Toothache or TMJ pain or both?? : Dentistry

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Warning: this is a long post.

About a week ago, I had 5 cavities filled on the left side of my mouth. The last two molars at the bottom and 3 other molars up top were filled. During the procedure, I didn’t feel pain, but strangely my entire face felt ice cold. The dentist let me take a break. He finished and I went home. It took several hours for the numbness to go away so I didn’t really feel pain that day.

By Friday morning of that week, I felt a lot of discomfort (like my jaw was cramping up) and by Friday evening the left side of my bottom jaw and teeth were throbbing. I think the pain was so bad it gave me a migraine. The pain shot up the side of face and to my forehead. I’ve been taking ibuprofen to manage the pain. Once it kicks in, I feel great, no pain at all- but as soon as it wears off the pain comes back just as badly as it was before.

I’ve gone to my dentist twice to make sure my teeth aren’t infected. By looking at them and touching the inside of my mouth and without taking an X-ray he determined that it’s not an infection. He shaved down the fillings a bit more and he believes the pain will soon subside. It hasn’t. The second to last bottom tooth is throbbing. I have an appointment with a different dentist to get a second opinion but the appointment isn’t until next Friday.

Ok now for the second problem: my jaw cramps up and aches since the procedure. The pain is managed with ibuprofen. I have a history of TMJ: the left side of my jaw has popped and locked for the past 15 years but it has never caused me pain. My dentist referred me to an oral surgeon but I could not see one with the insurance I have (dental insurance does not cover tmj treatment).

However, my health insurance does cover tmj treatment, so I saw an ENT. She believes the ligaments in my jaw were injured during the cavity filling procedure. She wants me to get an mri and started me on steroids. She said I need to rest my jaw for the next two weeks: no talking, no chewing. She also wants me to see a TMJ specialist but he isn’t available until February 2020. I will look to see if I can find another one that will see me sooner.

My question is: what else can I do to speed this along? Should I try to find a dentist that can see me sooner? The pain I’m in is probably the worse pain I’ve felt since I passed a kidney stone. It’s that bad. I’m afraid to keep taking ibuprofen. I tried Tylenol but it does nothing for the pain.

Also I’m worried because I have one more cavity that needs to be filled. Also, when my dentist shaved down one tooth, a tiny black dot appeared. I’m afraid it’s another cavity. ENT said no more dental work until my jaw is healed.

I dunno what more information anyone needs but I’m 32 and female. My gums recently started receding due to brushing my teeth like one would scrub a potato. I’m using a super soft toothbrush and sensitive toothpaste now. Someone once told me my 30s would be the best years of my life but I feel like they really meant it would be the last years of my life. My body (mouth & other unrelated body parts) feels like it’s falling apart.


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