Thursday, October 25, 2007

Diary of a TMJ Sufferer Part 2

The clicking, clacking & pain started up again. I was pissed. After all the torture & pain of braces, the MONEY that my parents spent, the monthly trips to Stoon, the horror of having to go through graduation with braces {I know, I know, I was a shallow, shallow girl} the crap came back.

I questioned my doctor. I displayed the cacophony of noises & movement for him. He recommended I speak to my dentist.

My dentist diagnosed me with TMJ Syndrome. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or TMJ joint disorders are medical problems related to the jaw joint. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull (temporal bone) under your ear. Certain facial muscles control chewing. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems biting, and popping sounds when you bite. Well, that sure sounds like me!

He told me this condition was exacerbated by clenching or grinding your teeth at night. As it turns out, I’m a clencher. I clench during the day. I clench during the night. I clench all the time. It takes all my will-power & self-awareness to constantly relax my jaw. His treatment? Outfitting me with a soft night guard or “splint” to wear that would absorb the pressure of the clenching & take the pressure of my TMJ joint.

This worked wonders. For a while. For at least a couple years.

Then we went to Mexico.

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