Saturday, February 20, 2010

My (Awesome) Visit with the TMJ Specialist

My neurologist recommended me to a TMJ specialist because I clench my jaw and grind my teeth at night. The specialist was at an oral surgery clinic that is part of a larger hospital; it wasn't at the actual hospital but it was on the campus. Check out the spectacular building!


I was just as impressed with the doctor as I was the building - ok, more. I started with x-rays and after just a few minutes, the doctor brought them in and she clearly explained what everything was and said that everything looked normal. Then she did a physical exam and that's when she noticed the wear on my teeth, popping, and tenderness. She said that my TMJ isn't acute but it still could be causing some - probably not all, but some - of my headaches.

Here's our battle plan:
  • Take Aleve twice a day (morning & night)
  • Do a moist heat massage on the jaw and temporal areas once a day
  • Diet modification (GREEEAAAAAT....)
    • No gum, chewy candy
    • No bagels, pizza crust, tough meats (cut meats into small pieces)
    • Reduce sweets
    • No big bites: cut apples, sandwiches, carrots, etc. into pieces
  • Mouth guard
I've done all but the last one. I'm waiting on my insurance to approve the mouth guard, and if/once approved, I'll wear it 24/7. After 60 days I can stop the Aleve, then after a while I'll be able to stop the other steps and will eventually decrease the amount of time I wear the mouth guard until I'm wearing it nights only.

I love that I don't have any new drugs to take (I was afraid I'd have to try a muscle relaxer which I tried for grinding/clenching in the past), and I'm also happy that while the doctor didn't promise complete relief from my headaches, she thinks the frequency will reduce. And she has seen plenty of headache patients, so she knows what she's talking about. I mean, just look at that gorgeous building she works in! :)