… Continued …
As the name suggests, they are disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – an important structure that works like a sliding hinge to attach the jawbone to the skull. Each side of the jaw has TMJ. Temporomandibular disorders can be painful, especially when you use the affected joint. Sometimes the muscles around the jaw may also be affected.
The symptoms include tenderness /pain in the jaw, pain /difficulty while chewing foods, difficulty to use mouth (harder to open or close the mouth), aching facial pain, and even sometimes the pain may radiate to the ear. The good news, most cases of temporomandibular disorders are mild and will relieve without treatment. But if the pain persists, treatment may be required.
- Fatigue (tiredness /weakness) complaints in the orofacial region.
- Number of aching /painful areas upon palpation of the neck and head.
- Pain or other discomforts triggered by mandibular movements.
- Other complaints such as headache and earache.
- And generalized pain (widespread) on awakening.
Patients with fibromyalgia may also have difficulty preserving a comfortable position in the dental chair while getting treatment for their oral healthcare needs, especially those who have diffuse musculoskeletal pain.
Since there is still no cure, the goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to relieve the symptoms. Treatment can involve a number of pharmacologic agents which some may have a bad effect on oral healthcare. For examples, some may increase the risk of xerostomia (dry mouth) or interact with other dental medications.
So even though the link between fibromyalgia syndrome and tooth pain still remains puzzling, it’s important for dental providers to have a clear understanding about fibromyalgia (especially the systemic effects of the disease).