Hi, I am hoping someone can help me with a few questions. About three years ago I had braces. I only had to wear them for around 15 months as my teeth weren't all that bad, there was mainly just some crowding on the bottom. Well when the braces came off I was to wear a plastic retainer on top and a metal one on the lower teeth. I don't know why I was so stupid, but I didn't wear them like I should and before I knew it, I tried to put the retainer in and it wouldn't fit...my teeth aparently had already moved. Stupid, but not a huge deal. Anyway, when I was at the orthodontist getting my fittings for the braces he said I had mild TMJ. I wasn't even really aware of it. Back to the present, a few weeks ago I noticed a knot on the lower gum line, underneath my molars on the right side. It feels like a bone...it is not sticking out through my gums, but if I press on it, it feels just like a bone. I have also today been having an aching pain in my jaw, like right in front of my ear, and it goes down into my jaw. I am not sure what this is. I am too afraid to go to the dentist and ask about the knot on my gums, because I have huge health anxiety and am afraid it's something horrible. By the way, the knot doesn't hurt, it's not red or discolored at all, it's just there. I don't know how long it's been there....it may have just been there as of recent, or it could've been there for a long time and maybe I just didn't notice it. I also notice that I do have a clicking in my jaw on that side when I open and close my mouth sometimes, and I know for sure that I grind my teeth at night. What do you think this could be? I'm scared....
The knot you described sounds similar to knots that seem to come and go in my mouth. They feel just horrible when I run my finger over them but otherwise do not hurt and are not hot, red or discolored either.
It sounds like the clicking you are describing could definitely be TMJ. Mine started out as just clicking then got worse as the years passed. You might want to consider getting a consultation with a dentist or orthodontist to find out if it is TMJ and maybe get a splint made.
If you had teeth removed for ortho, you can definitely have tmj later on in life. Clicking is difinitely a sign that your joints are not where they should be. Even a 1 mm off on one side can result in just a slight click. So spacing is really important. Get a tomogram. That should confirm if you have enough spacing.
You grind at night. That's another sign that you have tmj. This usually means that your muscles are not relaxed at night when you're sleeping.
My sister also grinds at night. She does not have any symptoms of tmj. But i know she has tmj because when she opens her mouth, the joints go over a bone. This means that she lack "vertical dimension" on both sides. Not enough spacing on top but enough spacing at the back for her to not experience headaches.
So go get a tomogram to confirm you have enough spacing on top and back. Hope this helps.
Thanks to both of you for your responses. I am glad to know where to go with this. I was really afraid to go to the dentist about the knot thing...although it definitely feels like a bone, I was worried it was something horrible. To Tiffany, yes, mine is the same thing...no discoloration, no pain at all, unless I run my finger across it...then I really wouldn't even call that pain, it just feels uncomfortable, like the skin will tear and a bone will pop through almost...does that make sense? I wonder if it is permanent or if it will go away with time? Well, regardless, I feel much better about it now and will make an appointment with my dentist to see what he thinks. Thanks again to both of you for your help.