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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index


I would welcome any advice for a problem that seems (at least in part) to be TMD-related, and that has recently wrecked total havoc in my life. Please excuse my longer post and bear with me for a while.

This summer I had several cavities filled in the upper left area of my mouth. A wisdom tooth in the same area was also removed (I still have the other 3). This autumn I started experiencing some stabbing jolts of pain in my left ear. An ENT specialist saw nothing and the pain subsided. I also started experiencing some odd sensations in my bite Ė as if two of the back molars on the opposite (right) side at times (but not all the time) started hitting each other before I could close completely my mouth. A very, very annoying irritation appeared between two of the upper molars on the left side. The best way to describe the feeling is a sense of having some food stuck between my teeth coupled with heavy numbness (of sorts) in the entire upper left molar area, and a feeling that there is a swelling in my cheek and gums on that side. I also felt some diffuse pressure on my upper teeth.

I saw 3 dentists, they did x-rays (including a panoramic image) and pulp tests, and found nothing obvious. They tried to adjust a bit my bite (even though they found it to be overall fine), but the odd sensations did not end. The irritation became so bad about 7-8 weeks ago that I started frequently pushing my left upper teeth and cheek with my tongue. I was also clenching my teeth often at night and sometimes during the day. Then the stabbing ear pain returned for a while and then, about 3 weeks ago, the worst part began. In the meantime, I saw another ENT doctor, a CT scan of my sinuses was done and revealed that I have a blocked left maxillary sinus that could not drain properly. I was put on cefuroxime for 21 days, which I am currently taking.

The TMJ part begins here and has become a horrible nightmare! About 3 weeks ago, my jaw started feeling awfully fatigued one evening. Not painful but massively exhausted. I could barely sleep that night. The sense of fatigue was gradually replaced in the following days by immense and awful pressure (once again, not pain but pressure) in my TMJ area, and sometimes also in my temple area. Moist heat compresses, NSAID drugs, analgesics, and herbal relaxants helped very little. In the mornings, I am usually fine for 1 to 2 hours (sometimes a bit more) but then the heavy pressure in my TMJ and (to a lesser extent) temple areas returns and is very, very bad in the afternoons and evenings. I canít chew much (pressure flares up when I try to) and sometimes talking is also a real strain. When this happens, my teeth also feel totally numb.

After reading a variety of forums and posts, I suspect a combination of a sinus problem (the lack of drainage), malocclusion due to previous dental work (and perhaps a compressed nerve?), and my habit of frequent clenching + tongue-pushing my teeth and cheek/gums that may be behind the TMD symptoms. Perhaps my chewing muscles have become extremely overworked and they are causing this immense pressure? I also need to mention that I usually chew on the side that has the problem because I have a partially-erupted wisdom tooth on the other side that hurts a lot when I chew on it.

Has anyone had similar symptoms and what were you diagnosed with? What can I do to help get rid of this awful, awful pressure in my TMJ and temple areas that totally incapacitates me and makes me want to scream? I plan on seeing soon another dentist for a bite evaluation, and I already have an appointment in a week with an oral surgeon to remove the problematic wisdom tooth (in fact, given my TMD symptoms, should I see this surgeon at all?). I will further see my PCP (GP) in 2 weeks and perhaps request an MRI scan of my jaw. What else would you advise me to do? And, most importantly, what can I do about that horrible pressure in the meantime? I feel like banging my head in a wall, it is so, so bad! I canít sleep well and my days are mostly an agony!

Thank you for any input!

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