We all have TMJ. Yours just isn’t broken……or maybe it is. Part of the reason I’ve been missing other than life being busy is that I am have some issues with my jaw. Namely osteoarthritis that causes TMJ.
What people call TMJ is actually TMJD or TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder. Everyone’s got a TMJ, two actually. It’s the joint that connects your head and your jaw together. Mine, using the technical term, is all jacked up. For whatever reason, probably due to teeth clenching, the little disc in between my jaw bone and skull is wonky on the right side and got pushed forward and is protecting nothing. So my bones are rubbing together, which makes fun crunchy noises and causes headaches, ear pain and has made the nice pretty ball part of my mandible worn down kinda flat. Yawning hurts, gum is out forever, I have to wear a splint that keeps my jaw apart during the night, I take about 1400 mg of ibuprofen a day and sometimes, when it’s really bad, even making out with Jethro hurts.
All in all, this blows.
I first noticed it when I had some headaches that just would not go away. They started happening late in the day, so I attempted to get a better glasses prescription. When that didn’t work and I started waking up with bad headaches, I went to the dentist and got a bite splint that fit over my top teeth and makes me lisp in a OH-so-sexy way. Finally, I got referred to dentist/doctor who specializes in TMJ and he was like, “Oh. Yeah, that’s pretty bad,” when he saw my x-rays. I’ve already had arthroscopsy, where they stick a stick in your face and then wiggle it around a bit. (Okay, fine, they do a little more than that.) It’s the same thing that athletes get on their knees all the time, so it’s not crazy serious surgery.
Except that didn’t work, so I might have to have arthrotomy, which is open incision where they’ll look at my joint and do all sorts of things like tie my articular disc down or round out my fun little flat jawbone. Gross.
Oh, and did I mention that insurance does not cover any of this? So we’ve already spent like $8,000 on my face. And will have to spend about that much more if I have more surgery.
On the bright side, this whole jaw pain thing makes for hilarity among my family and friends. My dad says it’s cause I eat too much (He’s SO going into a home when he’s 75…) my bestie said it’s cause I talk too much and another friend told me it’s because I work too hard at my *ahem* side job on the corner.
There may actually be some truth to that second one…and if you didn’t get the last one, you’re a sweetheart. The rest of ya are perverts.
Anyway, I want to hear your TMJ stories. Who has it? Did you do any alternative therapy, like acupuncture? Is my liver going to crap out from all the ibuprofen? I’m already down a spleen, I don’t want to lose any more body parts. What should be name our TMJ support group? We can have bake sales and car washes and everything. (I’d tell you what DDay and I came up with on Twitter, but my mom reads my blog.)
**Image by Nik Ainley