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Question: My problem started 4 years ago when I had a root canal and eventually lost the tooth I had the root canel done in. Right after they filled the tooth out I could feel something wasn't right. My jaw hurt all the time and it felt like I had fluid trapped in my jaw. My family doctor told me that it was all in my head. I have seen so many different doctors since then and thus far no one has been able to help me. Most doctors I have seen through the years don't even belive me except one specialist (ENT). He said that the fluid is trapped in between my jaw bone and the muscle. He had prescribed me an antibiotic, but it didn't work. Two weeks later I saw him again, and he told me it will eventually drain out, but it never did. When I went to see him again the third time he referred me to U of M medical center. When I went to U of M Medical they told me that I have TMJ, but the specialist didn't know anything about the fluid. When it started I could only feel it on the right side of the jaw where the tooth had been extracted but now I feel it everywhere. I hope you have an answer to my problem. Since this problem started I've had many different physical problems that no one can explain. Jeannie

Answer: Dear Jeannie,

TMJ is a term used to describe any disorder of the jaw. Many TMJ-related symptoms are caused by the effects of physical and emotional stress on the structures around the joint. Common symptoms include:

- Headache
- Earache
- Jaw pain/tenderness
- Facial pain
- Chewing difficulty

Simple, gentle therapies are usually recommended first. If those don't work, mouth guards and more aggressive treatments may be considered. Surgery is generally considered a last resort.

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