The Good Kind of Dorky

 

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is my TMJ TMI?

Last week I went for my 6 month dental appointment. The past, oh I don't know, five times I've been to the dentist they have told me that I have a cavity and I've had to return a week later for a filling. I was starting to get really pissed off about it because some of these cavities were so small I didn't even need Novocain, they were painless and took my dentist no longer than ten minutes to complete the job. I truly believe that he was just trying to get money. I am convinced that dentists are shady like that. I hate flossing, but for the past year (Year!) I've been flossing every night and using a flouride rinse. Cut out sweets from my diet? Hell no! But, I've been very, very good otherwise. So when I saw I had an appointment coming up I began to prepare myself for how I would go about refusing the filling without being a total, mega, fired up bitch. Or my much more subdued version of one.

Well what do you know? I didn't have any cavities! I am actually convinced that it was because last time I told him that I better not have any cavities at my next check-up and I think he was kind of getting the hint that I wasn't going to fall for his money-sucking ways anymore. I mean I was this close to finding a new dentist and I think he knew it.

I did decide to ask him about the jaw issues I've been having, not even sure if a dentist is who one goes to with a problem such as this. I haven't been able to chew gum very often anymore and certain foods like chips at Mexican restaurants will mess up my jaw and make it pop, feel dislocated and occasionally, make it hard to open my mouth all the way. Problematic for so many reasons. Also, I am a Type A, anxious, overly stressed out Bride who doesn't really know what it feels like to not be stressed anymore. I clench during the day and I clench the entire night. This isn't a new thing, it has just become much worse over the past six months or so. I've tried to become more aware of my daytime clenching, but at night I can't help it. Since I wear a retainer at night anyway, I don't grind my teeth, but it is not uncommon for me to wake up with a sore head, jaw and face. So, I brought this up to my dentist. He had me close and open my mouth and there was a loud POP. As I suspected, I have TMJ. The dentist said I should probably get a specially made bite guard that is worn at night to keep me from clenching. Damn it! Can I ever escape this place without being taken for all I'm worth?

As I was checking out, the receptionist at the front desk said she would call my insurance company for me to see if the bite guard is covered by my insurance and then call me to let me know. A couple hours later she called to tell me that no, it is not covered. Well, "how much is it?"

"$600"

!!!!???!$#@&%$@!?

Well, I guess I'll have to learn to live with the TMJ, at least for now. Stupid jaw. Stupid dentist. Stupid insurance. They should KNOW I am saving up to make the final payment on my honeymoon! I don't have money for things like jaw health!

So, are any of you out there living with this condition? Do you know any ways to make it better that don't cost $600? Please, I'm dying to know.

16 Comments:

  • At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Erin said…

    I have TMJ too! I try to limit my caffeine (especially before bed) because it tends to make me clench my jaw. My chiropractor also recommended stretching and moving my jaw around, so I do that too. It's not great, but it seems to help.

    Advil is nice too!

     
  • At 8:38 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    I think I have a mild case of tmj. My jaw pops every once in a while and often times I wake up with a tension headache I guess because I'm clenching and grinding my teeth. Anyway, I could have sworn I've seen bite guards at Target or drugstores. I've thought about getting one but haven't.

     
  • At 8:52 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    Ooh, TMJ is so awful. I used to have a lot of popping, clicking, and pain, and I KNEW I had to do something about it. Alas, I was a poor college student at the time...and then, out of nowhere, it got better! It was probably a miracle, but I think that it was a result of not having to worry about school stuff anymore (not that work is less stressful...) And definitely, you can find bite guards at drugstores-- $600 is insane.

     
  • At 9:09 PM, Blogger janet said…

    trust me, all dentists are NOT like that. I'd find a new one pronto!

     
  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger Marriage-101 said…

    I have TMJ and I saw TWO specialists for it so let me save you the trouble...unless you're grinding (not clenching, but GRINDING) your teeth to where it's damaging your teeth, I'd save your money. You can't cure it unless you get surgery and even that isn't guaranteed. The #1 I was told: don't chew gum ever for the rest of your life. Chewing gum puts the same kind of pressure on your jaw that running a marathon puts on your knee.

     
  • At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Erika said…

    I was grinding my teeth a while back and wanted a bite guard and it was also not covered by insurance. WTF IS INSURANCE FOR? JESUS. My dentist suggested some exercises/massages and CUT BACK ON THE STRESS which actually probably stressed me out more. My jaw problems went away eventually.

    The Target/drugstore biteguards are supposedly too hard and don't relieve the muscle tension caused by the clench. The custom/dentist ones are softer.

     
  • At 9:24 AM, Anonymous audrey said…

    Dude, why would your TMJ be TMI? Unless, of course you aggravated it when Edgar insisted on celebrating Steak and BJ Day . . . then it might be TMI. But only maybe.

     
  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger L Sass said…

    Hi. Um, I had TMJ as a teenager. I needed braces and surgery totaling $30,000!

    So... don't look to me as a good example of a solution. Ouch!

     
  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    Hi I have no assvice for you but I missed you so I thought I would say hiiiiiiiii.

     
  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Kat said…

    I have TMJ due to grinding of my teeth. I have a expensive bite guard (mine fortunately was covered) and I never waer it. Mine is hard plastic and it puts pressure on your back teeth to keep you from grinding. But guess what I do..in the middle of the night I unconsciously take it out. So, as marriage-101 said, save your money. Even if it is damaging your teeth go with something cheaper. Hopefully this will all go away once you are married and the wedding stress is over.

     
  • At 9:09 PM, Blogger Carrie said…

    Nope. Not me. The only time my jaw hurts...

    You really need to find new ways to relax. Maybe practice some meditation. And I bet by the time you are wed and all is over, you will feel better.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Mrs. Higrens said…

    My husband just got and started using a bite guard to stop him grinding his teeth. He had to pay mostly full price too. But it was cheaper than the fillings and crowns required after cracking his teeth from grinding them at night.

    Seriously, who grinds their teeth hard enough to crack them?!

     
  • At 11:40 AM, Blogger Operation Pink Herring said…

    I'm also a teeth grinder/clencher. When I'm not busy picking at my cuticles, that is.

    I have to second Janet... is it a real hassle to get a new dentist? I just had to switch because my old dentist dropped my insurance, and the new one SUCKS. She spent 10 minutes cleaning my teeth and 20 minutes telling me about their options for teeth whitening. Awesome.

     
  • At 12:23 AM, Blogger Carrie said…

    Gosh! Did you quit blogging?

     
  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger janet said…

    girlfriend! Where are you? It's been a month since you posted...are you married? come back to us!! :)

     
  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger Marriage-101 said…

    Um, where are you? I come back to blogging and you're not here!! WAH!

     

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