I have been having jaw pain for months. I tense my jaw when I’m stressed, and I grind my teeth at night. My dentist made a night guard so I would stop grinding, but still no relief. I have tried cold compresses and ibuprofen to reduce the pain and inflammation, but still nothing. My dentist also ground down some teeth, as a misaligned bite was likely causing TMJ pain. Still no help.
My insurance has not been covering this, so I am out a lot of money and no closer to finding an answer to my pain. I feel like my dentist has given up, as his latest idea is that my diabetes is responsible for my pain. Is that correct? He knew I had diabetes when I first walked into the office, so why did it take him so long to mention a link between the two?
Since he thinks it is linked to my diabetes, he says there is nothing he can do for the pain. It is interfering with my daily life; I can barely eat or sleep because of the pain. What can I do? Or will I be in pain for the rest of my life?
From Alphonse, in Columbus, Ohio
You are correct, your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is likely the cause of your pain. However, if your dentist knew you were diabetic, he should not have prescribed you ibuprofen, as it is contraindicated for diabetics, meaning you could be at higher risk of side effects.
Diabetes can cause oral health problems, such as dry mouth, which can lead to gingivitis. It can also cause diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage to your nerves near the surface of your skin. This usually affects a patient’s feet but can affect other parts of your body, and very rarely affects your face.
Despite the link between the two, there are still ways to options. If your dentist is not willing to treat your pain, you should seek a second opinion. A dentist more skilled in treating TMJ will likely be able to provide you some relief.
This blog post is brought to you by San Antonio TMJ dentist, Dr. Gilberto Tostado, of 5 Star Dental Group. Please note that TMJ is not a specialization or certification, but dentist who pursue continuing education courses pertaining to TMJ will call themselves TMJ dentists or TMJ specialists.