Why Does This Happen To Me?

Hello fellow readers!

Once again I have been absent from all things social media because as my luck goes, life has thrown me another curveball.

What’s Going On?

About two weeks ago, I started experiencing symptoms related to a head cold. My sinuses ached, my ear hurt, and my neck was so stiff it hurt to swallow. At first I ignored it because I had just received the flu shot and I thought it was stemming from that. A few days go by and it doesn’t stop so I started taking cold medicine. I am a big baby when it comes to taking medicine so I was pretty darn cranky on top of everything else.

Another few days go by and the pain starts to radiate through my teeth. At this point, I’m so damn frustrated and in pain from morning to night. I can’t chew my food without pain flaring up minutes afterward.

This past weekend, my jaw began to lock. It was the scariest thing ever, lasting only a few seconds at a time. But it was enough that I knew something was wrong. My jaws have had a slight click to them for as long as I can remember, but now there is an audible, painful “pop” when I open my mouth too far. I can’t open my mouth enough to chew big chunks as the pressure on my jaw feels like my jaw muscles are tearing apart.

Appointment With My Orthodontist

Thankfully, I already had an appointment with my orthodontist for a wire adjustment on my braces and I knew that anything dealing with my jaw or teeth, they could at least point me in the right direction. The moment I told them that my jaw was locking, they knew right away that I had TMD.

TMD, also known as TMJ, is a temporomandibular disorder that is caused by issues with the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. My orthodontist tested my jaw, feeling along the joints as I opened and closed my mouth. He was able to feel my jaw “popping” after opening just the tiniest bit and also said that the muscles along the right side of my face were tensed. He explained that the disk that acts as a cushion between my bones was most likely out of place.

How Do I Fix This Doc?

The first words out of his mouth (after he told me I had TMD) was that I would need a surgery. As I felt the blood drain from my face, he said there were options to treat the symptoms instead of heading straight to the oral surgeon.

  1. Manage Stress. Something as small as someone cutting me off in traffic could be enough that I clench my jaw, which could trigger my pain.
  2. Eat Softer Foods. I’m already not able to eat hard foods because of my braces. As it stands, I need to incorporate more foods like applesauce, mashed potatoes; etc. Basically less chewing.
  3. Manage The Pain. Take over-the-counter NSAIDs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. I discovered Tylenol Extra Strength PM literally last night, and I already love it. It helped put me to sleep and stay asleep without waking up because my jaw hurt.
  4. Warm Compresses. I bought a reusable compress that can be used hot/cold. I’ve only used it once but it felt amazing. Hopefully it’ll make a difference.
  5. Physical Therapy. Before leaving my orthodontist appointment I got a referral to a physical therapist to help ease some of the tension in my jaw.

For right now, these are really the only options for me as surgery really is my last resort that I don’t want to have to go through. With my teeth being moved with my braces, my bite is constantly changing. My TMD could settle down in a few weeks, a few months, who knows? But for now, I’ll do everything I can to help the symptoms and pray for the best.

Thank you all for reading and until next time…………

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