Friday, November 14, 2008

A Fractured Tooth and TMJ - A Recipe for Trouble!

So, over the past oh I don't know... 5-6 weeks, I've been having some tooth pain on the lower left side of my mouth. It's progressively gotten out of control. I saw the dentist about a month ago for a routine cleaning. I informed him of the pain I felt from one specific tooth. Turns out... it's fractured and needs a crown. I already had so much filling in this particular tooth, so the only option was to crown it... or yank it! I knew it was a problem, which was just my luck. I can daydream about eating a jawbreaker and all my teeth will crack. Or, I can look at a bag of skittles and have a mouth full of cavities.

I knew it needed fixed in a hurry because it was already hurting pretty badly at this point. The hygienist wanted to make sure my insurance would cover such a nasty sight, so I needed to wait a few more weeks to make sure Tricare was on my side! Needless to say, the next few weeks were quite painful in the mouth area. It was so bad that I couldn't talk at times. Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something about how I use my mouth?! I know He will use whatever necessary to purge the nastiness from my character. Okay, back on topic. Finally, I received the good news from Tricare that they will cover over half the cost! Great news, right? Well, we still get to pay a whopping $336.00. Oh, the joy!

When the dentist put on my temporary crown, I told him about all the pain I was having. He wanted to make sure the tooth was still vital, so he did a series of tests. He told me I wasn't that weird; all the tests revealed tolerable measurements. He thought it best to proceed with the crown but leave the temporary on a bit longer to make sure my tooth settled down. I was to call him if the pain didn't subside within 4 or 5 days. This is when it all gets ugly. The pain was unbearable at times. Ironically, the pain wasn't in my tooth. I had terrible ear and jaw pain. Not a good sign!

This past Monday, I went to Caribou at the Greene with some friends. Shortly after leaving, my left ear and jaw were throbbing so badly, I thought my head was going to pop off. It was excruciating. I could hardly focus on the road. When I got home, Matt was working at the computer, and I couldn't even open my mouth. By this point, I thought I needed to see my Dr. just to make sure I didn't have some coincidental ear infection. Matt thought I should go to the E.R. I just wanted to take some ibu. and get some sleep. I could call the Dr. in the morning.

So... I called the Dr. but couldn't get an appt. for 2 days. At this point, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. Linda came over to watch Isaac for me, and I was off to the E.R. I wanted to rule out any type of ear or throat problem before calling the dentist. Sure enough, my ears couldn't be any healthier the Dr. said. I waited for over 2 hours just to hear her words!

I called my dentist (of course the office is closed on Wednesdays!), but they were able to see me the very next morning. I love them! Now to the end of the story... the crowned tooth is not why I'm in pain. Although it certainly didn't help! I have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). I am a big time clencher at night and wear a "Brux" appliance at nighttime. However, the pressure placed on my jaws has finally showed its ugly self! I then had to make another appt. with my actual PCM (Primary Care Physician in military lingo) to get a medical referral. So, next week I'll have a full TMJ evaluation and then we'll see what all I need.

It's crazy how such a small part of your body can make you feel miserable. I had a really bad spasm tonight on the way home from Apex and couldn't talk again. Maybe God wants me to wire my mouth shut or something! I do hope to have everything taken care of very soon. It's no fun having chronic teeth/mouth problems! Dear Lord, I've learned my lesson! Please heal my mouth!

1 comment:

Kate said...

I'm so sorry to hear you are in so much pain! I know how awful that can be and it affects everything. Praying that you can figure out what to do next and be relieved of this pain quickly!