The oddest of circumstances led to the successful treatment of a jaw problem that I didn’t even know I had. For as long as I can remember whenever I chewed on things such as hard bread or meat my right jaw joint would click. It was so normal to me that I thought it was a natural part of chewing, that everyone’s jaw did this.
Through my twenties and thirties it caused me no major grief… but in my forties it got much worse. I had periods where I could not even close my jaw, and I could not chew hard items at all. So I did what most red blooded men would do. Nothing. I was busy, I tolerated it, perhaps it would go away if I ignored it.
The one day I was working out at the gym when this guy comes up to me and gives me his card. He says not to be concerned, he was not stalking me… but if I wanted help with my clicking jaw to come and see him. I was surprised. How did he know? He pointed out the window to the dental surgerySunnybank Dental Surgery in the building opposite the gym and explained he was watching people work out when he saw me wiggling my jaw in a common way people with jaw problems move it to allow it to close.
Ok… so its all very amusing… but in the end I go and see him to see what he can do. I spend 90 minutes being examined, have my jaw opened and closed, x-rays taken etc, questions asked and he comes back with this.
Structurally, my jaw is fine, I just have a problem with some jaw muscles being too strong, pulling the jaw at the wrong angle. We can fix it.
The cause of the problem was from likely 3 reasons.
- I had a slight scoliosis meaning my spine is slightly curved, one shoulder is lower than the other, this make me tilt my head, causing the jaw muscles to be out of position. I needed to get my back sorted.
- I had been using a pair of tight, gamer headphones. I work from home, the kids are noisy, they cut out the noise so I can work. But they are tight… and the pressure causes the jaw muscle to engage. I needed to lose the headphones.
- I was genetically predisposed to this sort of problem, with my mother and sister also both having it. Come to think of it, they all have the same slight scoliosis too.
My problems were correctable, without surgery he reckoned. I had googled the surgery option and was not keen on it. It seemed to hurt as many people as it helped. He booked me in to get a mouth guard fitted, that would retrain my jaw muscles to work in the correct way.
I’ve now started this process, with a case being taken of my jaw, and I am going in to pick up the mouthpiece next week, I will let you know how it works out. I am also off to see a Osteopath , and have binned the too tight headphones in exchange for a looser fitting pair.