Started complaining of intermitent swelling feeling within cheeks, or muscles around cheeks, about four years ago to my doctor. The swelling was not very visible although was causing ulcers around the wisdom teeth, cheek biting and general discomfort. Was referred to dentist who extracted all wisdoms - this only helped in that the ulcers reduced and are much less frequent. Swelling of cheeks/muscles has increased in frequency and intensity (most of time now) and I also get twitching in the muscles around the jaw when at its worst (mainly in the evening) - and now my partner, friends and family can easily see the raised areas on both cheeks and a look of a fuller face when the condition is bad. When it is intense it is uncomfortable to smile as the muscles in my face feel tense and swollen (feel like smile is being pushed downwards by swelling), it is hard to rest my mouth and I can also feel my pulse in and around the jaw line. I have been to see ENT, maxilofacial surgeons, TMJ specialist and the head guy at Eastman dental uni, London. Chose to see TMJ specialist as my bite only meets on back teeth.... however, all have said nothing wrong with me and Eastman uni referrred me to psychiatrists - said it was in my head, but how can it be if family can see problem areas?! Another £350 well spent on that appointment then. Have been referred to neurologist later this month, although losing hope a bit now.
Any ideas or thoughts on where I should be looking next?
Don't give up. I have been sent to the shrink several times in the past year. I was told I have TMJ and then the same specialist said that I only have TMJ like symptoms that are being caused by something else. I swell up like a chipmunk and for a petite frame, my face belongs to somebody else when times are bad. My muscles (ever since wisdom tooth extraction) have spasms and then I battle to relieve them. A hot bath, Elavil (works like a charm when times are bad), herbal teas have all been helpful. I have been to a neurologist as I lost all feeling in my right cheek where my wisdom tooth was extracted. I was brushed off like a lunatic so I tried another neuro and another...It seems that during wisdom tooth extraction, sth went wrong and I am now faced with getting the other two upper wisdom teeth removed which are probably also contributing to it as I have a tiny mouth. After some dental work on my first molar my bite has also changed so it is as if I am running in circles. I visited about 5 dentists to eliminate bad teeth as being the cause. Have you ruled out teeth completely? Finally one dentist had the brilliant idea, after I begged them to, to take an updated x-ray of my root canaled tooth that has been uncomfortable and bingo...big abscess under it that led me to the brink of developing Ludwig's angina symptoms over the weekend. Landed in emerge and now I am now on heavy antibios and undergoing retreatment. Originally, my physio thought my muscles were the main thing tensing up and causing the chipmunk look, but my salivary glands seem to be struggling as well because of the infection. Have you had an MRI done to prove jaw disc dislocation or inflammation or to rule out salivary gland problems? Mine isn't displaced but because I have rheumatism (only 27 yrs old though), and following all the dental stress on it, I have developed TMJ symptoms but no dislocation is visible...just a fluid blocking it.
Don't give up. Just make sure you have ruled out every possible other thing that can cause TMJ symptoms like bad teeth (failed root canal), NICO (osteomyelitis causes TMJ symptoms so have your blood checked), rheumatism...
You are not alone in this...I have been told I am a hypochondriac with psychosomatic pain!!! When a problem can't easily be diagnosed, then the shrink is the easiest solution for docs.
Take good care,
Thanks for the response. ... Going to see the neuro on Friday and see what he has to say. Then I will look at other options, and your notes above are very helpful.... especially the MRI, which no one has suggested to date. Nor has a physio been suggested? I too am very small framed and look out of place with a swollen chipmunked face! one thing I ommited - when times are bad my glands also swell up and are hard. Anyway, thanks again and I do hope all goes well for you. ...
Russell the Psycho!