I have had clicking and popping in my left jaw for about a year or more, at first it wasn't painful. I was in an auto accident 2 years ago and suffered from whiplash, but the pain in my jaw didn't come until much later. I have had re-occuring pain in my neck and lower back.
Around February or so of my jaw became painful, but only when I had to keep my mouth open at the dentist, or from sitting for a long period of time, or once and a while when I yawned. In April/ May the pain became much more frequent, caused headaches and a variety of other symptoms and this was around the time I decided I should get my wisdom teeth removed in hopes that it would help. I went to an oral surgeon to get my teeth removed, he preformed an MRI of my jaw, told me I had TMJ, but didn't seem overly concerned and directed me back to my dentist to get my mouth fitted for a splint.
Two weeks after my surgery, after I had taken all of my anti-biotics, my body seemed to have a reaction to the surgery: my neck, jaw, sholder, and even lower back felt inflammed. Is an infection a possibilty? Muscle relaxers have helped the pain but my body hasn't been the same since surgery.
About 5 days ago I stopped wearing my split. My jaw now seems out of alignment, and at times the right side of my jaw is a source of pain which it never was before. Should I see a dentist, an oral surgeon (obviously not the same doctor I saw before), or a TMJ specialist?
I'm moving to the Chicago area and have heard a lot about Dr. A Richard Goldman, but I before I make any appointments with anyone, what are my options other than surgery? I know there are many, but I'm really unsure of how to pick the right doctor who can address my issues. I'm not sure of what type of doctor, treatments, and tests to expect. I'm really apprehensive because I want to choose a good doctor, the right type of doctor, and I have no idea how much treatments will cost, and what are realistic expectations.
From what I understand, it seems like seeing a TMJ specialist would be the best thing to do. They'll perform a few tests which include a physical examination, MRI and whatever other tests they may feel are necessary.
Usually with TMJ problems, the option for surgery is generally used as a last resort. Generally they'll try to control/address the issue with phyiscal therapy, dietary changes as necessary, muscle relaxants, splints and injections of steroids to calm the inflammation down.
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