Gransnet forums


Has anyone else had this

(30 Posts)
eagle Mon 18-Mar-24 12:45:35

I visited my GP recently because my dentist said my mouth didn't open properly - more to the point he said it slipped to the left as I opened it - and he felt I had a problem with the right hand side of my jaw - hence the visit to my GP as the dentist said he couldn't diagnose me. I got completely floored when my GP asked me why it mattered I couldn't open my mouth properly. Not quite sure how I should have answered the question.

BlueBelle Mon 18-Mar-24 12:47:28

Well not a very caring or attentive doctor I d ask for a second opinion
Does that happen if anyone’s had a mild stroke ?

greenlady102 Mon 18-Mar-24 12:49:02

What a RUDE doctor. It sounds more like a jaw joint problem and yes it definitely should be looked at.

MayBee70 Mon 18-Mar-24 12:50:51

Good grief. I had a similar problem years ago and ended up paying to see a consultant who gave me some exercises to do and told me to put Voltarol on my jawbone. It terrified me at the time as I was scared to eat or yawn, and, of course, the more you try not to yawn the more you have to. My dentist told me it was because I’d been chewing gum to stop smoking. Anything to do with that area is a bit if a grey area as doctors aren’t trained in anything to do with the mouth so your doctor was probably covering up the fact that he hadn’t got a clue. I’d ask to see another doctor ( and complain to the practice manager too).

Blossoming Mon 18-Mar-24 13:40:19

I have (temporal mandibular joint) dysfunction which is exacerbated by facial nerve damage following a brain injury. These nerves can go into spasm.

What this means is I get clicking and grinding noises when I move my jaw and horrible pain right up the side of my head. I also experience bruxism (grinding my teeth when asleep),

You probably don’t have all this, but you do have a TMJ problem and I can cause bone loss in your jaw.. Ask the unhelpful GP for a referral to orthodontics at your nearest NHS clinic. This can be treated, as a previous poster said exercises help a lot. A soft diet can help for times when it’s playing up. I also have a soft splint to wear at night to prevent the tooth grinding and hold my jaw in the correct position.

Blossoming Mon 18-Mar-24 13:41:21

It, not I!

Aveline Mon 18-Mar-24 17:03:10

My DD had Botox injection in her temporomandibular joint as she couldn't open her mouth fully. The Botox relaxed the muscle and all was well. A specialist dentist who'd trained in this procedure did it. The fact that there are training courses in it would imply that it's not that uncommon.

VioletSky Mon 18-Mar-24 17:06:20

No but I'm sorry your doctor was so dismissive, hope you find an answer

HelterSkelter1 Tue 19-Mar-24 05:49:49

I had a soft mouth guard made by the dentist to wear at night when I had TMJ 10 or so years ago. He said I must be grinding my teeth at night as he could see damage to the molars.

The mouth guard helped a great deal. I had to mash all my food and use a teaspoon to feed it into my mouth. It took several weeks to improve. I no longer crunch raw apples or carrots, never chew toffees or gum ....not that I did much gum or toffee chewing before. So it's grated carrots and stewed apples now and nothing hard or crunchy like toast or hard chocolate
The GP was of little help apart from printing a very good and helpful advice sheet. She recommended that I get help from my dentist.
Your GP sounds a bit daft OP. If only we could think of the right retort at the time. But once I have listened to the endlessly repeated threat on their answer phone to remove me from their practice should I be "rude" to their staff, I do bite my tongue. I wish I could remove some of their snappy staff from their practice when they are rude to me. But that's for another thread!!

ronib Tue 19-Mar-24 06:36:47

Do you live near London? Eastmans Dental Hospital might know what to do.

Grantanow Wed 20-Mar-24 12:05:53

Needs a second look.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 20-Mar-24 12:14:13


I visited my GP recently because my dentist said my mouth didn't open properly - more to the point he said it slipped to the left as I opened it - and he felt I had a problem with the right hand side of my jaw - hence the visit to my GP as the dentist said he couldn't diagnose me. I got completely floored when my GP asked me why it mattered I couldn't open my mouth properly. Not quite sure how I should have answered the question.

In your place, I would have requested the doctor to phone my dentist and ask him to explain what condition he felt this was and why it mattered!

I would also have pointed out that dental treatment can become difficult, as can both eating, drinking, cleaning one's teeth, talking and yawning if you are unable to open your mouth properly

And I would have asked him to be more considerate and polite when seeing patients!

bevisp1 Wed 20-Mar-24 12:25:52

I had a similar experience to you with a gp. I was running late as I’d been sat in waiting room for a while, I was bit anxious hence my visit to gp, plus worried I would be late to work. My dr took one look at me and said in quite a sarcastic manner ‘do you like being anxious, what are you all anxious for’, then he continued to say ‘what’s the point of being anxious it won’t get you anywhere’! I was floored that he could say such a thing, and it certainly wasn’t in a helpful or supportive manner. I was gobsmacked I couldn’t say anymore.
I do wish I had put in a complaint to the surgery, but instead I changed surgeries.
I feel for you, maybe you can put in a complaint or ask for a 2nd opinion with another dr? How would the dr feel if he was experiencing the same as you, would he put up with it? Good luck

VioletSky2059 Wed 20-Mar-24 12:26:50

The GP has asked IMO, asked a flippant question, that hardly warrants an answer, you wouldn’t have sought advice and presumably treatment if it didn’t matter and you acted on the sincere advice of another qualified health professional. As it’s clearly out of the GP’s scope of practice, I would suggest you ask for a referral to a maxillofacial surgeon, who does have the specialist knowledge to be able to best advise you. If the GP isn’t helpful, go back to the dentist and ask if a letter can be sent to the GP to request referral or if the dentist can refer you directly themselves.

Claennis Wed 20-Mar-24 12:41:02

Some good suggestions in this thread. I'll just add that I have a splint that holds things in place and stops clenching and grinding at night - it's great, and I wish I'd had it before the hairline cracks started appearing, which they tend to once you reach a certain age. You don't notice them of course, until a filling cracks or falls out - usually just as you're about to go into a meeting in another city! I now (having moved interstate) have a dentist, who as well as improving things by way of the splint, massages the muscles around the jaw and neck before he gets into a long procedure, which I have always found helpful.
If I had a jaw issue, I'd be off to see my very reputable osteopath, because unlike most doctors, this is an area they do study at great length.

janeainsworth Wed 20-Mar-24 13:04:40

It was a reasonable question for your GP to ask. If your temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction isn’t bothering you (ie, isn’t hurting) there’s no point at all in trying to treat it. Many people walk round all the time with dysfunctional TMJs and they’re not even aware of it.
If it was bothering you, your dentist should have addressed the problem either by treating it themselves, or referring you to someone more experienced in such things.

It’s not something I would expect a GP to deal with.
(Retired dentist here)

albertina Wed 20-Mar-24 13:05:07

The first thing I would do is change GP.

I too have had difficulty with my jaw closing properly. My GP sent me for x rays at the dental hospital and it was discovered that I have arthritis in my left jaw.

Next step was to go back to the dentist where I was helped to get a better bite. All the best.

Nannarose Wed 20-Mar-24 13:50:18

My own suggestion is to return to your dentist (it may be dealt with by a phone / email consultation) and I agree, up to a point, with @janeainsworth.
If it is not affecting or bothering you, then there may be no point in considering any investigation / treatment. However, the dentist may think it needed one of those things.
In that case, they should, as said, have treated / referred you BUT they may have felt a GP could deal with it better. If any health professional says 'see your GP' then ask for a letter. That is a more efficient use of everyone's time.

I would also say that in more recent times, various commissioning groups (I completely lose track) have different pathways within the NHS. Even before I retired in 2010, I was aware of inappropriate referrals being made - not because the professional concerned didn't understand the basic issue, but because they didn't understand the way the local system worked.
Even more reason to ask for a letter.

Hope you get it sorted.

hugshelp Wed 20-Mar-24 14:15:47

I'm wondering if this is a new protocol for GPs in general. I recently went to my GP because I have a double prolapse which is uncomfortable, makes sex too painful, and makes it difficult to pee. I was asked how/why it bothered me. It feels as though an assessment of how badly it affects your life is part of the referral decision making now.

Knittypamela Wed 20-Mar-24 14:17:12


ReadyMeals Wed 20-Mar-24 15:31:14

What your GP may have been trying to say, a bit clumsily, was that if you only knew your mouth wasn't opening properly after the dentist told you, it may be something that doesn't bother you and you don't need fixed. He wouldn't want to put you in for a load of tests and treatment that might have unwanted side effects if you are not experiencing a problem.

Maz1960 Wed 20-Mar-24 15:53:55

I had this problem. It can be significant for 2 reasons. One is because it is a sign of an issue/ potential disease process in the muscles and or nerves that operate the jaw which needs diagnosing and treatment and secondly because you need to open your mouth to eat, drink, communicate, yawn, sometimes to breathe but also to have treatments such as dentistry or anything requiring you to be intubated e.g. for anaesthesia. I would definitely ask your dentist to refer you to the local maxillofacial service. In the meantime they should provide a custom made mouthguard to prevent grinding or clenching at night if there is evidence of this. You should be given exercises to do. My dentist did both of those and then maxfax did an MRI and diagnosed the problem. Your GP response was frankly negligent and I would write or email to the practice manager about this.

HillyN Wed 20-Mar-24 17:00:32

I had a problem opening my mouth widely and clicking in the joint when I moved my jaw. The dentist gave me a useful exercise to strengthen the muscles that stop the jaw dislocating and that helped a lot.

4allweknow Wed 20-Mar-24 18:01:56

I've had TMJ problem since teenage tears. Awful clunking on attempting to widely open mouth. Was diagnised by dental surgeon who was also a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and who I worked with as a Registered Dental Surgery Assistant

4allweknow Wed 20-Mar-24 18:06:54

Oops, bit of a slip from first post. I also worked with a Consultant Orthodontist. No intervention was advised. I did exercise my jaw holding the joint in place when opening and closing. Definitely improved though it still crunches and cracks but I've grown so accustomed I hardly notice.