Phantom tooth pain is something that is very real, yet many people have never heard of it. The medical term for this type of pain is called atypical odontalgia, and it simply means that a person is having tooth pain for no apparent reason. If you are interested in learning more about this, here are some key details to know.
The Main Time It Occurs
Phantom tooth pain is an unusual type of feeling, and it is easiest to understand if you think about a person who had an arm or leg removed. People with removed limbs often state that they can still feel the limbs that were removed even though they are no longer there. Phantom tooth pain is similar to this. It is a pain people experience after a major tooth problem, such as a root canal, filling, or tooth extraction. Even though the tooth might no longer be there or have the problem it once had, people will feel discomfort and pain with that particular tooth. The pain they feel is often just a dull type of pain, but it can feel very real.
Why It Occurs
At this point, it is not completely clear why people feel phantom tooth pain; however, there are some theories. The most popular theory is that people feel this pain due to the way nerves in the body work. Nerves run throughout your entire body and send signals to the brain all the time. Some of these signals are to let the brain know about pain in the body. After a tooth is removed, some of those nerves are still there and may still be remembering the pain felt with this tooth, so they might be sending signals to the brain about the pain even though the tooth is gone.
What to Do About It
If this is an issue you struggle with, talk to your dentist about it. Your dentist might recommend taking an over-the-counter pain killer, as this tends to help, but it is important to know that there really is no cure for this problem as researchers do not fully understand why it happens.
If you are curious about the phantom pain you feel, or if you suspect you have an oral problem that needs to be addressed, talk to a dentist like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA. This is the only way to find out if the pain is real or if it is really just phantom tooth pain.