Dental Diagnosis: Unexplained Head, Jaw and Neck Pain

Jamie J. Alexander on May 18, 2017

Dental Diagnosis: Unexplained Head, Jaw and Neck Pain

By Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., Boynton Beach Dentist

If you are an adult with head, jaw, mouth, throat and/or neck pain that has not been diagnosed, I can examine you for signs of oral cancer. I can also do a thorough diagnostic workup to rule out or confirm a TMD/TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder). TMD is often the dental diagnosis. , I have extensive training, experience, and success with conservative therapeutic treatment.

If TMD is not in evidence or therapeutic treatment for TMD does not help, then, it could be a condition called “temporal arteritis” (also called “large cell arteritis”). If I think it is possible that you have temporal arteritis, I will refer you to a medical specialist for diagnosis. Diagnosis involves a simple but specially ordered blood test. Treatment will involve a regimen of steroids. Because nontreatment can have serious medical consequences and because the pain can become “unbearable,” treatment should NOT be avoided.

What is Temporal Arteritis?

Temporal Arteritis is an inflammation in (and causing damage to) blood vessels in the head and neck. The incidence for temporal arteritis has been reported as high as 25 cases per 100,000 persons older than 50 years. The greatest incidence is in adults over age 70, and the risk increases with age. Three times more women than men have been diagnosed with it. Serious complications can occur such as blindness. Symptoms include headaches, pain when combing or brushing hair, pain in the jaw and mouth, pain inside the throat, weight loss and anemia.

Because one in 4,000 people may have this condition, you may know someone who is experiencing undiagnosed head, jaw, mouth, throat, and/or neck pain. Encourage them to ask their dentist and doctor if it could be cancer, a temporal mandibular joint disorder or temporal arteritis. They can be helped and should seek help as soon as possible.

If I can be of assistance in the Boynton Beach area of Florida, don’t hesitate to call — 561-732-8877.