Ok, about 2 weeks ago the right side of my jaw randomly started hurting. The left side of my jaw is absolutely fine. I am not sure exactly when I noticed it, and as far as I know my jaw hasn't been subject to any trauma at all. I don't play sports or anything. My jaw hurts when I open it past a certain point, and chewing is also painful. Bearable, but painful. Enough to put me off eating my favorite foods.
Anyway, I would think nothing of it, chalk it up as one of those things that happens, and just wait for whatever it is to get better on its own but for something peculiar I noticed. When I clench my jaw, my back teeth no longer meet, only my front two teeth touch each other. Since birth I've always had what I guess is termed an overbite, but it has never affected my bite in any way other than that my front teeth overlap. I am 100% sure that when I closed my jaw in the past (i.e. prior to this month) my back teeth always used to meet, now, for some unknown reason, I can't make them meet. And this has coincided with this strange jaw pain. Could they be related in any way?
As long as my jaw is as closed as I can make it, it doesn't hurt, and there is no swelling or imflammation on the right side side of my face either visible or able to be felt. What could possibly be going on?
And if this continues in January then I will go and see a dentist/doctor (actually, which one should I go and see?), so please refrain from answering with 'go see a doctor/dentist'. All I'm asking for is possible causes, whether it's happened to anyone else, things I can do to narrow down the possibilities etc.
Let me get this straight...you just woke up one day and this started happening?
I'd say #2) highly affects #1)
I highly doubt that an overbite does not affect anything else, especially over your life span/the long term.
When the teeth wear down, which perhaps they have, something else happens inside the body.
I am not sure, exactly, what you are asking for (a referral to a specific dentist? And without expecting someone on this forum to say ..."go see a dentist/doctor?") Ok, then.
I do not know where you live, but there are plenty of good people out there who would gladly see you. Some of them are not listed on certain "search engines" of certain websites.
You'll have to find your match through interviewing practitioners and such. Or finding your match, here, or some other way. The person referring you most likely receives a referral fee, so be sure you find the right match for you. Nothing wrong with someone getting a percentage of the work for bringing a patient to them, as that happens in almost every profession. Make sure you have the appropriate match for you. If a practitioner brings a lot of business in, has great success, either they are in a wonderful, non-economically depressed location, or are simply good at what they do, or they may have a combination of both.
One dentist has a good .pdf file that you can sign up for -- via her website, which presents good questions you want to feel comfortable asking/interviewing your dentist before getting into the chair or even, the office. I wouldn't want to be the dentist answering them, as the list is pretty extensive, but it is a good list to review.
If a dentist gets defensive [I think some would], or starts sounding "creative," in their answers, I would gladly excuse myself after that visit, then find a second opinion/practitioner and keep going. I actually had one dental team tell me "But I have been practicing this for 10 years! "[holistic/postural/chiropractic dentistry]" when he recommended shaving of part of my zygomatic arch. I was yelled at in the office simply because I asked a lot of questions of this team. [English or not, it makes no difference]. And this was after that team's reckless endangerment of my health by refilling the teeth via a standing posture bite test, coupled with some kind of kinesiology, muscle-testing which was completely ineffective. Why not get out the universal pendulum at that point, throwing all caution to the wind, dowse it out and forget all about current our magnetic pole shift that we may be experiencing?
Practicing something for 10 years does not give a person an excuse for saying that is the best option for you.
An unassuming, confident practitioner, who is not practicing from the ego or the wallet, will likely say, "Your case is too difficult/or too unique for me, I would like you to see someone I know and who has more knowledge and has practiced (and with good results) on more patients with this aspect of your situation." Or, they could simply assess your situation and know that it will mot be a good match due to your lifestyle (which includes your ability to pay for the comprehensive treatment) and move you onward...
I doubt that dentist would say,
"I am nervous about seeing you, let me check with my malpractice insurance company so that I can triple my insurance before I accept you as a patient and begin working on you!"
Do not assume that a person merely having licensure as a dentist is your best bet for healing. Good results for lifelong health are important to you. When you walk into a random dentist's office, you run the risk of being less healthy when you leave that office, if you haven't understood what to ask, before making the original consultation appointment.
Be sure to have plenty of pocket money BEFORE you go, or you may be shocked to learn that you have to shell out the bucks, yourself, when you find out that the corporate health insurance and health companies have left you, your orthodontist, and your dentist in the dust.
No sense in getting angry or upset because you didn't save for a rainy day.
Most Americans live on credit, and if that is huge part of your belief system, then go put it on your credit card or take out a high (19%) interest loan at one of the banks to make this work possible for you.
I have had times when I simply refused to pay the dentist, DIRECTLY, after poor dental work done in the office. You always have that option.
Forget about malpractice, forget about the person at the front desk who collects the dentist's money so the dentist has the excuse of separating themselves from the money- collecting process. In that case, he or she does not have to worry about the repercussions of what they do to your body, nor do they have to be directly involved (with you) in that situation. This is a practice.
That is akin to asking a waitress have a representative (someone) collect a tip after the meal, regardless of the service you got at the table. Or having "waitress-malpractice insurance."
Except, ....this is your body, your mind your, spirit.
Look lower. That's right. Jaw pain/misaligned teeth can be caused by the muscles in the sides of the neck, the upper back, and the shoulders. See a chiropractor, if you can find one who specializes in TMJ problems and tight musculature. Alternatively, get Pete Egoscue's book "Pain Free" (cheap, used, on Amazon). He has an excellent section of exercises for TMJ that are very effective for jaw hinge problems.
Caveat regarding doctors and dentists: Although there are some good ones, there's a very good chance you could end up with worse problems than you started with. Surgery of any kind should be a last-ditch choice. Try gentle home remedies first, such as the Egoscue exercises, alternating hot and cold packs, and eating soft foods for as long as you need to. I've had good luck with IMT therapy (info available online). These are hand-on, conventionally-trained physical therapists who have gone into the modality known as Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT). IMT is very gentle and very effective for many issues.