TMJ repeat after dental work

by Monica
(Massachusetts)

I had my first experience with TMJ a couple of years ago; I had to have both a crown and a root canal, and in between I came down with TMJ for about two months. Yuck. NOT fun at all! Could hardly open my mouth to brush my teeth, the pain was so bad.

The end of February I had my usual cleaning. About a week later, my entire jaw starting hurting; symptoms were different this time, though, and then went away. Then about a week later, all of a sudden, I had severe pain in what seemed to be one area, right side lower, which felt like a bad tooth ache. Went to the dentist, they took x-rays, found nothing, sent me to an orthodontist; took more x-rays, and again found nothing. They suggested maybe having a nightguard made.

Since this all began a few years ago with my general dentist, I'm wondering if this is again the cause, and due to certain positioning in the chair. Is this possible? In the mean time I plan on going to my chiropractor, as I think something is out-of-whack, and adjustments have helped before. Pain has been quite bad, so need to do something. Thank you, Monica.

Hello Monica,
This is caused by either over opening your jaw, or keeping it open for a prolonged period; what you describe is not unusual. It frequently goes back to having the wisdom teeth out under a general anaesthetic when you are unable to complain.

In future, whenever consulting your dentist, remind him that over opening the jaw provokes weeks of TMJ pain.

Do you get any pops or click in the TMJ when chewing, or yawning for example?

Try our TMJ exercises, just do them gently.

Ask your chiropractor to check the masseter, temporalis and external pterygoid muscles; they often become active and very painful, adding to your misery.

That night plate does have merit, but expensive and not pleasant. Try the exercises first for a couple weeks.

It passed over before, and hopefully will again; try not in the future to over open your jaw as in eating an apple; cut it up.

Because the sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve that supplies the TMJ lies in the upper neck you often get associated pain and atlas-axis subluxations.

Good luck,

Dr B


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