two days later I began to have extreme fatigue, faintness, anxiety etc. I have been to doc after doc. I have suspected fibro. all along even before the root canal. I have had chronic back pain and neck pain for years. They kept telling me “hormones” and me turning 40. I am ruling that part out now. Everyone says you’re not crazy but after all these doctors and money spent and different opinions, it’s enough to make you crazy. My ob/gyn I’ve found has informed me of the triggering of fibro from traumatic events. My root canal may have been the icing on the cake. I had been getting more and more nervous and anxious and that’s not me. Just this week I had shooting pains near the root canal. The next day it was on the other side of my mouth. No work done there. I clench my teeth too and have TMJ headaches etc. It’s all beginning to make sense. Glad I found your site. No official diagnosis yet but I have felt in my heart for a long time that’s it.


  6. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks for your letter Karen! I have reached the stage in my own life where I am almost ho hum when something new springs up. I think”Ok, here we go again. So, I now have a pain in my big toe. Well, at least it isn’t a tooth to-day”. These travelling pains, often dull aches but also often sharp and shock-like still overwhelm me, no matter where they are. TMJ is so common in persons with fibro. My last root canal was awful and I suffered for a long time afterwards. It is terribly invasive and tiring beyond belief to have this done. I wish you well and hope you have a definite diagnosis soon if it is indeed fibro that you are suffering from. Uncertainty is almost worse than the label!Best wishes in 2009! Barbara

  7. Sandra

    I have just had a root canal done for the second time on the same tooth. This has caused a very significant flare
    up. The pain and discomfort is extremely hard to deal with. Any type of pain relief has not been a success.
    I have had Fibro for at least 15 years, and have had many root canals. I also have TMJ. Right at this moment
    I would gladly have the tooth removed, but fear what problem would then arise if I had an implant , or would
    that pain still be there because of the trigger point? The pain in the tooth is worse than the initial abcess. I
    will see my Dentist again on Monday, but at this point really do not know what to do. He is aware of my
    Fibro but will ask about trigger points in the gum area.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Sandra: Your story is usual; anything that involves invasions of the body seems to bring on a flare. The last root canal I had resulted in such a long flare up. My sympathies indeed.It has been my experience that most older dentists do not know much about fibro (even many younger ones), but even if they do there isn’t much they can do if they want to practice good dentistry.
    Trigger points are not specifically in the gums but probably the ones in the back of the neck in the occipital area are the most affected. During dentistry staying in one position for a long time with stress to the area (and body in general) contributes to an ovestimulated central nervous ssytem, resulting in pain.
    While dental procedures are being done it is important to stop even more often than dentists allow us to do generally to rest the mouth, take deep breaths, relax the jaw, even to walk around etc. But now that the root canal is over with there isn’t much you can do for the time being except deep breathing, rest, warm packs to the back of the neck if the dentist thinks that is okay, calming exercises and wait for the flare to subside. I wish I had a magic wand or even more helpful advice. The only thing I can say is: this too will pass, flare ups do not last forever. it is what it is for now and slowly the pain will subside.
    My thoughts are with you,
    Best wishes, Barbara

  9. Marie

    Wow, Sandra’s story is my story. Only difference is the Dentist left packing in my tooth thus my tooth remained in some sort of pain from July to Now. Just had the second root canal again and I hurt so bad that if I could pull my tooth out I would. Motrin, Percocet NOTHING is helping. My jaw and gums hurt and it feels like it is pulsating. Glad I found your site.

  10. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks for your comments, Marie. I am continually amazed at how many people with fibromyalgia write about the trauma of a root canal. I personally don’t know if I could tolerate another one myself. But, then the alternative of losing a tooth is not a good idea either. It seems as though we must educate some of our dentists about how difficult it is for those of us with fibromyalgia to go through that process.Going through it twice is agony; I can relate to your pain. Take care of yourself. Regards, Barbara

  11. Kathy

    I’ve had a toothache (the whole right side) since Monday, went to the dentist on Tuesday and was told that everything was fine and she’s not sure why my teeth are killing me. She said there was some wear on my back teeth and thought maybe I was clenching and grinding my teeth. If it doesn’t stop they want to fit me for a mouth guard for sleeping. Then tonight (Friday) it suddenly occurred to me that maybe this was related to my fibro, so I got on the internet to investigate and here I am. I’m so glad I found this site. If this pain doesn’t go away I know she well want to do a root canal and if it’s from my fibro then there is no way I’m letting her do that. I’ve had fibro for 19 years and I’ve never heard of tooth pain as a symptom before. If anyone has any more info please let me hear for you. Thanks to you all. Kathy

  12. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Kathy: It is so interesting to receive the many comments that I do about dental issues. I never dreamed that we would have that particular ‘symptom’ when I first had such difficulties. My last root canal was dreadful and I suffered a terrible flareup afterwards. The procedure was not painful itself and I have a great dentist but it was the after effects! I would never advise anyone to go against their dentists’ advice, but a good rule to follow is to tell your dentist that tooth pain is common in fibro!I use heat to calm those nerves in the jaw, but not too hot as the face is so delicate… just a warm facecloth. Best wishes, Barbara

  13. Kim Davis

    I’ve had pain on and off (mostly on) on the left side of my mouth, for over five years now. I had two perfect teeth removed, at my insistence, because the pain was so bad. I wish I’d known before that this was probably fibro, but I’ve just recently begun to realize that fibro is probably the cause of many of my problems.

    You mentioned being “on guard” as a cause for overactivity in the nervous system, and that sent up such a shock of recognition. A stressful, dysfunctional childhood left me feeling permanantly on guard. It’s amazing and upsetting to realize that emotions can be the root of so much physical pain.

    After reading your advice about warmth to soothe the pain, I’m off to do that now, since two Darvocet haven’t touched it.


  14. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Kim: I am amazed at how many people have responded to this particular blog. It seems that dental pain is extremely common to people with fibromyalgia. I suspect it is because our sleep is so disruptive that we clench our teeth! I hope the newer blogs are helpful with regard to the nervous system, brain and pain! Thank you for your comments! Regards, Barbara

  15. Theresa

    I have just been formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, after having gone through about 5 years of continuous dental pain and headaches, as well as 19 years of neck & shoulder pain (following an injury). The dental pain in my teeth and jaw started after having to undergo numerous dental procedures in a relatively short period of time. This included having wisdom teeth removed, and 3 root canals, as well as a mouth biopsy. The aching pain varies in intensity from mild to throbbing. All x-rays showed teeth were normal. However in the end, it was found there was a problem with the root canals, and 3 of the 4 — I’ve had extracted. The pain is still there, although less strong. At times, I have aching pain in all my teeth, which I think may be caused by nighttime (unconcious grinding). I had been given difference diagnoses (such as neuralgia) before the fibro. Now the doctors want to put me on medication to calm down the nervous system. My doctor keeps telling me “there is no cure”, which is disheartening. I want to thank you for your website, as it helps to know that there are others who can relate. Thank you. Theresa

  16. barbara keddy

    Dear Theresa:
    I am so sorry to hear of all your dental problems. It has astounded me how many comments there are regarding dental issues. I know exactly how you are feeling. We want/need to protect our teeth but it seems like the hyperarousal of our nervous systems is extremely aggravated by root canals. I have had several and seriously doubt I could have another.
    I also suffer from grinding my teeth and have sore jaws repeatedly. I massage my jaws every day but the pain persists. No doubt due to the troubled sleep I have.You are not alone!
    I wish you the very best wishes, Barbara

  17. Jodi Stanton

    I am so glad that all I had to do was type in “fibromyalgia and tooth pain” and find that I am not crazy. It seems that any dental work I have had in the last couple of years made things worse than they were. Almost a year ago I had a tooth that had grown in badly ground down and built up in preparation for a crown and immediately afterwards the pain got intense. This went on for a long time. Thursday I went in to have 2 cavities filled and i thought I would be fine. Today I find that ANYTHING that touches it, food, drink, toothpaste, oragel, hurts like someone’s cut my tooth open and is torturing the nerve. I can’t seem to stop it because it’s so deep and so bad. I take wonderful care of my teeth so all this oral pain and supposed decay doesn’t make sense. Now that I know FM can cause dental pain I am starting to think I am not so crazy.

  18. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Jodi: Indeed, you are NOT crazy! At first I wondered why so many people were writing leaving comments or an e mail about dental pain. Of course it makes sense! Where else are there so many nerves situated in such a delicate area than that where a dentist is working?Since fibro is the result of an overstimulated nervous system, it stands to reason that touching those nerves along with a general apprehension of the procedures would result in extreme hyperarousal of the entire nervous system! Dentists have to become more aware of fibromyalgia and the results of long procedures on us. Luckily for me, the School of Dentistry in the largest university in the province where I live has a very progressive dental faculty member who is offering a Mindfulness Meditation course for students and faculty. I have signed up for this course. Learning how to breathe and relax during dental procedures will certainly help somewhat. I hope that the pain has now subsided somewhat by now. Best wishes, Barbara

  19. Lori

    Hi Barbara,
    I enjoyed reading these posts. Thank you for telling me about your site. Occasionally we will see clients with chronic tooth pain that we just cannot figure out – the radiographs look fine, intra-orally things seem fine and we just can’t pinpoint what could be wrong. Very interesting. It’s true that most dentists don’t know much about FM which makes things even more difficult for someone living with it.
    Thanks again,
    Lori Simpson (registered dental hygienist)

  20. barbara keddy

    Wonderful comment from a professional, Lori! Thank you so much. Pass the info along to other dental professionals, please:-)

  21. Karen

    It looks like I am just another woman going through what so many of you have experienced! Mine started on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Out of the blue, a tooth and the surrounding area on my right side would begin to throb with such intensity that I wanted to punch myself in the jaw! It would last for about 2-3 min, and just as quick as it came on it would go away. Every hour or so the same thing happened. The tooth that is hurting is one that has a deep filling. When I broke off a piece of the filling about 2 months ago, my husband (who is also my dentist) told me that if I had issues again with that tooth I was probably looking at a root canal. Last night around 7pm my tooth began to hurt again only this time it was not the throbbing as was before. If my top tooth touch (even barely) the bottom tooth, or if I touch it with my tongue it felt like someone wa stabbing me in the jaw. My husband was at a gig with his band, and when he called me on break I told him about the pain I was having. Needless to say, we will be leaving for the office in a few minutes to begin the root canal. I managed to sleep last night because the night guard that I sleep with kept my teeth from touching. I realize that having the root canal may cause a major flare up, but honestly dealing with this pain is causing fatigue as it is. My only option is having the tooth removed but that is not an option because it is close to the front on the bottom. Wish me luck!!

  22. Barbara Keddy Post author

    My dear Karen: I wish you good luck indeed! I hope that you will let us all know how it turned out! I expect you are in the dental chair as I write this! I would never have believed the number of comments and emails I receive about dental pain. I keep thinking it is because we are so anxious, tense and hyper-vigilant in our sleep/half-sleep that we clench our jaws…maybe even during the day!Lucky you having a husband who is a dentist and understands fibromyalgia!
    Kind regards, Barbara

  23. stefanie l.

    Wow. Isn’t this disorder just a lovely, lovely pain in the bum? I have to say that I too am amazed by the shifting of my symptoms, as it is seemingly “something new” each and every day. Yes, as one uncomfortable pain or feeling subsides, another fills its nasty shoes! I don’t chalk every single ache and pain up to Fibro–but have learned to realize that most of my trouble most likely *is* FMS. Anway, I am having this problem at the moment: tooth pain. I also have ear pain and I am linking the two. I have seen my doctor for the ear pain and can safely say that they’ve ruled out infection. I do know that sometimes pain is referred…and that I clench my jawa, have TMJ, allergies…the whole nine. I take Vicodin for strong flares, but it isn’t touching the tooth pain. It’s almost like a general achiness, like the flu (but I know that I do not have the flu). Again- so lovely you are, Fibro! I can relate, sadly. Best wishes and loads of luck to all.

  24. Barbara Keddy Post author

    WOW indeed, Stefanie: So many, many comments about dental pain. Furthermore, the pains just keep shifting arbitrarily. Today it has been on my left side of the back, a throbbing, stabbing pain. These are almost like spasms. Sometimes the pains are like electrical shocks. With regard to ear pain I have a sneaking belief that those of us with fibro end up having decreased hearing because of clenching our jaws and harming the auditory nerves?! What do you think? Clenching jaw at night, grinding teeth, tooth pain, then ear aches and finally nerve damage? Hmmm… I wonder? Your thoughts?Thanks for the interesting comments.

  25. Linda Burt

    I was diagnosed with this unforgiving disease about 2 years ago. It felt as though my entire body was a solid bruise from being beat with a bat. I truly did not want to get out of the bed in the morning because I feared the pain it would cause when my feet hit the floor. I hurt so badly, that I was forced to take off work for 4 months until I could get control over the pain. At first my pain was literally all over my body and the inflammation caused a tremendous amount of swelling (again, all over, but especially my legs, feet and hands). Then I found Lyrica. Lyrica has not cured it, but it sure has made this disease more toberable. On another note, I recently starting having this excruitating tooth pain, without any warning or cause, on a tooth that I knew had a root canal and a post put in it. Just before going to the dentist, I thought to myself that if fibromyalgia can cause such terrible pain in my right knee that I thought I had torn my menicus, and then go away, then why can’t it cause tooth pain. And then I found this website. Thank you so much for sharing this information about tooth pain. I now believe that is what is happening to me right now and understanding that, hopefully will learn to deal with it.

  26. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Linda: Just recently I had tooth pain for 2 days. Still, after knowing what I know about dental issues and fibromyalgia I kept thinking I would need to see my dentist if it didn’t let up. It DID stop. That is the worst thing about these worries when something new crops up…is it fibromyalgia or something else!? Still, it always helps to read comments such as yours to help me put things in perspective again! Thanks! Barbara



  28. Karen Secara

    Hi. My name is Karen and I have fibromyalgia. Recently, I had an old filling taken out, at the encouragement of my dentist, and a new white filling put in it’s place. That’s what lead my to pain, pain, and more pain. My FMS was 90% in remisssion but started coming back. I thought it was just the stress of having the filling done (I’m also diabetic). So when my doctor suggested a root canal I thought ok (my husband had recently had one and it relieved his pain). Well, 3 root canals and 3 months later I’m still in pain and I come across this site. WOW. I’m looking ast my pain in a w2hole new light. The FMS is now in my mouth. At least now, I will have no further work done on my mouth until I can attempt to get my health back. Previously, I was off of all sugar, flour, and processed foods. I walked 2-4 miles a day and I was feeling great. I’m going to try going back to this and see if this works. It’s good to know I’m not alone or out of my mind. I feel for all of you that are also experiencing this. I find the only way to make me better is to communicate with my loved ones and have them help me as much as possible. Thanks.

  29. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks for you comments Karen! Going off all sugar, white flour and processed food is an excellent idea. I believe all 3 irritate those of us with fibromyalgia! You are fortunate to have supportive loved ones. Best wishes, Barbara

  30. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Debbie: Fifteen years of living with fibromyalgia is indeed a long time and you’re right living with uncertainty is dreadful! At least now you understand your body and its reaction to stress or unusual circumstances.I keep asking myself almost daily:is this fibro or something else? Then it becomes a process of working through what caused the flare-up or ‘different’ symptom. I apprecaite your comments, Kind regards, Barbara

  31. sara

    wow am so glad found this site..i have had 3 white fillings recently and all have played up to the point where one needs root canal. I also think my bite has changed and is causing me to nightime clench causing tmj symptoms. i will look into fibro more as i’ve never been diagnosed with it.

  32. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Sara: If you only clench your teeth at night then I would be wary of diagnosing yourself as having fibromyalgia. There are other ‘symptoms’ that need exploring with a physician before thinking you have fibromyalgia. Thank you for commenting on my site. Best wishes, Barbara

  33. sara

    sorry barbara wasn’t saying i have fibro just that i can assosiate with all the posts i have diabetes type 1 too and also suffer from unexplained pains, tiredness, depression etc but have never been diagnosed. and now the fillings taking so long to least i know i’m not alone with dental pain taking a long time to heal

  34. Alison

    Hi everybody. I’m not sure if I have FMS or not. Once in awhile my teeth ache for no reason, I get the ear aches and the headaches, muscle ache in my right arm…nothing seems to help the aching teeth. I’ve tryed Tylenol, and sinus meds…anyone?

  35. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Hi Alison: No one reading these blogs can really tell you if you have fibromyalgia or not. You must give your physician a complete picture of your symptoms. Even then though it may at first be a vague diagnosis, not definite, and you would feel dissatisfied, but you can begin to do your own research on the topic. Good luck with talking to your doctor about these symptoms! Regards, Barbara

  36. donna sommerville

    going through this awful pain after a root canal. I knew it wasn'”normal” andthe dentist is totally clueless! So I started researching the fibro connection since it involves nerve s and ligaments. And here we are! There seems to be no end to this nightmare.

  37. Debby

    I was diagnosed with Fibro years ago. I’ve always had tooth pain to some extent. Not severe but annoying. It’s always been like a sinus toothache along with facial pain. I’ve had a major toothache now for 3 days that is just unbearable! It’s on a different tooth today than before. It feels like my tooth is bruised. It hurts only around the outside and not the gums. It radiates to my ear as well. I can’t eat because if I put my teeth together…OUCH!! I’ve been taking Ultram, which does nothing. I’ve tried every home remedy known to man….NOTHING!!
    I think it would be a waste of money to go to the dentist. Not that I could afford it anyway. With my Fibro as bad as it is, I’m not working and have no insurance. I just can’t stand this pain any longer.

  38. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Oh Debby: I don’t think you can assume that it is the fibro every time. If at all possible you should have it checked out in case it is something more serious. I do understand how desperate you are about money though and can appreciate that you might be hesitant to go. I am so sorry for your pain. Thinking about you, Barbara

  39. Beccie

    Hi my fellow sufferers. I was lucky enough to be in PA when diagnosed with Fibro. The state was very helpful in getting me free medical. If I were any of you that does not have insurance to check with your state and keep fighting till you can get some gov. help. PA gave me disability, it did take 2 times because you get a denial on the first attempt. But, they did give me a free lawyer to help me. By the time he did all his work and I got the appt. to see the judge, I GOT MY DISABILITY. There are certain doctors you can see, dental wasn’t one of them, however if you check with your area dentists, there may be some that have a plan that is governmental and you get 12 monts no interest and you can take advantage of this and at the very least get x-rays to find out if you have any bad teeth or an infection. Today I am finishing up my second prescription of antibiotics to get rid of the infection in my right molar with a crown. My crowns and root canals still hurt from years ago. the nerves are at every point in my mouth and they cause pain if touched. Getting my teeth cleaned or worked on is excruciating, because of the cold air on my teeth. This alone can cause pain for weeks. then you have your mouth open while they are doing the work and the jaws will hurt for a long time as well. Then you have the needles going into your mouth. These needle points give a lot of pain afterwords too. I do have a formula for regular muscle pain that can be used on the outside of your mouth that helps with the pain. It has to be massaged in, but, if you have a loved one that is in this together with you, just the touch of another human being can take some of that pain away as well. I have suffered with Fibro and all it’s ugly symptoms for more than 1/2 of my life. It sometimes sucks to be me, as I would guess if feels that way to you too. I think the hardest part of all of this is getting your doctor and loved one to understand that Fibro is not like other diseases. You can’t see it, you really can’t explain it, and people will tell you “you look good to me, are you really sick?” Or something like that, or tell you it is all in your head, because they can’t find anything in the normal tests. I am fortunate enough to have a wife that can see what Fibro has done to me and she is there to help with the massage or help me make my appts and go with me. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find someone who understands and doesn’t hold you responsible to get things done, chores and such, and make you feel bad when you can’t get out of bed. God bless you all and may you find something that works for you. Beccie

  40. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Good for you Beccie: So happy you were successful in PA. These insurance issues are so difficult when one has an invisible condition. Hope your story is an inspiration to others. Keep in touch, Regards, Barbara

  41. Beccie

    Thank you Babara, Hey I was wondering, I have been having dental problems and have seen the dentist and an endodontist, I also have an appt in july to see another endo. My question though is this, have you or anyone ever had a black tongue. Now I have been reading on this a little and have found that Pepto can cause that, do you have any ideas about the black tongue. I don’t take pepto, YUK… Thanks in advance B

  42. Terri

    Omg. I can’t believe i found all of you. I, too, believe i have had fibro since i was a teen but didn’t know about the dental connection. I have cuts “slits” on my tongue that limit food choices as well as a recent allergy to dairy milk.

  43. crystal carrier

    I’m so relived to find this site and all of you who have Fibromyalgia. I have been diagnosed with this disease for the last 8 years and last year I had horrible teeth problems which resulted in four root canals and root canal surgery three of my front teeth. It was so horrible since I came un numb during the procedure. And had a horrible time recovering from this. It crazy to think that fibro can cause such severe pain in your teeth. I do know that Lyrica can help teeth pain when I have had flare Ups it’s helped!

  44. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Crystal: You are among many who suffer after a root canal. Please do not despair and try some of the strategies I suggest elsewhere regarding meditation and light exercise. Best wishes,

  45. Carole

    I’m so glad to find this website…I have been having severe pain in my bottom teeth and then my lips started to burn like they were sunburned. I went to my dentist and had X-ray after X-ray and she couldn’t find a thing wrong. I have always taken good care of my teeth, so I went to a specialist, who also took X-rays, making my dental bill into the national debt. He couldn’t find anything wrong, either, so they both thought I was nutty. I finally went to a therapist who told me that I have a neurological condition, I guess she means FM….she recommended that I take Neuronton for the pain, but after taking about three of them, I can’t urinate or have bowel movements anymore, and my memory is terrible. Finally, I took Amoxicillin and it all went away for three months, but, unfortunately, is back now. Have any of you tried a simple antibiotic for the pain. My new dentist said I can stay on low doses of it for the rest of my life if it helps. Just curious to see if it helps anyone else.

  46. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Carole: You did not mention that you have fibromyalgia so I am assuming that you do!I would check with my doctor if I were you as the idea of taking an antibiotic for the rest of your life seems rather dramatic to me!? Anyone else heard of this kind of treatment for unexplained dental pain? Best wishes, Barbara

  47. Brooks Devillez

    Stiff neck is mostly caused by prolonged stress on the neck. taking periodic breaks is known to prevent stiff necks. .

  48. Nell Trent

    I have fibro and had a root canal about a month and 1/2 ago. I have had 2 endodontists say it is “solid.” I asked one of these endodontists if fibromyalgia could cause healing to be longer- He said – OH yes- about twice as long. Try to give it a month- If you can’t we can redo it (a DENTIST did this root canal- not the endodontist). Redoing it- will cost a lot. I would just have it pulled b/c it still hurts. Causes my face to hurt sometimes. It’s not been great at all. I’m going try a month- to see if he is correct- b/c this is beside my front bicuspid- (pointed tooth) — and everyone will be able to tell I’m missing a tooth. We can’t afford a bridge right now- SO I suffer. To others w/ fibro, if you have a back tooth that needs a root canal– talk to your dentist and doctor maybe- before you have this done. I’m not sure how many have the same problem that I’ve had- but I have ear ringing now- and other problems. I can’t take anymore NSAIDS. The endo I saw y’day- said stop the anti-biotic. THANK THE LORD FOR THIS!!! BEEN ON IT off and on since this tooth was done. Going to try and wait the month out- b/c if he does it over- and I have to have the medication packed up there for a MONTH- I will be one sick puppy. – and WHAT IF IT FAILS?? In a total bind. Wish I could pull it and have a bridge (removable) put in- but who’s to say- that will fix what’s happening. Looking for another DENTIST now- to check out all my tooth and again LOOK at this root canal.

  49. Brittani Goldenman

    A stiff neck can be caused by something as simple as sleeping with too many pillows behind your head. The unnatural angle throws your spine out of alignment, and strains the surrounding muscles, causing stiffness and pain. To avoid waking up with a stiff neck, make sure you sleep with only one pillow, and you may want to consider investing in a cervical support pillow to help ensure proper and healthy spinal alignment when you sleep.”

  50. Albert Begum

    Neuromuscular Dentistry will help alleviate TMJ symptoms such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, and tinnitus (ringing within the ears). The majority of North Americans suffer from a number of of such symptoms, and unfortunately oftentimes these patients’ symptoms are either misdiagnosed or dismissed as having no physiological cause. In a number of cases, signs can in fact be related to TMJ, also referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. These terms are simply different names for the same group of symptoms. ;

  51. M

    I had a crown put on per the dentist two years ago because he stated that was why my teeth hurt and my face hurt. To tell you the truth since that incident it has made things worse. I had a crown put on about 13 years ago on a different tooth and so far so good. But this second tooth and the crown I have had toothaches and not just with the same tooth that was crowned. I have gone to my dentist repeatedly with the same issue stating teeth hurt. He takes x-rays that show nothing is the cause. I have gone to an endodontist and she found nothing to be the cause . I went to an neurologist and she stated that it could be Trigeminal Neuralgia but she wasn’t sure. I went to and ENT and to a GP a few times to see what could possibly causing these issues. I have four mouth guards. I wear on on top and one on the bottom. My teeth do not hurt when I have them both on.
    I know that the lower jaw on the right side is painful. I Have had TMJ for a number of years. I am going to an oral surgeon who specializes in TMJ hopefully soon so perhaps this pain will just go away.
    I have had enough x-rays that each professional states that the teeth look fine. There is no underlying issue in the gums or around the teeth.
    I have excruciating pain where the jaw cartilage is located and if pressed upon will just send me over the wall.

  52. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear M: Do you have fibromyalgia? I know what you mean about tooth and jaw pain. It seems that with our restless sleep we have the tendency to clench our jaws and grind our teeth.I too have a mouth guard. getting a restful sleep seems to be the answer but given our pain level it isn’t always easy.
    Best wishes,

  53. m

    I have had fibromyalgia for over 22 yrs. I have chronic fatigue and I have a DVT in my left leg. I also had three kidney stone surgeries in 8 weeks 4 1/2 yrs ago. I know pain but the face and tooth or teeth pain is horrible. I am wondering if it something serious. I just feel that I have been let down by the system.I have had x-rays of the offending teeth about two time in the last 8 weeks and each time about 5 slides were taken. The dentist thinks that things are fine. I don;t know if I should believe him, I am stressed out with trying to help with the care of elder parents who both have had serious health issues. I also am a person who takes on stress so much. I can feel the pain in my neck.
    Due to the DVT I an unable to have a massage but I do acupuncture and I appreciate that for a bit. Before the DVT I would have a massage and it would help greatly.
    I take supplements and vitamins and being in perimenopause things are all over the place half of the time.

  54. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear M: I can relate to our dilemma! It is so difficult not to imagine the worse even though you have had these experiences of unknown pain for years.
    I wish you the best, knowing that you have the courage to let the dentist’s advice guide you through this difficult time. Please try some of the meditative practices that encourage relaxation. it will eventually produce some benefits,

  55. Ali

    Hi there! Today I’m having extreme pain in my tooth, but upon further investigation of it, it seems to be above my tooth! It seems to be at the top of the tooth, into the gum, and all the way up into my face.
    I’m fairly new at all this… Fibro popped up after a surgery I had last year in order to be able to have children. Well….after a year of every single test, and every treatment known to man, I finally got my diagnosis. I see that you said you’ve had fibro for 40 years!? I also see that you’re a mother…I’m totally straying here, but the way I have felt, I cannot imagine growing a child in my body. The pain is already so bad, and no doctor will tell me, “yes! You can have a baby! Go get pregnant!” Most seem to just be completely lacking knowledge on the topic. I know women have babies with fibro…I just don’t know if my particular body is up to the task. Also, someone recently told me, “if you had surgery to remove tumors to be able to conceive, and now you have fibro, maybe that’s God’s way of telling you you shouldn’t have children naturally.” I mean, I am 32…not getting any younger.
    But I digress…
    I’ve had a root canal on the tooth in question. Admittedly, I haven’t been to the dentist in over a year, but since I have fibro, and about a million dollars worth of medical debt, I’m not crazy about racing to the dentist to have more bills slapped on me.
    i also don’t want to ignore what could be an infection, either! ????
    I guess I’m just looking for some guidance. Would you go to the emergency dentist on a Sunday, or just wait until tomorrow? Totally understand if you don’t respond in time- I see this is an older post!
    Take care, and I hope your parents are in better health.
    With love from Kentucky,

  56. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Ali: This is indeed an old blog. Both my parents have subsequently died. I am still feeling the after effects of caregiving.
    I developed fibro after the first pregnancy when I had a C section. having children certainly added to my stress level and while I love them and my grandchildren dearly it isn’t easy to let go of constant anxiety about them all.
    I would certainly go to the dentist especially to ease your mind about whether or not there is something going on with the tooth. I had a root canal a few months ago and it was very traumatic as is often the case with those of us with a hyper-aroused nervous system. Meditating beforehand and taking meditation tapes with you is an excellent idea.
    I have called a dentist on a Sunday only to find it was nothing except fibro pain, but why endure the anxiety of not knowing? Still, I do appreciate the expense of the dental visits too. Your call, you know what you can afford, both emotionally and physically.
    Good luck!

  57. Albina

    Who knew? After all the research I’ve done on fibro before after I was diagnosed, don’t remember seeing any connection to toothpain. Not untill recently I thought there might be something to it. Had a toothache last year, went to the dentist, didn’t find anything wrong with that tooth on the bottom but after a couple of visits turned out the one on top needed a root canal because it was cracked. Funny thing it didn’t even bother me before the procedure, but after.. So Much Pain. Two weeks later I went in to put on a permanent crown but because of pain it was delayed. My poor dentist tried to work on it and figure out how to save the tooth and relieve the pain for months, even paid for me to go to another specialist with a fancy 3D scanner to find the root of the problem. Long story short, after about 6-7 months we decided to pull the tooth. I was told there would be mild discomfort afterwards, needless to say it was more than that. After the tooth was out, my dentist even cut it in half to see if he could solve the puzzle, everything looked fine! Interestingly enough, there was still some pain even after the tooth was gone, even to this day, a lot less severe but still! About two weeks ago, I went to the dentist again with some discomfort, was told that a tooth needs a crown but thankfully no root canal. After the work was done and with temporary crown on, I was in pain for a week. And again, a lot more pain after dental work then before I went in. Anything cold would cause extreme pain, even luke warm water and of course couldn’t touch it without pain. In the last few days it’s subsided but still not able to bite on it. I have an appointment this week to put a permanent crown on. After reading all the comments, I’m going to talk to my dentist about fibro, unfortunately I never thought of mentioning it before. I hope the tooth will settle down eventually because pulling a tooth out every time I’m in pain is not an option!
    I suppose the moral of the story is there has to be a connection between dental pain and fibro because all of us can’t be crazy, right ;-)? There definitely needs to be more research and education for health care professionals. Take care!

  58. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Albina: I had a root canal last year and it wasn’t fun! A flare-up quickly followed. WHY? Because the brain registered that this was cause for alarm and the Central Nervous System went into overdrive and became hypervigilant and would not relax into a state of calm. I wonder why health professionals do not understand this phenomenon?
    it is indeed very disheartening.
    Best wishes,

  59. Sharon

    I’ve had bad teeth & gums since birth. I was diagnosed with Fibro after a root canal. Two years later the root canal failed and the tooth was pulled anyway. Now here I am, 3 years later and I still have more tooth and gum pain more than ever. Could this pain really be from my teeth? I would get them all removed if it meant being healthy and normal again.

  60. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Oh, my dear Sharon: Please don’t have all your teeth removed if not necessary. Do you have fibromyalgia? Even if you don’t please learn some relaxation techniques that will help you let go of the tension in your face and jaw. It isn’t easy but with practice you can find ways to overcome the pain in your gums and teeth if you don’t have anything more serious going on. If your dentist tells you your teeth are ok then do try meditation, body scans, yoga or any other form of relaxation techniques.
    Good luck!

  61. deb

    Many might think Fibro causes dental pain. I think the opposite. I think old root canals, cavities, dental problems in general – cause infectious waste products to flood your body, overwhelming your immune system, and triggering fibromyalgia. I feel that having two of my old root canal-ed teeth extracted is what caused my multiple tender points, pains and fatigue to dissipate. Any suspicious dark spots on your x-rays? Any mercury fillings? Get rid of them, then see how much better you will feel, mentally and physically!

  62. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks for your comments, Deb. They are interesting and food for thought’ although I can’t advocate having one’s fillings removed. I leave the dental issues up to my trust worthy dentist who has the most up to date evidence based research at her disposal. it is a big decision to have fillings removed, although I know some who have done so.
    Best regards,

  63. Alvin

    Hey Barbara, I switched off suicidal fibro pain by removing 10 silver fillings. “deb” was right.

    If you carry amalgam in your mouth; GET IT OUT FAST.

    “I leave the dental issues up to my trust worthy dentist” I thought the same… I was wrong. And within 6 weeks I was a new man.

  64. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Alvin: I am happy you are having some respite from fibro flare-ups. A hyper-aroused central nervous system in a highly sensitive person is difficult to calm down, but it can happen, even if it is often temporary. To this point the experts have suggested that there is no known ‘cure’ for fibromyalgia but there are tactics for quieting the CNS. I hope that this period of calmness is a long one for you. Best wishes,

  65. Kim

    I’ve had fibro since my twenties and spent 20 years getting a diagnosis. Now, in my 50s, I have just had the tooth experience you have written about and didn’t think about it being fibromyalgia related until the pain couldn’t be logically diagnosed. At that point the lightbulb went off in my head. And like you, I’m a bit defeated to find this last bastion compromised. I will meditate, do yoga, use my psyche FOR me, as always, but it’s a bit of a sucker punch. My gums are throbbing and touching certain teeth hurts, but nothing is technically wrong. I’m definitely in a flare so I’m expecting my teeth to quiet when everything calms down. I thank you for the important information in this never ending puzzle. One new piece in place.

  66. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Kim: Isn’t it amazing how many areas of our bodies become compromised with this syndrome? While it isn’t life threatening it certainly does affect the quality of our lives. My teeth ache often and I am sure I grind my teeth at night. But even the invasion of a cleaning make my gums sore for days:-(. I can’t imagine ever having to have a tooth removed and my teeth are in good shape (so far!). You are right, one more piece of the puzzle. Keep in touch, Regards,

  67. Julissa

    I was diagnosed with FM last year. My dr said it’s a mild case (although the fatigue particularly does not feel “mild”). I had a lot of work done on my teeth over the last few months (filings, fixing the bite FIVE times and most recently a root canal). Even after drinking antibiotics, I still feel throbbing in my teeth. I went back to the endodontist who performed the root canal. Great doctor, so I know he did top notch work. He rechecked my teeth and said I don’t need another root canal. He, fortunately, agrees that fibro can definitely contribute to the pain, throbbing and continued sensitivity. I just can’t believe this pain!!! Who the heck would ever expect their teeth to hurt this much!!! It’s annoying and scary to think I still have a few more cavities to fill on my right side. I want to keep healthy teeth but it’s frightening to know I could be dealing with the aftermath of “routine” dental work for a long time. Uggh…

  68. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Ah, Julissa: I know exactly what you are dealing with. had a root canal last year and the dentist said it may not settle down and I would have to have the molar removed. Never having had a tooth taken out I was alarmed but he said I could have an implant if that happened. Both of those options are not reassuring. It has remained sensitive but I am hesitant to have it looked at right now as I know removal or leaving in are both problematic issues:-(
    It is surprising that dentists know so little about fibro! Even if the hygienist is gentle my teeth ache after cleaning, grrr!
    Good luck!

  69. Paula Z

    I am very happy that I came across these posts. I am a 60 year old female. I recently had a root canal on a molar that had a degrading amalgam filling. I have been in pain pre and post root canal and crown. I am an RN but no longer work in the field of nursing. I have a history of two back surgeries, appendectomy, Morton’s neurectomy, rhinoplasty septoplasty and a lumpectomy. Every body part suffers with pain that is unexpected after the surgeries including my recent root canal. After seeing a dentist, endodontist, neurologist, pcp and PT I have recently begun seeing an orofacial pain specialist. And yes I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I am going to read your book. I will post again when I finish reading it.

  70. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Paula:
    Ah, hello dear fellow sufferer. I had a hip replacement two weeks ago and while I did not immediately have a flbro flare up it is slowly creeping in. AND, of course you are a nurse so that magnifies the situation as so many of us have fibro. Too many coincides not to add up.PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH!

  71. Carmela S

    I have gum disease had it all cleaned out one week later I had a molar that was broke set up for a cap. Since they drilled that tooth one week ago it has not stopped throbbing. I have had three sinus surgeries chronic headaches and went thru a CFS leak after sinus surgery and now non stop pain under this cap. The dentist office phoned in 2000 mg a day of amox and I take my muscle relaxer and Percocet no relief and my heart is throwing out extra PVC I’m exhausted from the pain on top of pain

  72. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Carmela: I am not sure if you are saying you have fibromyalgia? Your condition with your teeth sounds very painful. It certainly seems as though you are suffering unnecessarily. I do hope you can find relief soon as pain is so debilitating.
    Kind regards,

  73. PaulaZ

    I have had fibromyalgia for years. I am a 60 yr old female. I have been struggling with pain in a root canaled, crowned left upper molar for four months. It was extracted as an oral surgeon found a peri apical abscess above the endodontically treated molar. I thought that was the end of pain but in the last month since it was extracted I have been suffering with nerve type pain and have been to multiple dentists and doctors before the abscess was found. Because of my history of anything touched causes a flare I am not the best candidate for a dental implant. I am sad because I go to a hygienist for routine dental cleaning every 12 weeks for the last 25 years. A neurologist has put me on Elavil for the nerve pain. In the meantime I am going to go to a chiropractor for my upper cervical/neck issues.

  74. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Paula: I too go to a chiropractor for my upper cervical/neck issues and a great massage therapist. Dental work can easily start the central nervous system into a flare up. Central sensitivity is what most health professionals respond to these days in lieu of fibromyalgia so it is always a good idea to mention this to a dentist before treatment. I have never had an implant and hope I never have to! Dental cleaning every 12 weeks is amazing. Perhaps you would do better if you only went twice a year? Maybe you are over stimulating your CNS? Adding aging to the mix certainly intensifies the potential for discomfort. You have my sympathies and believe me I know from whence you are coming!

  75. Emily Plummer

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia around 6 years ago although I’m certain I have had it much longer than that. I have suffered from sleeplessness, joint stiffness, severe pains, depression and fatigue. My neurologist prescribed duloxetin 40mg daily (Given as 20mg twice daily), although it did relieve some of the pain, I still suffered from joint stiffness and extreme fatigue. Finally, i started on Fibromyalgia herbal formula i ordered from NewLife Herbal Clinic, this herbal formula did the magic! almost immediately i started usage, i started noticing a general reduction of symptoms including the very severe pains and fatigue. 9 weeks into usage, the disease has totally succumbed to this herbal treatment. The whole pains and terrible fatigue has seized and i am now able to function fully well again. (Visit www .newlifeherbalclinic . com or email info@ newlifeherbalclinic . com) I’m able to get out of bed in the morning and have more energy to go about my daily activities.

  76. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Emily:
    Thank you for your comments. I do hope your remission lasts for a long time. Coming to terms with past trauma ( if indeed it is ever completely possible), relaxation strategies, mild exercise are the four biggies to bring above a better quality of life and relax the central nervous
    system. This dis- ease of the CNS which began in our childhood has helped us develop into highly sensitive persons.
    Please take good care and best wishes,

  77. Cindy

    I’ve got a terrible nerve pain in my left bottom molar, which is causing me to chew on the right side. Which is causing my TMJ to flare up on that side, and now I have pain right down the Sternocleidomastoid muscle and up into the temple. I haven’t experienced this much tension and pain in my face and neck before…

    At the moment, I’m reading The Body Keeps The Score – Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Although I’m already aware of the connection between our emotions and the pain in our bodies, I’m really enjoying this book, and find it insightful and helpful.

    You’re quite right about the dis-ease of the CNS beginning in our childhoods, Barbara, and I wonder if my pain is flaring up because I’m working on digging around, trying to heal the pain of the past…

    Also, I’ve had some sugar lately, and when I went completely sugar-free, my FM/ME pain disappeared within a few days. Perhaps not coincidentally, I’ve had some non-organic, takeaway food which I think has sugar in it, and my pain has flared up…

  78. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Ah, dear Cindy: I understand completely. The ways in which we clench our muscles and in particular our jaws often results in TMJ. I have a history of clenching hands, jaws, even feet! In fact, I always have an intense clenching episode after stress or excitement.Sugar and caffeine usually contribute to make things worse. These memories of our past keep rearing their ugly heads and that same familiar pathway in the brain keeps on lighting up telling my amygdala there is danger- “BEWARE”. We can’t go back but we can learn to quiet the brain somewhat. It is difficult not become overwhelmed. Happy you are reading Bessel Van Der Kolk. It is so helpful. Do be careful this time of year with so much holiday excitement and stress!
    Best wishes,

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