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Dental Anesthesia

Jaw Pain Following A Dental Procedure



I went to the dentist to get a crown on one of my lower left molars. The dentist may have injected the area with either lidocaine or novocaine to numb the area where he needed to drill. My mouth was really numb for a much longer amount of time than I have ever experienced. I went home and as the injection started wearing off I started feeling this pain in my left jaw at the joint area. I feel pain when I yawn, while chewing (depending on what I am eating) and if I open my mouth wide (like when eating an apple). I called my dentist and he just said to use ibuprofen for the pain. The pain is still there and the dental procedure was 3 weeks ago. I do not grind or clench my teeth when I sleep and this has never happened to me before. Could you please tell me why this is happening and if it is something that should go away eventually? I appreciate any help you can give. Thank you.


It sounds as if you developed a strain of your Temporomandibular (jaw) joint. But, this could also be a myositis, or muscle inflammatory condition, in the area of the injection. It may be hard to localize the pain around your jaw exactly and the symptoms of the two conditions are somewhat similar. You will need to see your dentist to have him or her establish a proper diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can be rendered. In this forum, it is very difficult to establish a diagnosis without clinical examination.

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Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University