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Can TMS cause/exacerbate tooth pain?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by KittenLePurr, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    I obviously do need some dental work, and I'm getting it very soon, but I've had to postpone it a few times due to financial constraints. It's just interesting to me that, for the past few months, my tooth pain has actually seemed to be getting better--as I'm taking holistic measures to heal it--but then, yesterday, I flossed a little harder than usual and caused a throbbing flareup and then got it in my head that it's too late to heal my teeth and I'm going to lose them or have to get a root canal and have horrible complications I've read about online...and my anxiety totally spiraled and now, the tooth still hurts, whereas it usually stops hurting within a few hours of a flareup. So is it possible that my brain and the anxious thinking I let overtake me is causing the pain to persist?? I obviously struggle with anxiety, and it's particularly intense right now because I just tapered off an anxiety medication and am still recovering.

    My jaw pain certainly flares up when I get worked up over it or over the financial constraints I mentioned, so I figure why wouldn't my brain form and fire these neural networks, too? I'm really not sure whether to be this freaked out about this...so, thank you for your help. Back to my meditation pillow to try and get centered:bear:
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Read My Story for something on this x
    KittenLePurr likes this.
  3. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    WOW, plum, thank you so, so much for replying and getting me to read your story. This makes me feel better. Because while touching my face or brushing my teeth isn't an issue, lying on my side is, as I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep for years and have to wear a nightguard too. I never would've considered a nerve would be involved. I've had TMJ/jaw pain for 18 years and it has started to improve over the last 6 months of doing TMS work, as have my neck, back and carpal tunnel, but the muscle tension and grinding are still very active. And, come to think of it, while this tooth has been sensitive to flossing for a while, it only got THIS sensitive a couple months ago, right around the time my other pains started to improve. Kind of kicking myself for letting myself suffer over this, since I know that reinforces TMS.

    I love what you said about feeling your feelings and that that is the way to healing. I've been getting better at this ever since I started following Kelly Brogan more closely and joined one of her programs 9 or so months ago (her work is about healing the body and soul, so it goes hand in hand with TMS work) but letting myself feel these feelings fully instead of running from them has felt as much like pulling teeth as I imagined my future dentist appointment would:bigtears: Along with the indecision over whether to get an expensive emergency appointment to find out for sure what's up with this tooth. More work to do...

    Thank you so much.
    plum likes this.
  4. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    Just wondering, when your teeth hurt, was it always in the same small area? Or was it more widespread? And was it like a throbbing? Either way, I'm thinking even more that my pain is TMS-related now because the pain has completely subsided other than the typical sensitive area at the gum. Pressure isn't hurting it any more at all
    plum likes this.
  5. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    Oh sorry, I'm reading more about atypical trigeminal neuralgia now and seeing it does involved throbbing. And that many people get root canals to try to fix the problem! Which obviously offers no relief!! :jawdrop::jawdrop::jawdrop: So awful!! Goodness forbid my dentist recommends one...I am seeing a good one though so hopefully they won't unless it's seriously the tooth, itself. I'm so glad to know what's what or else, in another life, I might've gotten one
    plum likes this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It was confined, for the most part, to one tooth in particular but when TMS flared badly it would spread much wider. I’ve had pain and throbbing across the whole palate, I’ve had my gums swell red and angry-looking with inflammation, and I’ve experienced some flares at other places but nothing like the neuralgia which can rage across my face, jaw, neck and shoulders.

    The pain is best described as a relentless bleating. Classic Trigeminal Neuralgia is typified by lightening shocks and while I have had these, my main experience was this endless throbbing nagging hurt. It took me years to learn there were two types of neuralgia and then it took me years to believe it was TMS.

    I know! It makes my blood run cold but I also read about this before I knew what it was. There but for the grace of God...

    Take heart from the fact that it is most likely TMS and that dental issues can be cured with time and patience. This is one area where I do firmly believe in the healing power of diet. While it didn’t resolve my TMS (and how could it), it did heal some minor dental issues I had.

    If you have a good dentist, and by this I mean someone you can comfortably chat to and who won’t pressure you into any treatment you are unsure about, then an appointment is fabulous for the reassurance. The swelling I mentioned happened after I’d been oil-pulling for a while and I was out-of-my-mind terrified. I couldn’t even countenance brushing my teeth. My sweet dentist was on holiday for a month, I didn’t trust the others and so I had to wait till she came back. I was a wreck by the time I went to see her.

    Yet nothing was wrong. She told me it was nothing more than stress (aka TMS). She cleaned my teeth and booked me in with the hygienist for a follow-up and that was that.

    Moral of the story? Never underestimate the ability of TMS to totally freak you out.

    plum x

    p.s. my dentist diagnosed TMJ due to tooth grinding and bracing against the TN pain. All tension related. All TMS.
  7. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    Oh how awful!!! Yes, a throbbing, nagging bleating. I only started oil pulling maybe a month and a half ago, so it really hasn't had a time to work. I've also been doing it daily and only just found out that more is not necessarily better! And I've eaten well for maybe 2 years now but had no clue about oral health until a year ago or less?? Crazy to think I could neglect it that far into my healing journey but they don't teach you this stuff in school in these parts... And SO crazy how these symptoms jump around when you start working on them...I guess from this point onward it's probably safe to assume any new symptom is TMS!! Anyway, thank you. This is so, so helpfultiphata
  8. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    It absolutely can! An executive at my work with a very intense career talked many times about gum and tooth problems while stressed; hers were the result of stress-induced sleeping habits. This can also happen regardless of your sleeping position and simply be the result of overactive nerves.

    I am so sorry you are feeling anxious. That is normal and you are far from alone - so many people have recurring nightmares about their teeth falling out for this reason. I completely agree that focusing on relaxation and daily management of emotions will help significantly.

    EDIT: I do have to say that I am not a dentist or a healthcare professional at any kind, so my post is not advice that should be prioritized over guidance from a qualified professional. Even if one has a structural issue, stress can worsen it. For example, if you are experiencing stress-induced TMJ, that's of course going to impact any preexisting or future dental complications. I feel like my post needed to clarify this!
    Drew likes this.
  9. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    Wow, I had NO idea. It really makes you wonder how many people have had oral surgery and even had unpleasant complications from it without ever having anything wrong with their actual teeth or gums...but then, that’s the case with any TMS symptom, isn’t it? So scary. And heartbreaking.
    Thank you. It’s so hard not to let the anxiety spiral sometimes, especially because some little girl part of me is just absolutely petrified of losing teeth or really having any part of my body not in tact...it’s a very strong attachment. That and I’ve read root canal horror stories!! Just knowing other people have experienced this has taken my anxiety over it way, way down to basically 0, along with surrendering and fully feeling the feelings. Thank you for your help!!
  10. Drew

    Drew Peer Supporter

    I get the teeth breaking nightmares almost daily
    Dorado likes this.
  11. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Of course! I agree with Plum - if you can find a great dentist who will work with you, check everything out, not force anything on you, and be realistic about when there's a truly a problem versus there being no identifiable problem, that is ideal. I passed on a dentist in my mid twenties because he just wanted to drill when I didn't even have any cavities! I can't imagine what he would've wanted to do had I complained of actual pain.

    I do have to say that I am not a dentist or a healthcare professional at any kind, so my previous post is not advice that should be prioritized over guidance from a qualified professional. Even if one has a structural issue, stress can worsen it. For example, if you are experiencing stress-induced TMJ, that's of course going to impact any preexisting or future dental complications. I feel like my last post needed to clarify this!
    KittenLePurr likes this.
  12. Drew

    Drew Peer Supporter

    All my teeth have been pretty ground up according to all the dentists I see. They all say u grind very hard during sleep. I had to get gum surgery a couple months ago.
    On top of the constant burning tingling pins and needles ants biting and crawling and allodynia in legs, foot shaking and sometimes whole body and stabbing pain in knees etc but maybe all this came after years of suppressing all that I want my goals and dreams and not getting close to them and then getting injured knees and years going to doctors with no answers which led to crps and central sensitization and nerve symptoms.
    Being an actor appearance is a big deal so after messing my teeth so much I feel internally I’m scared of how much damage I keep doing to them in sleep which I have no control over.
    Weirdly @Dorado most my symptoms happen when I wake up from sleep or am in bed or at home at night like the intense burnint and tingling and ants biting etc. it’s like I’m unhappy and lonely by myself. And maybe nightmares Rec up my body and I wake up with sensations that are sooo strong it’s like all the work I did to calm em whole day goes to shitter in the morning. Sometimes it’s tough because all my goals and dreams are tied up with being fit and healthy as you need that to be good in the entertainment industry. Most my audtion in the last 4-5 yrs I have gone to have been in some pain or excruciating sensations so I’m sick of it ruling my life. It’s like I have shackles of pain and symptoms tiring me down from getting my dreams. Sometimes I feel so hopeless. Then I remember how last two years I worked out so much and pain started to subside so it is possible. But then somedays are just hell and I feel I can’t fight anymore and just want it to stop.
  13. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    No worries. I did decide to wait until the appointment I made in September with a highly recommended holistic dentist who I haven't seen but apparently is great. Hoping she doesn't want to do anything crazy but most likely won't, as she apparently doesn't recommend many root canals. We'll see. But the throbbing pain I was having totally subsided and hasn't come back! It's still really sensitive to floss in that area but I've kept doing it, gently, and haven't had a flareup like that since. Which I absolutely believe is because it was my TMS and I figured it out, thanks to you guys.

    Good point about TMJ. I've had it for 15 years and do grind in my sleep (although it's more of a clenching than a grinding) so it totally could make it worse...although my jaw pain hasn't been that bad lately, just a normal level of bothersome. It's still about 50% better than it was 6 months ago when I started reading Unlearn Your Pain so I'm thinking my brain just shifted that pain to my teeth for a while, trying to find a new way to freak me out. Nice try, Unconscious Brain! I'm onto you! Also, that is terrifying that dentist wanted to drill into your mouth just for fun:jawdrop::jawdrop::jawdrop: I cannot fathom that.
    Dorado likes this.
  14. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    I SO feel you. Do you wear a nightguard? That could at least prevent your teeth from getting ground down? I just use one of the grocery store-bought custom fit ones that you put in boiling water and mold in your mouth. Doesn't help with jaw pain but keeps my teeth from touching. I feel a lot of pain when I first wake up too, like I wake up and unclench my jaw and go "Ooowwwwwww..." That's the slowest thing to change with my TMS work so far, aside from sharp neck pains that are caused by everything, including lying down, which I guess I conditioned myself to feel pain from when I got a new pillow years ago that felt too puffy or something, and then I literally tried like 10 other pillows, trying to find one that didn't cause pain. Turns out it had nothing to do with the pillow and everything to do with my brain, lack of self esteem, feelings of not being supported and fear of being a failure. And putting a lot of pressure on myself, which it sounds like you're battling too. It's hard to make friends with and let go of that harsh, critical voice. :-/
  15. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    @KittenLePurr, a holistic dentist sounds amazing! I think that sounds like an excellent plan. It’s critical to trust the professionals you choose. I was just saying in another post that selecting providers I’m comfortable with has been a godsend in terms of managing any health-related anxiety I feel. If I’m not feeling the provider, I’m out.

    The fact that you’ve had a reduction in symptoms just from feeling more relaxed speaks volumes. I’m happy you’re already feeling better!
  16. Drew

    Drew Peer Supporter

    @Dorado any thoughts on my comment above buddy :)?
  17. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I sincerely apologize, @Drew! I did not mean to skip you; my intention was to come back with a thoughtful response for you.

    Grinding your teeth at night is a perfect example of how heightened emotions can impact your dental health. In this case, grinding causes true physical changes to the teeth. While this would need to be addressed with conventional dental care and preventive activities, it doesn’t mean the mind-body connection isn’t the cause. I fully agree with wearing a night guard.

    Symptoms such as allodynia and tingling are very personal to me and I know how excruciating they can be. You mention feeling lonely and stressed out, and you’ve gone quite a bit of time without intense symptoms in the past. Total TMS/mind-body connection! It seems you’re already aware of the causes of the sensations you've been experiencing. It’s also evident that your shifting symptoms are a result of continued fight-or-flight mode. I do recommend mental health management with a focus on daily emotions and patterns. If possible, a trusted therapist who can assist with some type of cognitive behavioral therapy or an equivalent is often incredibly helpful. Establishing positive thinking patterns truly does help us improve our emotional responses and calm our sympathetic nervous systems down. That’s really the key to everything I discuss!

    I always tell people to ask themselves the following: what makes you feel happy and relaxed? What are some small steps you can take to create a routine with a more balanced approach to internal and external pressures? What helps you with your self-esteem?

    Your tooth grinding dreams are nothing more than reflections of your emotional stress. But fear not, you have not done any damage that is going to destroy your career or life! That sounds like purely anxious thinking (I have been there way too many times to count in my life!). Plenty of people have had to start wearing night guards and find relaxation techniques that best promote healthier sleeping habits. You are not alone and I do not foresee this destroying your professional and personal goals! @KittenLePurr has also written a relatable post with wonderful insights - I would trust her, too!

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