Senior Member ~~~ Consumer Reporter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Bad TMJ flare-up
Haven't been here in quite a while. Never thought I ever would have to be here again, I am THAT phobic, but on a fortunate note, I do have a phobia dentist.
Haven't been to him in a while though. Because, even though I have a very very good compassionate phobia dentist (one of the best in NYC), it doesn't take away the fact that I am a dental phobic and as I age (I'm in my 60's) my anxieties seem to be getting worse (as far as dental fear is concerned).
Even in the age of the Wand and caring and compassionate dental staff, I still have great fear.
Well!! about 10 days ago, I started having a slight back tooth problem. Now let me tell you a story about my back tooth (not a wisdom tooth by the way),
Fifteen years ago, I had a deep cavity in this tooth, and my former dentist said "melody, it's a deep cavity, it's right near the nerve so don't be afraid if, when you bite down hard, you may wince or something"
Never forgot that. So I really never bit down hard on that back tooth. I just ate normally. BUT!!! when the weather changed or barometric pressure or WHATEVER, I found myself back in the chair telling the doctor "pull this tooth". He would take an x-ray and say "melody, there's nothing wrong with the tooth, you might have inflammation, or it's your TMJ (didn't have bad tmj symptoms back then). I used to grind my teeth as a kid (all my family member used to tell me "oh my god, you grind your teeth at night". Never knew this myself.
So over the years (maybe 3 times), the throbbing would happen. One time I demanded that he give me an antibiotic and maybe it's all in my head, but the pain would subside in about a week or so.
So now it's 10 years later, and 10 days ago, my back tooth started to ache. I could eat on it, I could bite on it, I could whack it with my finger, (it WAS sensitive to hot foods), but I could eat on it.
Then I put my finger in the hinge of my jar (you know, when you are checking the TMJ thing). Oh my god, the soreness was horrible. I said "oh my god, it's my TMJ??"
Then the headache came. On the right side of my head (over the TMJ thing)
Not in the front of my head, or the left side of my head, or the back of my head. Just the place over where the TMJ is.
I did research and I saw an animated thing on TMJ and it showed where the muscles are over and under the nerves, and it explained how nerve pain can translate into tooth ache.
I also did a google on Barometric pressure and headaches, and barometric pressure on toothaches. (never knew this could occur, but it CAN).
Oh, just to FYI you, right before the headache hit, we had an experience with our son (who lives out of state and is a compulsive gamer and is extremely toxic to my health), and so I have been able to distance myself mentaly but once in a while we do correspond, WELL!!! we had an incident with him and my headache hit so bad I thought I would die.
This was about 7 days ago. So I tried Aleve, IT DID NOTHING. Followed instructions, two gel caps the first day, and one every 12 hours after that. Did nothing for my headache.
So I iced it, my jaw killed me, my TMJ thing killed me. I tried calling my doctor on Friday morning for some pain meds but they were closing early and his staff would not let me come in.
So I called my phobia dentist and the office was closed for the July 4th Weekend.
I swear to god, friday morning found me walking the streets trying to find a dentist to pull this tooth. Went to five offices, no one was open.
Came home and went to bed.
My head was coming off of my shoulders and my back tooth throbbed and my tmj thing was SORE. when I opened and closed my mouth the popping was audible (it always is) but I have NEVER experienced anything like this.
So I went and bought Excedrine for Migraines.
In 2 days, my headache went away. The TMJ soreness thing is better, but my back tooth is still achy at times. It's not KILLING me, it's annoying.
So this morning I phoned the Phobia dentist and his sister (who works in the office) answered. She remembered me. I am still in their files. It's been several years but she remembered me.
I explained the whole thing.
She said "You are having a TMJ flareup", Are you taking advil? I said 'no, I'm taking Excedrine for Migraines and it got rid of the headache by I don't know what's going on with my back tooth". She said "A bad TMJ flare up can give you a toothache". "Can you eat on it, bite down"?" I said 'yeah, I'm fine with touching it, eating on it (I've been eating on it every single day just to make sure it's not the tooth). I did tell her it's a bit sensitive to heat.
She said "I really think it's the TMJ flareup, we don't have any openings so go to your primary care and get an anti-inflammatory"
Oh, FYI, my whole body has been inflamed ever since my son did what he did. It ALL corresponds to his contacting me.
My husband had to email him with a cease and desist request. Can you imagine doing this? Can you imagine getting headaches and stuff because of one's son?
This is so new to me (all this pain), I can't begin to tell you.
She has an opening on July 15 so I grabbed it.
I'll get a cleaning and a set of x-rays and I'll find out what's up with the back tooth. But if it's any indication of what happened in the past, I'm all inflamed.
I never eat any chips, sugar, anything. I'm a person who takes good care of my mouth, I floss, I brush with sonicare, etc.
I check my gums. I don't want any problems.
But this TMJ thing, well, I saw a video of someone on youtube with Trigemical Neuralgia and it gave me the willies. I said 'oh my god," not that I think I have this. But oh my god, the pain in my head last week after my son contacted us, well I NEVER want that pain on the right side of my head again. And the soreness of the TMJ joint or whatever those nerves are doing.
My dentist's sister says she sees this all the time, when TMJ manifests as tooth pain. She explained that the nerves affect the mouth in various ways.
I have iced it, and the soreness is just about gone, but the tooth is achy. I eat on it, I bite on it. Yesterday I applied some ambesol and it was much better.
Today, I'm accompanying Alan to see Dr. Fred and I'll tell Dr. Fred that I tried to see him on Friday and his staff would not let me. I can just see his expression. He doesn't go for that.
I'll get a prescription for some anti-inflammatory pain thing.
I have not taken so much as an aspirin in 10 years. But this time, I obviously need something. Just to tide me over until July 15.
I'll only take it if I need to.
Pain meds are NOT my thing.
But if I could survive that headache last week, I could survive anything.
If anyone has had this happen to them, I'd sure love to hear about it.
I've buried my head in the sand with my dental fear for over 60 years.
It all started when I was 5 and my mother made me go with her when she had all her teeth extracted at one time. I remember sitting on a brown bench in Callahan and Cooley in Brooklyn, NY, and my Aunt Lucy was there and my mother came out and she was banging on the walls. She didn't say a word, she just banged on the walls. That image is so vivid in my mind. Almost 60 years later.
I told this to the dentist once (my phobia guy), and he said "oh my god, she made you see this???" "No wonder it did a number on your head".
See?? He understood why I became phobic.