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Tooth Pain in Lower Molars

Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,

The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get relief,
and more…

Want to skip ahead?
Here’s a link to my post about
getting relief on your own.

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

People complain of a toothache and infection in their lower molars teeth that seem to extend down into the roots. There is usually one tooth where the pain is more focused. They typically come to see me after trying to get relief from their dentist without success. Mostly, these are regular clients of mine who understand how bodywork impacts the health of their teeth. Fortunately, this problem is relatively straightforward and consistently gets rid of that irritation in a back tooth.

This pattern occurs most of the time as a feeling of infection and sensitivity in the lower molars and bicuspids. Like its counterpart in the upper belly of the masseter, this referral creates that yucky, infected toothache feeling into the root of the tooth. The trigger points are in the superficial masseter in the middle of the muscle belly, making the whole area sore.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

Awkward Dental Work

When I see tooth pain from trigger points, it is because of the posturing and pressure created by the dental procedure. Sometimes it results from more laborious chewing of foods like taffy or bubble gum. Also, uneven chewing or chewing on things like toothpicks and popcorn kernels activate these trigger points. At times, problems in nearby joints or a fragile tooth perpetuate this pattern with changes in the chewing pattern.

Chewing and Clenching

Most tooth pain comes from trigger point referrals. When there is strong pain that occurs as something hot/cold hits the tooth, that’s usually pain from an exposed nerve and needs prompt dental care. Mostly, other toothaches seem associated with trigger point referrals. Still, even when trigger point work relieves the pain, see your dentist. Make sure that there is not an underlying tooth problem.

Personally, I’ve had this particular tooth pain that I relieved with trigger point work but needed dental care. It came from clenching and chewing up toothpicks.


The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Anatomy – Throacic Outlet

The anatomy of these structures is important to understand the syndrome. This post walks through the structures one at a time.

This is a strong, thick 3-bellied muscle that closes the jaw. You can read more about it in this post about the masseter muscle.

Getting Relief on Your Own

self-care for tooth pain in lower molars

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Strategies

This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.

Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.