Lately it’s been like torture since TMJ issues make it hard for me to open my mouth as wide as the dentist would like, let alone keep it open that wide for very long. My neck, jaw and back of head are very sore for 2-3 days afterwards.
Richard Faust Admin
December 20, 2017
Thanks for writing janamcd, but sorry to hear that you are having these difficulties. My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), has had RA most of her life and as a result has a smaller than average mouth and an inability to open wide for the dentist. In our experience it has helped to look for a dentist with some experience with such cases (do they understand the need for frequent breaks) and also has the smaller devices for x-rays (they can be particularly difficult). Kelly also pre-medicates to help deal with any pain, but you should check with your doctor about something like that.
Hopefully others can help with tips from their experiences. Wishing you the best and keep us posted on how you are doing. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)
December 22, 2017
I've recently been diagnosed with RA. However, I was surprised to learn RA could be the reason that I also have great trouble keeping my small mouth open for dental exams. The last few times my dentist has used a dental block to help keep my mouth open. A dental block is a rubber wedge that is placed between the upper and lower back teeth on one side of the mouth. Sure, it's still painful after having my mouth open for an hour, But the discomfort is minimized. I find it very helpful.