Graham puts his coffee down on his desk. It’s going to be one of those days. Switching his computer on, he stares absently out the window and runs his tongue over his teeth.
They feel funny, a little jagged in places and he’s pretty sure they shouldn’t be.
And his jaw kind of hurts, and he didn’t sleep well. He grabs his coffee and sips staring out the window. Looks like rain, he thinks as he sits down and faces his computer.
More than his sore teeth, it’s his jaw that’s bothering him. It feels tight, almost bruised. He rubs his jaw with one hand as he drinks his coffee. His teeth have been bothering him for a while, the jaw problem’s only happened in the last few months: and it’s getting worse.
But Graham’s a busy guy and this upcoming deal is huge. He doesn’t really have time to get it checked out. Also, he has this irrational fear that the problem will result in time off work. And there’s that new kid who Graham swears is after his job.
Finding the right dentist
Last week a friend told Graham about this dentist he should go and see. But Graham took one look at his website and then at online reviews and that put Graham right off.
But his jaw was getting worse and his teeth felt like they were going to fall out. They didn’t look like they were going to fall out but the pain said otherwise.
So he drank his coffee and flicked through his emails. His emails were the same, people wanting stuff and people wanting more stuff. And it was stuff. None of it was important enough to be given a name or his time today.
A prosthodontist is a specialist cosmetic dentist
Throughout the day, Graham’s teeth were irritating him. He was an important businessman, he couldn’t afford this distraction. He was in a competitive industry. He needed to feel comfortable in his own skin. And that meant Graham could not be walking around rubbing his jaw and running his tongue over his teeth.
He needed a dentist who knew what they were talking about. Probably a specialist since his jaw was hurting too. Graham was also thinking about getting his teeth whitened before the big meeting in two weeks…although he felt that to be more a luxury at the moment.
On his lunch break, Graham booked his appointment and sat back feeling slightly better about life.
Sore jaw? Sore teeth? You might have TMD or grind your teeth at night
Graham’s initial consultation lasted an hour. During that time his dentist listened carefully and asked targeted questions.
By the end of the appointment, Graham learnt that his sore teeth and sore jaw were most likely a result of clenching while he slept. However, the jaw pain could also be caused by a jaw joint problem, known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
The only way to be sure was to take x-rays of Graham’s jaw and teeth
If it was a grinding issue Graham could wear a bite guard/splint at night to protect his teeth and train his jaw to stop grinding. Graham viewed it as a quick-fix option: even though technically the bite guard wouldn’t stop him grinding it would stop his teeth hurting; and possibly his jaw.
If it was TMD, then treatment would be determined by the results of the tests. It was explained to Graham that the best treatment for TMD would be determined by his lifestyle and severity of the condition.
Knowing his sore jaw and sore teeth could be treated gave Graham a sense of relief that he carried into work. He knew that next week he’d have the equipment to stop his teeth and jaw from giving him problems at work. Which meant he could spend more energy on closing the upcoming deal.