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Monday, February 18, 2008

Singapore Adventure: TMJ

I had to skip work today, as I am having some terrible pain in my right jaw. It started yesterday afternoon. I was hoping the pain will go away this morning, but still the pain was there. It bothered me greatly as I have had the clicking sound in my right jaw for years but it is only recently that I am feeling some pain.

I went to see the dentist at the Sunshine Smile Dental Implant Centre near to our block.

After giving him my symptoms, he said it was Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder. The dentist was really helpful in making me understand what my condition is. It is primarily caused by my teeth-grinding when I sleep. It stressed out the muscle and joint in my right jaw, wearing it out. He explained that younger people had more flexible muscles, but it tightens as we grow older. That's why even if I have been experiencing the clicking sound in my right jaw long ago, it is only now that I have pain.

He prescribed that I should wear a mouth guard when I go to bed. I was fitted for it and the clinic will have it ready by Friday. He says this should lessen my teeth-grinding and avoid my TMJ from worsening. He also gave me some tablets to take - a pain killer and an antibiotic. The pain is basically caused by the inflammation of the muscles in my right jaw.

But what causes teeth-grinding anyways? It is stress. After learning of my profession, the dentist had no doubts why I could have it. So, I was thinking, when I get my mouth guard, I'd probably drop by the medical clinic near our block and ask if the doctor can prescribe me any stress-alleviation drug.
I shelled out 500+ SGD for the mouth guard and medication which my Dental Card does not cover. Obviously, this bothers me greatly and so I am taking action.

Here is a link on TMJ FAQs. Just in case you are curious what it really is about.