Here is my story of how I achieved TMJ relief.
Suffering from TMJ is frustrating. But there is hope! No one knows for certain why some of us suffer from Temporomandibular Joint disorder, more commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD. Some people even get afflicted more than once in their lifetime, while others are fortunate never to experience it. There are several potential causes. Among them, trauma, teeth grinding, misaligned bite and stress are the top leading causes. I’m not exactly sure what the cause of mine was because I’m constantly under stress and have been a teeth grinder and jaw clench-er my entire life. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are associated with stress. My dentist, knowing this, started with giving me ideas and options to help eliminate stress to tackle my problem. Additionally, he did some dental treatments so that attacking the problem from both angles finally gave me TMJ relief. Here’s my story:
It first started in February 2013. I would get the occasional loud POP or clunk on the left side of my jaw. This was, at first, only when I ate very chewy or tough foods, like beef jerky or Starburst candy. At that time, I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I ignored it and avoided certain foods and started chewing on the right side of my mouth. Within several months, I changed jobs, quit working out and dealt with a break-up. All of these stress triggers began to show up as pain in my jaw. It had gotten so bad that by the holidays of that same year, I couldn’t even take a bite of an apple or chew gum without being in excruciating pain. I’m not sure why I didn’t seek help sooner. Perhaps I thought it would go away on its own. It never did. It just got worse. So I finally sought out the help of my dentist.
My dentist prescribed me a low dose muscle relaxer and told me I needed to reduce my stress. He also had me start a soft food diet and do jaw exercises several times a day. These only offered minimal relief. He then suggested acupuncture and massage. My acupuncturist started me on Magnesium and Fish Oil daily to help reduce muscle tension. At the same time my dentist was having me use a rubber ball to roll on my jaw muscles, shaved down some of my teeth to fix my bite and fitted me for a mouth guard. It took several months, but I finally saw TMJ relief.
Everyone is different. What has brought on your TMJ and what gives you relief may be different from what it was for me. I think it is a safe statement to say, with TMJ as with so many other things, stress is our enemy! I found relief by incorporating Eastern and Western medicine. I fought this from every angle and that’s what worked for me. Once you know how it is to deal with pain every single day without any relief, you know the importance of trying anything and everything to feel normal again. It was 15 months of chronic pain but I can finally say that I have been pain-free for over a year. If you’re dealing with any kind of mouth or jaw pain, go see your dentist right away! Dr. Alicia Abeyta, DDS offers many different options that produce results. You and your dentist working together will get you on a plan to achieve TMJ relief. I waited until the pain was unbearable. I could have saved myself so much time if I would’ve just gone to my dentist sooner. I am so much more in tune with my body now. At even the slightest tension or popping in my jaw, I know I am stressed and take the steps that work for me to deal with it accordingly.