I was just diagnosed with TMJ yesterday. It was the weirdest thing -- I just woke up one morning after a very restless night's sleep about 3 weeks ago with intense pain at my left jaw joint, and whenever I opened my mouth to yawn or chewed food, there were loud popping and grinding noises when my jaw moved. I knew that I'd had a bad night's sleep and drummed it up to being tense and maybe straining my jaw. I kept thinking it would just go away, because I've never had this problem before, but it didn't.
So here I am three weeks later still suffering, so I finally went to my dentist yesterday. He said I should have come in the very day I noticed it, and it would have been much easier to treat. (So much for procrastination.) At that time, he would have had me use ice for any joint swelling and then a heating pad, and then treated me with ibuprofen and a mouth guard. It's too late for the ice and heating treatment, but I've just started the ibuprofen -- I'm taking 600 mg three times a day for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I was fitted for a night guard and it should arrive in about five days. My dentist said that my joint is just worn out and most likely inflamed because the clenching that I'm apparently doing in my sleep is the equivalent of running a marathon with that joint, and I'm probably stressing it out every single night without a break. I know I've been unusually stressed with work and everything else the past few weeks. I just had no idea that it was impacting me in this way.
So I'm wondering if there are any TMJ sufferers or teeth grinders out there who've had luck with a mouth guard. I'd love to hear that this popping, grinding and pain will actually go away. It's driving me crazy.
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