TMJ Symptoms Worsen – Affecting Dental Health

I hate going to the dentist worse than anything.  Everytime I have to go, I dread the thought and I don’t want the date to come, but I faithfully go to my check-ups twice a year and for anything else that needs done throughout the rest of the year.  My son and husband also go faithfully because it is important for us to maintain good, dental health.  I don’t want to lose my teeth.  I feel like I am fighting a losing battle sometimes because it seems like with my health history, there is always something wrong and I am always needing work done, but I am determined to keep a mouthful of my own teeth! 

Yesterday I went for my cleaning and the dentist advised me that I desperately need to get a custom-fitted night guard, which costs over $500, for my mouth because I am clenching my teeth so hard, I have knocked my back teeth on my right side loose.  I was diagnosed with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) last December and I have been dealing with those problems since then.  It seems like the health issues never end – it’s always something else. 

The dentist also wants to adjust my bite on the side where I am clenching the hardest in order to alleviate the pressure I am putting on my jaw and on my teeth.  But from what I have read on the TMJ Association website and from chatting with other TMJ sufferers, they say it is not a wise choice:

Avoid treatments that cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw. Such treatments include crown and bridge work to balance the bite, orthodontics to change the bite, grinding down teeth to bring the bite into balance (occlusal adjustment), and repositioning splints, which permanently change the bite.

My other issue is that after every dentist appointment I have, I am in severe pain for days afterward in my jaw and I will have the worst headaches that I can’t get rid of.  So here we have another condition that is a mystery like ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia.  For more information, please view the post I wrote last December:

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

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  1. Hi,

    I went for an occlusal analysis last week and had a TMJ examination too. Wow my jaw killed after it! I think because of my CFS it made the muscles extra tender and sore! But the dentist has decided I need to have equilibration restoration (?!) or as you called it above occlusal adjustment. He didn’t say that I had TMJ so I pressume it should be ok for me to have the adjustment? I don’t know.. What do you think? I can update you when I’ve had it done if you’d like?x

    • Hi Kitty, I am still researching before I make my final decision on what I’m going to do. The TMJ Association has a great Facebook page where you can ask lots of questions. I am getting some advice from long-time TMJ sufferers on there who are trying to help point me in the right direction or at least tell me where to find the appropriate research to make my decision. Please let me know what you decide to do!

  2. Hey Sandy, Funny you should mention this. My rhuemy sent me over to Dr. Truelove at the University of Washington because I was having some reoccuring TMJ issues. I’ve had this for over 20 years but the dentist said I was grinding away my fillings and the pain was getting more intense…so off I went.

    According to Dr. Truelove, he is an expert in the field of TMJ (and apparently fibromyalgia according to him). He did a major study published in peer review studying TMJ. One group got self-care only (hot/cold, stretching, eating soft food, stress reduction), another group got self-care and a $2 piece of plastic that you mold yourself into an appliance and another group got a custom made appliance. All groups did equally well. At my $259 visit he tossed me the $2 piece of plastic and said “give it a go, what have you got to lose?” He said that TMJ is cyclical, like fibromyalgia. It comes and it goes. (Yes it does but when it’s here, it hurts!!)

    He also said (most authoritatively) that fibromyalgia tends to “burn itself out” and will go away eventually.

    I was sitting in the dentist chair while he was saying this, he was standing at the end of it…I would have only had to raise my foot up just a bit to give him that good swift kick he so desperately needed…but I didn’t.

    I really hate doctors. And dentists.

  3. I was quite impressed with my dentist! When I told him I have CFS he said “Ok, but you’ve not had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or anything?”.. I was like HUH? Someone has heard of CFS, AND they know about fibro too lol. I don’t have fibro but maybe because he said that it means there might be some complication if you have fibro too?

    Anyway I think I have decided to have it done, I can’t carry on how I am. My lower jaw is pushing my bottom teeth into my top ones and pushing them out, whilst not allowing my teeth to meet in the middle so I can’t chew properly grr! I will let youknow how I get on xx

  4. Hi Sandy,

    Earlier this year I was having a lot of problems with jaw clenching. Bad enough that I’d fractured the enamel at the base of several teeth. But I don’t have the jaw clenching anymore and I’d thought I’d share what worked for me. Here’s what happened:

    My reg. doc had sent me to an alternative doc he’d heard of in town. The alt doc put me on some detox stuff (green shakes, etc.) and some supplements. One of the supplements was tryptophan. In just a day or two my jaw clenching stopped. It was wonderful!

    Since then I’ve done a little reading on nutritional deficiencies and bruxism (jaw clenching.) Turns out bruxism’s often caused by vitamin/nutritional deficiencies. Taking tryptophan, vitamin B, magnesium, and other supplements can make all the difference. And I can vouch for their effectiveness.

    Just wanted to pass that along. Hope it helps.

  5. Hello, I just came upon this website, as i was wanting info regarding TMJ.

    In August of 2009 i had an apt., with my Dentist. I needed to have a very long
    long appointment 2 1/2 hours. I was apprehensive, as i had been there prior
    and i began to have problems with my Jaw. Nevertheless, I finally went and i
    was feeling quite bad, as i also was dealing with Menopause. I sat in the chair before he arrived. I was feeling worse and worse, so i told his assistant, that i was not going to have this root canal done today. As i was
    feeling horrible and wanted to go home.

    He walks in and tells me, i must stay that it is important to have this big
    molar looked after. I insisted to leave. He kept bribing me to remain, as
    he had booked me, for 2 hours or more and was going to lose money. He actually, did not put it, in the exact words, however i knew that’s what it was all about $$$$$$$$
    Stupid me, remained and had him proceed. He never even touched on what was my problem. He had absolutely no compassion for me. But, from past experience
    i knew that i would consequently leave him.

    He continued to work on my right lower molar and indicated that it it was a good thing to have the amalgam removed from the tooth. He kept saying open your mouth wider. Then again open your mouth wider. Anyways, i
    did try to do what he asked, not knowing that by doing this, that he would be
    doing trauma to my Jaw. My neck began to really hurt, but said nothing at
    first, however the wider i opened my mouth the worse my Jaw felt and my neck.
    At some point my entire face was vibrating and facial pain as well. I told
    him to stop, He kept saying we are going to be done very soon. Hang in there.

    I was so mad i ripped off what ever i had around my mouth. Told him, i could not continue, as the pain on my face, neck and Jaw was killing me. He did not look pleased. What he did say is that he should finish the Job. At this
    point, i was boiling and wanted to tell him off, but kept my composure.

    The assistant did not say anything and he walked out. I was left sitting there. At this point i inssited to go rest in another room, till the pain subsided somewhat. The assistant takes me to another room, tells me i can stay here for a little while. I was very relieved at that point. My entire head had a tremor, had never experienced anything like it before.

    Not even 5 min. later, the assistant comes back and says the Dr. is ready for
    you. Well, i was not ready. Everything in me wanted, to get out of there.
    This Man had no Comppasion what so ever. Trust me, i wanted to just cry and cry, but did try to conrol my self. He comes into the room and tells me that
    i will have to get out, as there is a patient that will need to occupy that room. Honestly, i could not believe what was transpiring here. He once again tells me to go back to the room so he can finish up. He assured me, only 5 min. To me it seemed forever, as i was in so much pain. Then spasms kicked in
    my face, neck and Jaw.

    If this Dentist had known what he was doing,he would have stopped the proceedure. Instead, he continued, to work on my molar and kept telling me to open my mouth wider, which in turn caused Trauma to my entire head.

    I sincerely believe that this Man caused this ongoing problem i have. Honestly
    i would love to sue him.

    Let me just go back, prior to this….he had mentioned to m, that i was grinding my teeth and that, i should buy a mouth guard. Well, i did not, his
    price was so ridiculos.

    So here i am now, for almost a year, i have all the symptoms of TMJ. You have no idea how afraid i am. The pain is BRUTAL. Actually, when i left his office
    i mentioned it was a brutal appointment, he said nothing at all.

    If i remain on the computer my situation gets worse. If i look down to do something it gets worse. I have been taken pain killers and nothing really
    makes me better. This has been debilitating for me, the day goes by and i
    am in my pyjamas and no longer have a Life. Just pain, headaches more like
    migraines. ringing in my ears, can’t get comfortable in bed. My shoulders
    hurt, the back of my neck is the worst, as i cannot turn my head from side to side. Nauseau, has also kicked in, on and off. Dizziness, my eyes are always
    blood shot and they hurt. I detest this Dentist so much.

    He has caused so much pain for me. Everything in my power is saying SUE HIM.
    However, i donot have the strength in me.

    When i am chewing my food, or speaking, i have noticed such a huge change my
    mouth does not feel right.

    I reside in Mississauga, Ontario and want to find the very best Specialist that can help me with this nightmare. All, i am doing is going to bed or sit and watch TV. I cannot believe the change in me. Never a couch potatoe always doing and moving, now i feel somewhat paralyzed.

    Please, if you can suggest something please do get in touch.


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