Osteoarthritis of the jaw

About a year ago I stopped chewing gum. I haven’t chewed a piece of gum in more than a year! Me, the chronic gum chewer!

Last June I was having excruciating pain on the left side of my jaw. I was under a tremendous amount of emotion and stress.

When I had braces as a teenager I developed TMJ disorder. Not uncommon when you have braces.

Occasionally my jaw would pop, grind, feel “unhinged” and sometimes hurt. But it usually didn’t last long.

My pain last year didn’t go away. My dentist referred me to an oral surgeon.

The oral surgeon unofficially diagnosed me with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” arthritis.

Eight months later (long story why it took so long) I saw a specialist dentist.

He ordered scans, pictures, etc.

In June I was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease, a fancy way to say osteoarthritis (of the jaw).

What I found rather interesting at my first appointment when filling out the new patient questionnaire was all the questions about my sleep, which is poor. There is a link between jaw issues and sleep issues. Wow, who knew?

My doctor and I decided to deal with my jaw issues … Continue reading

Review Wednesday: BreathSavers

In October I went to see an oral surgeon about issues I was having with my jaw. I have TMJ disorder and possibly a more serious issue going on in my jaw. (I haven’t been fully diagnosed yet.)

One of the first things he told me was that I had to stop chewing gum. Wow, that was some tough news to hear.

I am a gum chewer and have chewed gum for as long as I can remember. I like it for fresh breath, but especially for the fact that it helps prevent me from snacking.

It’s been a little more than three months since I stopped chewing gum. And now I rarely miss it. (Though there are occasions when I want a piece.)

I have also flown three times since I gave up gum. My ears pop a lot and sometimes I get pain in my jaw and forehead and the gum can help. But so far I have done OK without chewing gum during take off and landing.

I have been trying out different types of mints for my gum replacement.

I have tried Tic Tac Freshmints,which are small and easy to carry. And they … Continue reading

Nnnnnn for the jaw

About two months ago I talked about my TMJ disorder acting up. It first triggered when I had braces. Now it resurfaces when I am stressed.

It is still lingering. I figured when I was in Turks & Caicos for a stress-free week of relaxation it would go away. It did briefly.

On Tuesday in Vickie’s Hatha yoga class she mentioned her own TMJ disorder.

Her dentist told her if she said Nnnnnn and held her jaw in that position that that is the perfect placement for your mouth, jaw and tongue and will relieve discomfort or pain.

I, of course, had to do my own research. Both articles I link to mention Nnnnn for the jaw. Holding the jaw this way allows the teeth to come apart while relaxing the jaw muscles.

One of the first articles I came upon came from my alma mater, University of Arizona’s Campus Health, where my mom worked and retired from and where I worked as a student worker for about two years.

Diet, sleeping habits, oral habits, applying heat and ice, medication and exercises are all addressed.

Metro Dentalcare suggests tips for self-care for jaw pain.

  • Apply moist heat or … Continue reading
  • TMJ Disorder

    When I was in junior high and high school I had braces. Four long years …

    While wearing braces I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder.

    Occasionally in the past 20 or so years it flares up. I can yawn and my jaw will pop. Or trying to tackle too big of a burger can cause discomfort.

    There are jaw exercises I can do to ease the pain and discomfort.

    My TMJ can also flare up when I am stressed or emotional.

    It flared up again on Monday. It’s been an emotional and sad time lately.

    My jaw pain gets a little less painful each day. But it is still lingering.

    Wow, who knew there was a TMJ support group online? Many admit that stress can cause the TMJ symptoms to be triggered.

    The resistance training jaw exercise eases a lot of my pain and discomfort. That’s the one I normally work on with my jaw. I am also occasionally taking Aleve.

    I wondered if my TMJ is a cause of the jaw/tooth pressure I get sometimes when I am flying.

    Dear Doctor doesn’t mention a connection between the two.

    But I found another article that … Continue reading