Toothache of Cardiac Origin

Marcelo Kreiner, Jeffrey P. Okeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Pain referred to the orofacial structures can sometimes be a diagnostic challenge for the clinician. In some instances, a patient may complain of tooth pain that is completely unrelated to any dental source. This poses a diagnostic and therapeutic problem for the dentist. Cardiac pain most commonly radiates to the left arm, shoulder, neck, and face. In rare instances, angina pectoris may present as dental pain. When this occurs, an improper diagnosis frequently leads to unnecessary dental treatment or, more significantly, a delay of proper treatment. This delay may result in the patient experiencing an acute myocardial infarction. It is the dentist's responsibility to establish a proper diagnosis so that the treatment will be directed toward the source of pain and not to the site of pain. This article reviews the literature concerning referred pain of cardiac origin and presents a case report of toothache of cardiac origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orofacial Pain
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cardiac pain
  • Heterotopic pain
  • Nonodontogenic toothache
  • Orofacial pain
  • Referred pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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