Pulpalgia contributing to temporomandibular disorder-like pain: A literature review and case report

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. Dentists need to be cognizant that temporomandibular disorder (TMD) -like pain can be caused by a tooth pulpalgia. The author provides suggestive symptom characteristics and definitive diagnostic techniques. Case Description. A patient had severe bilateral TMD-like pain, which increased when something cold touched a premolar and when the patient lay down, and which awakened her several times every night. The author identified the offending tooth and administered a ligamentary injection along the tooth, which eliminated her bilateral TMD-like pain. Occlusal adjustment of her tooth reduced her pain, and subsequent endodontic therapy eliminated her pain. To the author's knowledge, this is the first report of a pulpalgia in a posterior tooth causing bilateral TMD-like pain. Clinical Implications. Pulpalgia may cause symptoms that mimic TMD or may contribute to TMD signs and symptoms. When patients with TMD-like pain report feeling increased pain due to a cold stimulus' coming into contact with a tooth, practitioners should ensure that a pulpalgia is not contributing to their pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-440
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Dental pulp
  • Diagnostic challenge
  • Masticatory muscles
  • Orofacial
  • Pain
  • Root canal
  • Temporomandibular disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pulpalgia contributing to temporomandibular disorder-like pain: A literature review and case report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this