How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life: Dental Work

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life: Dental Work

A day in the life of life of fibromyalgia is just as varied as anyone’s day without a chronic illness or chronic pain. The only difference in a day in the life of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or some other chronic painful invisible illness is that everything we do is done or experienced through the filter of chronic pain and all the other symptoms of the silent disease.

A trip to the dentist is a good example of how life is different between a regular person and one afflicted with a Central Nervous System disease. Few people in the general public enjoy going to the dentist with all those harsh, grating and shrill wining drills and other tools designed to instill fear in the most stout of heart. But for the fibromite, a trip to the dentist can be a whole other world of fear and pain.

One of the common aspects of fibromyalgia is that we are hyper sensitive to pain signals, especially new pain sensations or unusual pain sensations like those found at the dentist. Add to that the fact that we are also commonly hypersensitive to noise, bright lights and various chemical and other sensitivities. All of those things are present in a visit to the dentist.

For the first time in more than four years I went to the dentist for a check up. I know six months is recommended but, until now, dentist health or oral health was not high on my priority list. Well, in fact, going to the dentist has never been high on my priority list. But I went in for a check up, x-rays and a cleaning.

a_day_in_the_life_of_fibromyalgia_dental1I was blown away at both the dental hygienist and the dentist both were well experienced with and very accepting of fibromyalgia.

First, With my exam of my gums in relation to various gum diseases like gingivitis I scored low, meaning if I don’t start flossing twice daily and rinse my mouth with a gingivitis designed mouth wash, I could have trouble with my gums. Sometime between that exam and the cleaning of my teeth the hygienist used some tool that didn’t hurt me through touch but did hurt through the shrill whining sounds of the tool. It felt like, instead of a laser beam piercing my brain through the roof of my mouth, there was a noise ray piercing my brain through the roof of my mouth. It also felt like a heavy raging river was being forced out of a narrow hole in my ears. I could feel the sound in my skull bones, brain and ear canal.

I asked the dental hygienist if any other fibro patients ever complained about that procedure and those types of sensations. She said yes they did, in fact, it was a fairly common complaint.

Then the dentist came in and looked at my x-rays and said I have a cavity that needed to be filled. The hygienist told the dentist about a major food space I had. He said he could remove part of a filling and replace it with a new filling that went down the side of my tooth, making the space so tight that only dental floss could get down the side of my tooth. On the way out he told me to schedule the fillings about two weeks apart so I would have adequate recovery time for my fibromyalgia. It was cool that he knew the issues of a regular patient as opposed to a patient with fibromyalgia. That was a cool day at the dentist. But there is more to the story that includes other aspects of fibromyalgia like sensitivities.

To fight the potential gingivitis I need to floss twice a day. Brush twice a day. Pick my teeth with special picks after eating and lastly, I need to rinse out my mouth at least twice a day with a mouth wash designed to fight the bacterium that causes gum disease. Also for my dry mouth, I was told of a product to spray into my mouth that will keep the inside of my mouth moist.

So I went to Walmart and picked up some mouth wash and the mouth moisturizing spray and I bought a new flavor of toothpaste from the dentist. That evening I used all the new chemicals and the next morning. I started feeling some itching near my upper jaw and the outsides of my eyes and warm sensations on the inside of my checks and the skin over my cheeks.

It dawned on me fairly quickly that I might have a chemical sensitivity to one of more of those new products or change in the flavor of the high fluoride toothpaste. I am now in the process of narrowing down the new chemicals to see what is causing me trouble. I like the mouthwash because it cleans the surface’s in my mouth very well. So far my testing seems to be pointing to the mouthwash as the offender, but I need to test it a time or two to be sure.

That’s my experience with the dentist having fibromyalgia. What is your experience with the dentist? Have you had any sensitivities with oral hygiene products? Let me and everyone else know your experiences with the dentist and how they relate to your fibro and how fibro affects your trip to the dentist.

Troy Wagstaff ©

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Pain

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Pain

The way Fibromyalgia affects my daily life can be summed up with two words, freedom and reliability.

Having Fibromyalgia is like putting an innocent person in shackles and taking him to jail. Except you don’t take off the shackles. His freedom is taken away. He can barely move around in the small six by eight-foot jail cell.

My jail cell of Fibromyalgia is made from pain and flu-like feelings all over my body with stiffness and muscle spasms acting as the jail house bars. Both the physical and mental fatigue of chronic pain along with memory problems are my shackles.

My rigid medication schedule is the lock on the door and the key to unlocking the door is ephemeral at best. The key to my jail cell comes and goes with no notice and no regularity. Like a hunter hunting his prey, patience is the key. The key being in my hand, one moment and gone the next due to the conflicting nature of this illness.

I can wake up feeling great and within minutes or hours I can feel a paralyzing sense of fatigue with pain trying to push its way out from the core of my body that feels like a dull aching pain that shoots burning, piercing pain in my brain that wants to explode but cannot, all it can do is register pain. I have no motivation. I remain still and ache. With the violent intensity of the pain and a case of fibro fog I forget to take pain relieving medicine that would take the edge off. Often I feel good enough to go to the doctor and then as soon as I walk through the door, I get hit with an overwhelming desire to sit down. I have good days and bad days. I have good moments and bad moments in the same day. The cycle between feeling pain and feeling good runs in hyper speed.

Although pain is the one constant in this disease, it has so many variables. Fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions. It is a physical and emotional roller coaster of pain, agitation and emotion.


Fibromyalgia makes me and most patients hypersensitive to new pain as well as creating its own pain. Having the flu or a cold is fifty times worse for me or anyone with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia takes the pain signals and amplifies them so a routine sore knee can feel like the last stages of arthritis before a knee replacement.

Along with countless other Fibro patients, I have fibro fog which makes it hard to remember names I knew ten years ago. I can remember a word I want to use. I know the definition and I know how to use the word in a sentence, but I can’t remember the word. I can’t remember what my wife told me ten minutes ago. I forget what I was thinking about five seconds earlier. I can be in the middle of a thought and ten to fifteen seconds later I realize I am thinking about something else.

I have to plan my activities to conserve energy for a required trip to the doctor or to attend Church or a movie. Most activities I want to do only occur when careful planning and having a good day coincide. The rest of the day is spent recuperating from the activity.

Often I find myself coming home from a small errand or trip to the store only to find myself still recuperating four hours later.

Having the lack of freedom makes planning future events very difficult because one bad day can wreck my well-made plans. That’s where reliability comes into the picture. In spite of the well-made plans you cannot be reliable for those who are included in your plans. A flare up or waking up to a bad day can throw your well-made plans into the fire. With Fibromyalgia, the only constant is contradictions and inconsistencies.

Letting friends and family down is not only hard on them. It is also very hard on me. It is usually easier to seclude myself from others so I don’t have to let them down.

Since fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions and inconsistencies I never know what tomorrow will bring let alone what the next minute will bring. Because of this I can’t rely on my plans an hour from now or a week from now. You have to take life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. That’s how fibromyalgia affects me day by day. This is just a sample of how Fibromyalgia affects my daily life.

Troy Wagstaff ©

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