Theriot Family Dental

Is Chest Pain Normal with a Toothache?

Posted by writeradmin

I recently started taking care of my mother who has reached the point that she can’t care for herself. We’ve moved her in with us and she is a bit under the weather today. When I asked her what was wrong she said her tooth and chest hurt. I started to panic and call 911 about her chest, but she assured me her chest sometimes hurts when she gets a toothache. Is this normal? I am worried.


Dear Catherine,

elderly woman smiling

It is lovely that you’ve stepped up to take care of your mother. Whenever there is chest pain it is important to get it checked out. I recommend that you take her to the Emergency Room or call emergency services like you started to do.

Though a toothache is not a common sign of a heart attack, about 10% of cases do have orofacial pain. This type of pain tends to radiate across the entire jaw, instead of just one tooth. It will be the most noticeable around the lower arch because of how the nerves run in that area. I found it interesting that some people having a heart attack only felt the orofacial pain and not chest pain.

Some Additional Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Pain or tightness in the chest or arms
  • Pressure in the chest that spreads to the jaw, neck, or back
  • Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness (this can also be from standing up too fast or low blood pressure)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, heartburn, or stomach pain
  • Cold Sweats

I do realize many of these symptoms can be something else, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. A cancer survivor once told me that she kept going to her doctor for every little thing after her cancer diagnosis. She had apologized to him one visit saying, “I’m sorry, I know I’m probably just paranoid.” His response was, “It is the paranoid ones who survive.”

The Link Between Dental Issues and Cardiovascular Health

A growing body of research has shown that your oral health has an impact on your general health. For instance, those with periodontal (gum) disease are more likely to have or develop heart disease or diabetes. I would get your mother in with a family dentist and have her oral health situation looked over. If she does not have a regular family dentist then a toothache does qualify her for an emergency dental visit. Some dentists will see non-established patients in emergency situations.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.