About four months ago I developed severe pain in my right lower jawbone. Not in the joint itself by the ear but lower, under where my wisdom teeth were removed (there's a little "notch" there when I feel the underside of my jaw.) I had a full dental exam, saw an endodontist, and saw ENT who referred to me another ENT who said it was a salivary gland problem. After multiple courses of antibiotics the pain went away, although the gland still swells when I eat and he wants to remove it. I was fine with that plan.
However, yesterday I developed exactly the same pain in the left lower jawbone in exactly the same place. It is extremely tender to touch. Does not hurt to open my mouth and there are no clicks or pops. It does not feel like the joint itself, but the jawbone again. There is no pain up in the joint itself. It is extremely painful to touch and I woke up multiple times last night when I rolled onto that side. My dentist says my teeth look great - has done multiple exams and x-rays. The teeth on that side now do ache a little, but not bad and not related to any particular tooth.
I'm at a total loss and am now questioning whether the salivary gland was the cause of my problems on the other side as the pain is the same (and the glands on this side are not swollen at all). Any suggestions on what this could be or where to go from here? Does this sound like possible TMJ? Could the pain be referred from the joint down to the lower jaw? It's not painful with movement - just when I touch it.
I have been reading your posts as I have been trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with me...I ache in the same place as you and about a month ago was absolutely miffed when the ache that was only on the lower right mandibular started to mimic on the left. Initially, my TMJ specialist thought it was TMJD but after a detailed MRI of my jaw joint he ruled it out. I have been to hell and back in the last month especially and nobody is able to figure out what is going on. I am being treated with antibios again (they never worked before, just as you wrote) aimed at osteomyelitis but nobody has been able to prove it yet. I am completely baffled myself, but from my own experience and from what you have been posting, I would say you haven't got TMJD. Then again, everybody is affected slightly differently by all disorders, diseases, illnesses etc...
Keep us up-to-date please...
Take good care,
Thanks for your response. Please keep me updated on how you are doing and what you learn. I am just at a loss as to who to see next or whether or not to go ahead with the salivary gland surgery. Although I still have swelling on that side, the pain over the jawbone is totally gone and has moved (and it even more painful) on the other side. This was totally unexpected! After more than four months of this I have just about had it. It took a good three months for the pain on the one side to go away and I'm afraid this new side will take as long as well - and then will it come back??? It's got to be caused by something!
Your post caught my attention..so I have some advice that may help..I have been to hell and back with TMJ and I do consider myself an expert..First..you should have your tmj joint x-rayed to see if its out of line...then you find a tmj specialist..not just any dentist...to hook you up to a machine that can absolutely without fail tell you if its your jaw/bite..I believe that machine is called a "mile-monitor" not sure if spelled it right..but thats how its pronounced..do not see just any dentist for this..make sure he is a tmj specialist with years of experience!!! The x-ray along with the machine will tell you definitely whether or not its tmj....if not..then you know what you may do next...Also,,if it is tmj get the book "Taking control of TMJ" by Dr. Charles Upgaard...it saved my life!!! Tmj can cause all kinds of pain and referred pain ALL OVER your body..its unreal....I had the worst kind you could get..I got better..and now..just because I swept out our new house under construction..I am having a relapse of this...hope this info helps you..AND YES there are specific tests to help you find out if it is tmj..if a dentist tells you there is not..then find someone else...!!! Good luck...Tina
Just a question...have you got any wisdom teeth remaining in your mouth? I was told to have my upper wisdom teeth removed as well to eliminate all possiblities. I am doubtful because I can't see how upper wisdom teeth can affect your heart, feeling of fluid in the back of neck, numbing neck etc... a load of symptoms I have been having. It just doesn't add up but to keep the dentist's and doc's mouth shut, I have to rule it out and get them removed soon. I am really frustrated. Atleast the dentist found a chronic infection festering itself under my root canaled first molar that was done in March and has never seemed to settle since. I started retreatment today and will see if that heavy lower jaw feeling goes away. Silly question...have you really really ad all of your teeth thoroughly checked? Any root canals? I visited about 5 dentists until this one found the infection. I do not think it is the cause of all of my problems but I am expecting some relief from it. I wish they had that machine Tina1966 mentioned here...medicine seems so backwards and you have to depend on the naked eye of the doctor and his ability to spot things on MRIs Cts and x-rays.
I am often accused of being a hypochondriac suffering from pyschosomatic pain...but I will get to the bottom of it one day!!! Myofacial pain, atypical facial pain all stem from something and are labels I have been given and fought to believe in and so I was then labelled TMJD which was also ruled out when the TMJ specialist couldn't find any dislocation etc...I do have an altered bite though after all of the dental work I have been through so I continue to take certain precautions I learnt to be aware of while I believed that it could be TMJ. I keep my night guard handy in case of muscle spasms and a good muscle relaxant when nothing seems to kick-in. Heat aggravates the infection so I can't apply it so freely but even a hot bath helps ease the tension in my face. Herbal teas for joint problems...I am young but suffer from Rheumatism, probably from my athletic days of youth.
Take good care,
Don't give up...it is worth ruling it
Thanks for keeping me informed as to how you are doing. It does seem like we have similar problems. The original pain I had on the right side is much less. After five rounds of antibiotics it finally seemed to respond to Cipro and I had almost two virtually pain-free weeks. Now, however, it feels like the pain is starting to slowly come back. Also, while the swelling of the gland when I eat has gone done considerably, it still swells regularly. I still get a sore throat on that side and a fullness with some pain in the ear. I am still questioning the need to have the gland removed but think I will probably go ahead with it - Maybe it will work and if not it will rule it out as the cause of my problems. I don't want to keep taking multiple courses of antibiotics (especially since most don't seem to do anything at all except give me side effects.)
I had all my wisdom teeth removed over 20 years ago, so that's not an issue, although the pain at times does seem to come from that area. This whole thing started as a dental issue for me. I have two crowns on the back molars on this side. Never had a root canal. Three years ago I had similar symptoms. Had crowns removed, dentist and endodontist looked underneath and said all was well, x-rays were good and eventually had new crowns made and replaced $$$$$$! Pain resolved about three months later on its own. Now I am going through this all over again. I really do not want to replace crowns again and have had multiple x-rays and CT scans - looked at by dentist, endodontist and multiple ENTs. All say teeth are not the problem. My biggest fear is that this is a tooth problem that everyone is missing even though the teeth themselves don't really hurt.
On the up side - the pain that had recently appeared in the left jaw seems to be resolving on its own and seems to respond to Motrin so I think it probably is related to clenching, which I do even with my mouthguard. The original pain on the right side was never even touched by Motrin or Tylenol.
Another strange question - have you ever had problems with your cervical discs? I had a herniated disc a few years ago with surgery and a fusion. Sometimes I wonder if my jaw and neck pain is somehow related to that. I'm probably grasping at straws here, but I'm getting frustrated with doctors who can't see beyond their own specialty and look at the whole problem to try to get to the bottom of this.
No questions are considered silly when concerning health. I haven't any back problems that I am aware of but they can most definitely along with your neck pain, be connected. It seems to me that my jaw problems only began since my trips to the dentist started a year ago. I had peace and quiet for 6 years before that. It leads me to believe that the removal of my lower right wisdom tooth (same side as the clicking and stressed jaw) and all of the drilling around my root canalled first molar has caused some sort of teeth occlusion and I have noticed that that side of my face is more tense and overused now. The gnawing ache is probably the result of my failed root canal. I am now praying that the affected tooth with the bone infection below it, will heal and I won't have to go through more pain of having an implant. Once my first molar is sorted, I will be able to distinguish the pain that is left, should there be any, and then I will become suspicious of NICO in the former wisdom tooth area or simply rheumatism. There are no specialists for that in this country though so I hope that I will not need to seek that type of specialised help. Nico or osteomyelitis is the only other thing that I can imagine would cause that deep gnawing feeling in your jaw or make your jaw hurt to touch and create TMJ symptoms. I have to admit, I am completely exhausted from the whole problem and running around from one dentist to the next. The antibiotics I am on have helped my body get rid of the "infected" feeling, relieve my neck and head and get my heart back to normal. My blood tests came back "within" range so again, I am considered a hypochondriac. On the other hand, there is another theory that states that if you have osteo, it won't turn up in your blood because it is so deep in your bones and surrounded by dead blood cells so it can't even get into your bloodstream...that is scarey. It can fester away for years without leaving a trace in your blood, just a deep gnawing ache in the affected area. Just something else to consider as the cause of TMJ symptoms that can't be proven with apparent dislocation. The best way for you to rule it out would be by having and MRI done of your TMJ. The specialist can then see whether or not there is any dislocation. There is a special MRI program for it so it is very accurate.
Take good care,
Keep us up to date (I don't care about how much people scoff at the thought of using the internet for help...it has given me so much knowledge about what could be wrong and the courage to go and fight for myself in the ever so negligent world of medicine when the problem isn't visible to the human eye and calls for a bit more sleuth work and energy)