Lately, I have had this numbing, tingling feeling in my fingers and I was wondering if it could be related to my TMJ disorder? I am very familiar with all the other symptoms of bruxism and grinding and how they affect my TMJ, like pain in my jaw and face, ringing in my ears, and stiffness in the jaw joint. But this numbing pins and needles feeling is new. It only happens with my left hand and I was wondering if there is a correlation here?
– Loretta in Missouri
TMJ symptoms are wide-ranging and TMJ disorder manifests differently for everyone. But to answer your question, yes, the numb feeling you have described can be connected with TMJ disorder. Typically it is not as common of a TMJ symptom, having been reported in about 50 percent of TMJ patients.
Here is what is happening in regard to the numbness. When your bite is misaligned, muscle spasms may occur. And since all of your muscles are inter-connected, when your jaw is misaligned it is quite possible to see problems down in your extremities. This is because the muscle spasms that you experience causing the tightness in your jaw, face, and neck area can influence the connecting nerves that travel into your arms. When these nerves are bothered, periodic numbness or tingling can be a result. That said, the numbness may not always occur as a result of TMJ pain. It can happen spontaneously.
It is important that you report any new or different TMJ problems to your TMJ specialist or the dentist that is treating you. Open communication will enable the best TMJ treatment to meet your specific needs.
Thank you for your question!
This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics by Dr. Steve Bader.
I simply cannot take this pain any longer. It’s my face, ears, and jaw that are absolutely killing me. I haven’t officially been diagnosed with TMJ but from all the research I’ve done, that has to be what is going on. Can you tell me a little more about TMJ?
– Betsy in Missouri
Facial pain, pain in the jaw joint or area, ringing in the ears or earaches are all symptoms of TMJ disorder. The temporalmandibuar joint (TMJ) is the small joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull and helps you to talk and chew normally. This joint is used when you eat and yawn, really any movement of your jaw. TMJ disorder can affect the muscles and tendons that surround your jaw as well. Pain or sensitivity and soreness, as well as locking are all signs of TMJ.
It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of TMJ, but stress can be a major contributing factor. Other factors that can cause TMJ are an injury or trauma to the face, grinding of the teeth or clenching, and some arthritis patients have found it is a cause of TMJ. As mentioned previously, stress can make you clench or grind your teeth and tighten your facial muscles which can lead to TMJ problems.
A proper diagnosis is key when trying to find TMJ treatment. TMJ dentists and specialists use varying techniques that range from medications or a simple mouth piece, to more advanced neuromuscular therapy, and in some extreme cases surgery.
You don’t want to be in pain anymore, so don’t put it off any longer. Find a TMJ specialist in your area.
This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.
Is a common side effect of prescription drugs teeth grinding?
– Beth in Tennessee
Teeth grinding and clenching isn’t an exact science. To be honest, no one really knows the exact cause. There has been a lot of research that indicates stress, anger, and anxiety can play a role in grinding. There have also been many studies that link certain medications to teeth grinding. For example, Sinement CR Oral, Atapryl, Carbex, and Selegiline are used to treat Parkinsons Disease and they can cause grinding. Prolintane is another drug used for Dementia patients. It contains some anti-depressant formulas that can cause individuals to clench or grind. Illegal drugs like Ecstasy contain the stimulants like amphetamines which can cause grinding. If you are using these kinds of medications or drugs, your dentist will be able to examine your teeth to see signs of wear.
A common TMJ treatment from a dentist is a night guard. This will help to protect your teeth and gums. And it will also alleviate the pain and pressure to your TMJ joint and the surrounding muscles.
Sometimes people don’t realize that they care clenching or grinding because it happens at night while they are asleep. Jaw pain, chipped or cracked teeth, worn down edges of teeth, receding gums, headaches, and ear aches are all signs of grinding. TMJ disorder can also result from ongoing grinding and clenching.
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I have dealt with grinding my teeth for a long time. I’ve seen a TMJ dentist that had me get a night guard. This TMJ treatment has helped a lot.
Well, several months ago, I decided I wanted to improve the look of my smile. So I went ahead and got porcelain veneers done. One night I didn’t wear my night guard and I woke up to a broken veneer. I guess it cracked while I was asleep. Do you think the dentist will replace it for me without charging me?
– Lidia in Florida
As far as getting the porcelain veneer replaced, it is truly up to the dentist. Since the grinding is something that you have dealt with for years, there is no obligation that the dentist must replace the veneer, from a legal perspective. But there are many cosmetic dentists or TMJ specialists that also do cosmetic dentistry that may sympathize with you. Hopefully your dentist is one of these, since it has only been a few months.
There is always a possibility that you will only pay the lab fee, as long as you agree to continue wearing your night guard. That said, it all depends on the directions your dentist gave you when the veneers were placed. If you were already warned about the cautions of forgetting to wear the night guard for your TMJ treatment, they may not feel too bad about the situation. Then again, if there was no warning about the mouth guard given, than you may be able to make a stronger case for yourself.
It also isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that the porcelain veneer that broke can be repaired. A good cosmetic dentist may be able to use dental bonding to reapply the veneer. This all depends on how and where the veneer broke and if it was a clean break. It is also extremely important to see a cosmetic dentist that has an expert skill level.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
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I have serious jaw pain from TMJ disorder and I am only in my thirties. I guess I have a terrible grinding issue because about 10 years ago, my dentist put crowns on every one of my teeth. I don’t think the work was very good because now they are worn down and my jaw hurts all the time and clicks. It seems my jaw isn’t straight anymore either, I have a crossbite and slant to deal with. The list goes on and on. My gums really aren’t in very good shape and since they were put on originally, the appearance of the crowns has darkened drastically.
I have been to a neuromuscular dentist as kind of a last resort. I just can’t take the TMJ pain any longer. Well the method of choice by the neuromuscular dentist was an orthotic. I think it actually opened up my jaw too far and moved the lower jaw forward. I honestly think I may be worse off than before seeing this dentist. So without the orthotic, my crowns are still in bad shape and now my bite is open. What do I do know? Do I see a cosmetic dentist or some other TMJ specialist? I don’t know what is more important, the functionality versus the appearance of the dental work.
Obviously my case is complex, so I’m hesitant to give a new dentist a try. Will they have any way to tell how my bite should be at this point? Hoping you can provide me some insight and a glimmer of hope.
– Annie in Rhode Island
The neuromuscular dentist was a step in the right direction. Although, as you have found out TMJ dentists and neurmouscular TMJ treatment is not a regulated area of dentistry. So any dentist can make the claim to do this kind of work. It sounds like the dentist you may have seen may not have had the best experience or credentials in treating this painful disorder.
You should not have to compromise between function and aesthetics. There are cosmetic dentists out there that are experts in treating TMJ. You need a balanced occlusion and bite, but you should not have to sacrifice appearance. The tricky part is that by nature dentists are trained to fix things. Not every dentist is focused on doing beautiful cosmetic work. But don’t give up.
It also may be challenging to find out where your natural bite was originally. But TMJ specialists that are passionate about this area of dentistry have had success in getting patients out of pain once and for all. Keep up your search. The right dentist will spend the time with you to get this right. Don’t sacrifice when it comes to something as important as your smile.
This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.
My family cannot afford to go to the dentist for many reasons. My parents have had recent medical issues which have us owing over three thousand dollars or so in expenses. But my TMJ is bothering me so much. It has been a few weeks now that it has been locked up and I have a lot of difficulty even opening my mouth. Do you know if one of the mouth guards that I can get at the drug store will work? Or are they even worth it?
– Ashley in Rhode Island
Sorry to hear that you deal with TMJ disorder. Have you tried using hot and cold packs? If you alternate between using the hot and then the cold pack multiple times through the day, this may help with the inflammation in the joint. Go ahead and give it a try if you haven’t already and keep the packs in place for 10 minute intervals. You should also try 800mg of ibuprofen as needed or up to three times a day to help with the inflammation and pain.
To answer your question, the mouth guard that you buy in the store is probably going to help a little bit. It depends on how much your grind your teeth because you will wear it down pretty fast if you grind a lot. There are different sizes available at the store. It is probably best to go with the one size fits all, unless you know your exact size. One of these mouth guards will probably cost about 20 dollars and it is better than nothing. Although, you will be much better off treating your temporomandibular joint dysfunction by getting a guard from the dentist’s office. It will be well worth the few hundred dollars for a custom fit. It is also possible that your dental insurance may cover this kind of treatment, if you have insurance. Or you may want to consider CareCredit. Many dentists accept their interest-free payment plans. You can also talk to your dentist about your situation and they may have payment plans, a medical card, or other program available to help out.
Hopefully this information was helpful.
This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.