Due to the pandemic it has been 2 years since I have gone to the dentist. Not good. So I finally went. 9 cavities later. Sigh. Anyway, fibromyalgia can cause some dental and mouth issues.

Fibromyalgia and dental issues

TMJ/Bruxism

One of the most common comorbid issues we have with fibromyalgia is TMJ and Bruxism. I have pretty severe TMJ (which I am sure is awesome for my migraine disease). But we have to be aware of the TMJ because not only does it cause a lot of facial and jaw pain but it can make your teeth hurt due to the nerves involved… so, no, you don’t need that root canal when it is actually just stemming from jaw pain, but, yeah, maybe do something to help with the jaw pain. And I have Bruxism, where I clench my teeth pretty hard as I sleep but do not grind them. This is pretty common since I also have Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Leg Movement. (Those are all linked: Read:Restless Legs Syndrome: Teeth Clenching Connection and Treatment).

Anyway, clenching and grinding your teeth can damage them. TMJ can cause a whole lot of jaw pain. And headaches. And aggravate migraines if you have them. The main treatment is a mouth guard which is expressive. But my dentist said you can order the one’s off amazon and see if they work first.

See also: TMD and migraines

Gum pain and inflammation

There is some anecdotal evidence that we experience more bleeding gums, gum sensitivity that would make going to the dentist more painful for us. This does make sense given we have more sensitivity to pain overall and inflammation. I have had constant problems with gum sensitivity. I kept telling them it doesn’t Matter how many times I brush my teeth, they are Still sensitive.

Dry mouth

Even before I was put on medications I had dry mouth and was constantly thirsty as a result. And later when I was diagnosed and put on medications, well, that was compounded. Dry mouth is an issue because it can cause a lot of dental problems. It leads to enamel erosion, and the teeth are left vulnerable to tooth decay (definitely for me) and also root canal infections. Dry mouth actually causes a lot of problems that we just don’t think about.

There are a lot of dry mouth products that can help. This is the one my dentist particularly recommends. I can use them during the day but also, specifically, at night to ensure my mouth gets moisture all night long:

Medication

Not only does a lot of medication cause dry mouth, which as I said, causes a lot of issues- especially, if like me, you Had dry mouth already as a symptom. But some medications we are put on for fibromyalgia or our comorbid conditions such as steroids in long-term use can cause bone loss over time. (See: 3 medications that can cause bone loss). As a result I have Osteopenia bone loss and have to take Vitamin D and Calcium. Osteopenia can be a risk factor for tooth loss.

Either way,

For me, I realize I have to go to every dentist appointment my insurance will cover to monitor my teeth regularly at this point. I am fortunate I had exceptional teeth as a kid such that all these issues compounding now, causing a lot of cavities and such, are not as bad as they would be if I started off bad. But I really have to keep on top of them at this point.

I should also note since we have a lowered immune system we can be prone to certain infections. I take an asthma preventative and have had thrush 3 times from that and if I go on an antibiotic, which I had to recently (see previous post) I got thrush Again. It is really easy to get with a crappy immune system. So with my asthma med not only to I rinse my mouth really, really well but I then brush my teeth right after and then rinse my mouth Again in order to prevent that from happening. It is insanely annoying to get that.

The dentist

I know that for me going to the dentist is painful for my jaw, with the TMJ issues. And aggravating for my vertigo. So they know they have to split my appointments up a lot and give me ‘jaw’ breaks during it. So I have 4 appointments. One was a cleaning and 3 are for my cavities that I accumulated during the pandemic. So make sure you discuss your issues with your dentist. Including your medications because they will be aware of any dry mouth issues and treatments that could help you.

Cost

I was just thinking I should add the fact that cost is a major factor here. Like a HUGE factor. The reason I can go to the dentist at all is because I remain on my work long term insurance and have my spousal insurance to cover the remainder.

I do have provincial disability insurance, but if that is All I had, I wouldn’t be able to cover the outstanding amount with my fixed income and budget of literally no extra expendable money. Saving up for basic dental work would be a real luxury. And when you consider all the health concerns that affect my teeth and the research on risk factors if your teeth are not taken care of this is an issue.

That is the whole point to my dentist pointing out buying a mouth guard for my TMJ elsewhere- because even with coverage it isn’t fully covered and I can’t afford it. But obviously having one would have an impact as it would help with my jaw pain and likely benefit my migraine disease as well. Literally anything other than the basics I can’t get done.

See more posts

The Ehlers-Danlos syndrome awareness
Fibromyalgia: What is it?

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6 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and dental issues

  1. I’m terrified of the Dentist and probably shouldn’t be ignoring my two cavities but they’re not bothering me. I have EDS and probably TMJ and my jaw will sublux if I open it to the dentists liking and slightly less is still painful. So I’m just like no. I’m going to be shamed for my cavities and it’ll hurt so I avoid it. I also live in the UK and finding an NHS dentist is easier said than done and it’s still expensive if you need work on cavities. I know I shouldn’t be avoiding them though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I avoided it for some time myself because of the vertigo I have and the painful TMJ which makes going to the dentist really not fun at all. My cavities were not painful so, yeah, I felt like there was not powerful need to get it done considering the pain, and the risk factors right now of going to the dentist for me. Now that I am getting it done well it is days of jaw pain and migraines so that is loads of fun.

      It is majorly expensive to get dental work for sure (I’m Canadian)… I still have my work insurance and then my spouse’s work insurance, otherwise, that is one valid reason to delay as well because, man, that is insanely pricey. My disability insurance covers a little but not all and I wouldn’t be able to afford the remainder without my work insurance for sure. Literally not an expense I would be able to afford without full coverage. I was just talking about that with my mom who is on senior benefits, which like disability benefits cover Some/fraction of but definitely not All dental work… so it isn’t something anyone is going to do regularly at all on a fixed income. Even with our health concerns and the risk factors associated with dental issues, money is a massive issue on a limited budget.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the story of my life this past couple of years. Unfortunately NZ doesn’t provide free dental care and so I put off going to the dentist for too long. I was also taking lithium for another issue for 20 years. Lithium basically rots your teeth but I didn’t know that until I plucked up the courage to brave going to the dentist. I no longer take it (because of the dental issues) but my teeth are wrecked and I have just had to get two partial plates. As well as the issues you covered in this post I find my other fibro symptoms race into overdrive and so I flare when I have any work done. Thanks for the post. It’s good to know I’m not going crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have over time realized all the compounding issues that have basically done a real number on my teeth and gums. Now it is becoming a real effort to keep up with all the damage that is being done.

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  3. I don’t have dental issues myself and visit dentist regularly, but I heard stories how painful TMJ could be, and therefore dare not adjust my teeth. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I have TMJ because I am very hypermobile so just another joint that is double-jointed and therefore unstable. But, yeah, since I started getting restless leg I clench my jaw seriously in my sleep and that made the TMJ way worse. Runs in the family- my mom serious grinds her teeth too. lol

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