All Of My Teeth Are Falling Out: TMJ Diaries

Thursday, February 4, 2016

sneaks found here.

Going to the dentist office is a time warp for me.

The minute I lay back in that uncomfortable chair and start to stare at the textured tiles on the ceiling, making images in my head out of their weird speckles as if their constellations in the sky, I'm suddenly seven years old again.

I see the jungle poster that hung behind the door at the dentist's office I went to in the early 90s. I can smell the rubbery fluoride I used to have to drink from the small plastic cup. And I remember the Highlights magazines I used to read in the waiting room and even as a child I'd think, man what a bullshit magazine this is.

This happens to me every single time I visit the dentist. And for just a second it weirds me out when I really start to process how fast time goes, how it feels like just yesterday that I was a kid calling my mom when the appointment was over telling her to come get me, and now I'm in Chicago and I'm not a kid anymore.

But I get over that fixation real fast as soon as I hear the drill in the room next to me and a child screaming for dear life and I wonder if that's really me who's screaming.

Anyway.

The dentist is always a real trip for me as you can tell.

Yesterday at my yearly "cleaning" I was informed that my TMJ has gotten bad. My gums are healthy and I don't have any cavities, but my teeth are all going to crack and fall out soon, maybe, probably.

But the dentist didn't have to tell me my TMJ is bad. I know it is, because I live with it. During really stressful times I'll wake up with a swollen jaw, my ears will throb, my teeth hurt, and my head pounds all day. Fun stuff.

The TMJ dreams are what really get me. I have this reoccurring one where I know I'm grinding, but I can't stop myself. And the harder I try to make it stop or make myself wake up, the harder I grind. As I'm dreaming I think my teeth are going to fall out, but I keep going because it feels like the only way out. If I just grind a little harder, maybe it will end.

So that's where I'm at right now. Anyone else have these crazy grinding nightmares? Luckily, they come and go. And right now it's not too bad.

The dentist casually said, "TMJ is usually caused by stress, if you don't mind me asking, what is your stressful job causing all of this?"

Lols.

"Well doc, I have to pose the perfect staged photo on my tiny white rug or no one will like it. Which leads to less followers, which leads to less sales. So that's my job. I'm a blogger. And it's supes stressful."

To each their own when it comes to stress, right? Mine is a lot of weird stuff that covers all sorts of topics, it's mostly built up in my head that then travels to my teeth apparently.

And now I'm supposed to get a $700 mouth guard made by my dentist. Me and Amazon say oh hells no. Instead, I just ordered a bunch of janky plastic things probably intended for middle school football players rather than adults with TMJ but we'll just hope for the best, you know?

That's all we can really do. Hope for the best. And also hope that our teeth don't fall out along the way.

And now I'm going to go drink 100 cups of coffee because why not. Happy Thursday, everyone! Don't forget to brush and floss every day!

30 comments:

  1. I also suffer from TMJ and it is miserable. I actually did destroy one of my teeth! I hope you get better soon and that the Amazon mouth guards work! I also refuse to pay $700 for one.

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  2. Ah, TMJ. That's actually how I got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in the first place. I was already on the waiting list for a rheumatologist when I woke up one morning and couldn't open my mouth more than 8 mm. Turns out both of my jaw joints are destroyed; they're flat when they should be round balls.

    Moral of the story: get a mouth guard and wear it or else you won't just lose your teeth; you'll also wake up one morning unable to open your mouth more than a few mm and then you won't be able to have coffee for 8 weeks or eat anything that involves chewing for 3-4 weeks.

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  3. The Dentist is the worst. Every time I am there I Feel like a kid again too, getting my mouth molded for braces. UGH! Horrid!

    -Ashlee Michelle
    www.makeupandmodifieds.com

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  4. I paid $300 for my dentist to make me the ugliest mouthguard I've ever seen.. But, it's heaven and I'm so glad I don't have to live with my face feeling like its going to fall off from the constant pain and pressure anymore. I didn't grind my teeth, but I clenched my jaw.. Started the first Thanksgiving after I got married when we were still trying to make all 15 family events for all sides of every family... Since then, we've learned to pick a couple and not care so much if my MIL gets mad.. She gets over it eventually..

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  5. Days like this, I am really glad my dad is a dentist and his BFF is my orthodontist. I had a jacked up mouth and paid zero dollars to get it fixed.

    Come to Jersey, but hurry, my dad's retiring this summer!

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  6. My new orthodontist told me I grind my teeth because my old orthodontist never used an expander before I got my braces in middle school, so my teeth are too big for my mouth. I paid $1,100 for a mouth guard/retainer. I figured it was either that or a gum graft in a few years from all the grinding. Idk what exactly a gum graft is but it sounds really bad... And expensive.

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  7. Ive heard TMJ really sucks. Hope yours gets better tho.

    I dont mind going to the dentist but that might be because I actually like my dentist... even after dental surgery and him drilling into a bone to extract an impacted wisdom tooth. I have three more to extract and might not like going quite as much then :/

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  8. I have a lot of dental issues, but I am SO glad TMJ isn't one of them.

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  9. I used to work at a dentist, and am currently going through invisalign (#weddingproblems) but, before I started invisalign (which is preventing my grinding at the moment) my dentist suggested getting one of those mouth guards at the store. Trust me, it works the same. The $700 one will not only make you broke, but will almost certainly guarantee that you will become the loudest mouth breather known to walk earth.

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  10. I'm a clencher. When work has me stressed I bite down hard, and don't even realize I'm doing it until I've given myself a headache. I have a legit stressful job haha, at least one that people wouldn't give me strange looks when I explain it. Add in the blog, and a smidge of anxiety and well, I'm basically resting bitch faced with a clenched jaw a good 75% of the time. I occasionally dream that my teeth crack apart and fall out. It never crossed my mind, until I read this post, that maybe I'm grinding my teeth as I sleep when I have those dreams.

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  12. As a braces survivor......I hear ya on the dentist! I too have TMJ. I have worn a bite plate for awhile now. My dentist made me one but I don't think mine was that expensive. Because of my intense grinding, my teeth are super small and very rounded. And all the same length. It is ridiculous! I've really done a number on them. (I don't know what I am so stressed about.) My friends say they look like baby teeth. LOL. Glad you found something on Amazon. I think they sell at drug stores and Target, too.

    I also have sleep apnea and wear a C-PAP while I sleep. As well as my braces retainer occasionally. I'm a REAL treat! ;-)

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  13. Aww don't be stressed! The jaw pain and headaches don't sound fun at all. But hey, at least you don't have any cavities! Whenever I get stressed (always) like earlier this week (over nothing of course) I ate an entire tray of brownies in two days. I'll also probably give myself diabetes in time..I swear, it's always going to be something. Hope you're amazon retainers (don't know what they're called) work! And hell no to $700! What a joke.

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  14. I don't think I've officially been diagnosed with TMJ but I know I've got it- my jaw pops & cracks all.the.time. and it hurts to open my mouth all the way. My jaw is also clenched 98% of the time, thanks anxiety. HA. Hoping those "janky plastic things" help you!

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  15. Thankfully for me, I don't have TMJ or any dental problems.

    I brush once daily at night, but I am very bad about flossing...

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  16. I have TMJ and need that mouthguard thing too. I did see CVS sold them (similar I think?) though, so I'm thinking I'll just get one from there. I don't want a $700 guard that I'll just grind through!

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  17. I paid $700 for one and it actually works. prior to this one I was using invisaligns as "retainers/mouth guards" but i'd grind holes in those skinny suckers after about 4 weeks. The $700 is an investment but according to my dentist, will last at least 5 years (I'm at 7 months and it's looking great). I luckily have one of those healthcare spending accounts that my employer puts money in so it wasn't actually really my $700 anyway. MOST IMPORTANTLY, get excited for the massive lisp you're going to get when you wear a mouthguard! "See you on the seesaw, cindy!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5LuP6tDw3w :)

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  18. A whole new meaning to rise and grind. I constantly bite my cheeks. My jaws hurt.

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  19. I feel you, I also have TMJ. I'm a clencher, not a grinder, but still. Ow. I tried physical therapy and a mouth guard for a while but nothing helped. womp womp

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  20. Have you ever been to the chiropractor? I'm a clencher and my regular trips make it so much better!

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  21. Oh...dentists just stress me out. I never feel better walking out of that place!

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  22. I'm on my second nightguard...the first was the fancy small one and it hurt my teeth so I've now got the one that looks like a retainer (my dentist replaced it free of charge because they're great) and I can feel the difference. Looks dumb, but it works!

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  23. I hate the dentist, always have and always will. I have had some horrible experiences as a kid and it has scarred me for life. It's a dreadful experience for me.

    Lydia
    www.chicandmodish.com

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  24. You should try seeing a chiropractor for your TMJ. My father in law is one and I worked at his office for a while and he treated people with TMJ all the time. Basically just doing certain jaw adjustments and it's way cheaper than mouth guard crap (cause usually insurance covers chiro) hope this helps!!

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  25. You should read this blog post by another blogger I follow who was diagnosed with TMJ. Don't let the post stress you out (I can see how some of it could be worrisome) - I just thought it had some interesting information! http://shullfamily.blogspot.com/2014/09/fifty-two-shades-of-shay-myofunctional.html

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  26. My husband has a mouth guard for sleeping as well and he got the expensive dentist one and guess what? Our dog got ahold of it and ruined it! So off to CVS for the cheapie one which he's been using ever since and it's exactly the same! I'm sure your dog would NEVER do that, but just in case ;)

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  27. Well I will not tell you what I have been through price wise with this TMJ (it has been A LOT). I am still in pain and now am going to s specialist. I have migraines and I feel like I can not feel my face because it is numb on one side and I too feel like all my teeth are rotten. It is a horrible feeling. I can say that in the last six months (since I have been seeing the specialist( I have had an easing of the pain. I have been to prior specialists, a few dentists, a few endodontist, an ENT , a neurologist, and a few other doctors. I have had x-rays to make sure that it is not cavities. It is hard to hear the words saying that the teeth are OK when clearly I am in pain and feel that the teeth are rotten. I have had quite a few x-rays.
    I must say that I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I am a Type A personality so therefore I try to be perfect--stress. I have older parents who have had serious health issues and I am one of their caretakers. There have been other health issues in my family too which have been very serious. I will count myself among the serious health situations in the past as I have been on blood thinners in the past and that leaches the calcium out of your body and teeth and makes them fragile. That was the reason I had to have two crowns done.
    I try everything so that I do not have a tooth or dental issue. And I have been to so many dental professionals with this unrelenting pain. I am trying this specialist because I am in pain.
    I hope that all who go thru this find relief.

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