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My possible TMJ issues


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Old 04-13-2015, 11:28 AM   #1
Jordo
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My possible TMJ issues

Hey there everyone. I've read through many threads here, hoping for some feedback.

My life story:

So about 5 years ago I got a few root canals done at this dentist across the street from me. After the root canals and crowns were done, my bite was changed. The dentist tried to make adjustments and he claimed it "didn't make sense" that my bite was changed. But nothing worked. My front teeth now are too far apart and can't bite things.

Then a few years back, I started developing ear problems which led to an intense migraine that lasted for about 8 months. I had MRIs of my brain done, I saw multiple doctors, I was absolutely terrified I had some sort of brain tumor or something.

One ENT doctor I saw was positive it was TMJ. I had never heard of it, and he told me all about it. He just told me to "relax" and it would fix itself, "maybe."

Eventually the headaches went away, but my new dentist confirmed that my bite is TERRIBLE and will lead to problems in the future, most possibly TMJ. I have already started grinding my teeth hard at night (and during the day when I am zoning out) and I wear a night guard now.

The past month or so I have had a feeling of clogged ears, and I suspect its TMJ related. Same thing, I saw multiple doctors, no one knows what is up. It was accompanied by a bad cold so I do think it MAY just be a cold. But two different doctors saw nothing wrong in my ears.


Anyway -- long story not so long, I just don't know what to do. My bite is bad, that's a fact. But I absolutely can not afford treatment for it, which would be thousands upon thousands of dollars (I am already heavily in debt for other dental issues that have come up over the past 2 years.)

I don't want to sit around and wait for the TMJ to get worse. I haven't been tested for TMJ though, do you think that would be a good idea? I'm not sure how to go about doing that. My ENT tested me just by putting his fingers on my jaw and telling me to open and close my jaw, and yeah, it hurt a lot. He said that confirmed it.

So what can someone like me do? Try to get money to get the bite fixed? They said it would involve multiple surgeries and braces and I just...I have no money. I have been stressing out about this to the point of losing sleep. And yes, I know I have anxiety problems and that makes it worse. Working on that too...

One of the confusing things is the mixed messages from multiple doctors. I had two doctors tell me my symptoms don't sound like TMJ ("you'd have more pain") while others are positive my bite is causing it. My mom also had TMJ (it just got better) and seems to know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for any feedback, appreciate the help.

Last edited by Jordo; 04-13-2015 at 11:37 AM.

 
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:23 PM   #2
PattiN
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Sorry to hear about your pain and suffering. My son has TMJ issues and we are going to a new TMJ doctor in a couple of weeks who was referred to us by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area I will be happy to give you names of different surgeons, TMJ doctors and orthodontists we have seen. If you do need braces, maybe you can go the dental school in your area and hopefully get a substantial discount. I'm not sure how old you are, but if anyone suggests surgery, definitely get and 2nd and even 3rd opinion.

Patti

Patti

 
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:10 PM   #3
Jordo
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Thanks. More info:

This was actually a 2nd or 3rd opinion. Two different dentists now have said my bite is bad and one of them said surgery would be "too risky" while the other one said he'd be happy to refer me to a surgeon.

I am 32 and live in NYC.

 
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:40 PM   #4
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

If you don't mind my asking, what surgery is the one dentist suggesting? Also, have either of the doctors suggested muscle relaxers? What about being tested for sleep apnea? Besides the bad bite, do you have any facial asymmetry? My son's bottom teeth on the right side are slanting (causing slight asymmetry) and one surgeon suggested physical therapy for TMJ so he will be able to open his mouth enough to get the braces. All doctors have said my son should get braces. One surgeon suggested bilateral jaw joint replacement (still would have to get braces), which I have been told is the absolute late resort. Patti

 
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:46 PM   #5
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

last resort. You said you have a splint I think. My son has had one for several years. He was never told that it has to be adjusted periodically. Now he knows and is going to get the splint on both top and bottom teeth (we were recently told this by a new TMJ doc). It might help with the pain.

 
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Old 04-14-2015, 05:26 AM   #6
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Hi!i'll just ask coz im having discomfort on my left jaw for days and getting paranoid about bite problems and tmj and jaw misalignment? Are your lower teeth slightly behind your upper teeth? & when closed, they are not touching? Only my molars are touching. Is it normal?

 
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:32 AM   #7
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

I don't remember the surgeries the dentist suggested, but he named two of them in addition to braces.

I don't know what a splint is. Is that a bite guard? I bite down REALLY HARD when I am asleep and I don't know why. Is it just stress or only because my bite is off? I just have been incredibly worried about this because I don't see an end in sight, I only see it getting worse.

My front teeth are not touching at all, only my molars touch. The dentist told me this is very bad.

 
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Jordo, everything I've read recommends surgery as a very last option so research all options before you consider that route. It sounds to me as though you may be clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth in your sleep which is very common and when we're under stress or anxious clenching and grinding are worsened. Relaxation is important although it's hard to control what you do in your sleep. I'm battling myself and was fitted with a splint two weeks ago that was very spendy for me (I'm making payments) but it's slow going as far as improving my symptoms (ear pain, constant dizziness, jaw pain, ear pressure+). I tried a pharmacy bite guard which didn't help me but reviews I read said they do help some people. Muscle relaxers help some people a lot a well and that can be an inexpensive option. Good luck!

 
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:40 PM   #9
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Patti, just curious who you've seen in DFW? I'm under the care of a Dr. located in Richardson, TX who specializes in TMJ who I really like, but it's been very slow going. Although I think once you're having problems it appears there is no quick fix. Jo

Last edited by UKBird; 04-14-2015 at 04:09 PM. Reason: removed Dr name

 
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:50 PM   #10
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

I have heard about muscle relaxants, those have to be prescribed right? Would a dentist be the one to do that? Are there any side effects?

 
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:46 AM   #11
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Ouch..as in, its so bad??? sounds like i really need to pay a dentist a visit.. thanks by the way . Godbless you!

 
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:29 PM   #12
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordo View Post
I have heard about muscle relaxants, those have to be prescribed right? Would a dentist be the one to do that? Are there any side effects?
Jordo, my TMJ specialist started me out with gentle jaw exercises. You can find many online videos for TMJ exercises to help stretch the tired and upset jaw muscles. That may help you. A dentist or a doctor should be able to prescribe muscle relaxers. There are many different types of muscle relaxers and they affect people differently. I'm really really sensitive to pharmaceuticals but I seem to tolerate Skelaxin well. A lot of people find Skelaxin too weak for them though. I only take them at night and when I'm desperate during the day. Some TMJ specialists will prescribe anti-anxiety meds as well, but there's some anxiety meds that increase clenching so you'll want to research before you get a prescription if you decide to go that route. My bite is really "off" as well so I understand what you're going through. Relaxation is so very important because the more you tense the more you upset those muscles and it's hard to get them under control if they go into chronic spasm. Maybe look into breathing exercises or other forms of relaxation. I personally find yoga and soothing music helpful when I feel my pain increasing. What helps you relax? Try to work in things that help distract you and are calming for you. I'm no expert, just a fellow sufferer. I hope some of this is helpful for you. Jo

Last edited by Administrator; 04-15-2015 at 08:31 PM.

 
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

My jaw doesnt hurt anymore while i chew. But it does hurt when i yawn and i cant have big bites. Like for example biting into an apple. Been researching for exercises for my jaw but none of it seems to be helping me. Is there a chance this will improve? I miss eating apples without cutting them into pieces. Thanks

 
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Old 04-29-2015, 05:59 AM   #14
Jordo
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

UKBird - Just saw your post today.

I have had anxiety all my life, and haven't found many good ways to deal with it, except numbing myself in front of the television or something. I take Xanax if I'm having a really bad time, but that puts me right to sleep so I can only take it at night.

I have just been having nonstop anxiety because of the unfixable problem of my bite. I have no idea what will happen --

Will it keep getting worse?
Will that cause more TMJ problems, and those get worse and worse?
Will I be able to function at all?
Will I one day be forced to fix this and go into extreme debt because I can't afford it at all??

I have just been agonizing about these things 24/7. From the moment I wake up and take the mouth guard out of my mouth to the moment I go to sleep and put it back in. And it also seems lately I have been biting down harder and harder and harder.

I have no idea why my bite changed except that it happened after a root canal. It has just ruined my life. I am really terrified at the consequences of having a bad bite, and the fact that my dentist has basically said he doesn't think he can help me makes it worse.

 
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:44 AM   #15
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Re: My possible TMJ issues

Jordo,
So sorry you are going through all this. I suggest that perhaps it may not be the root canal but the crowns that may have started all of this. I am having the same issues.
You should bypass dentist and see if there is any TMJ specialist near you associated with a Unversity. Ask for a TMDJ MRI to rule out an disc issues that can be throwing off your bite. It should be covered by medical insurance.
Shockingly, I have found that many of dental profession have very little experience how to work with tmjd patients. I am told that not much is taught in dental schools and there are many different philosophies on how to treat, some agressive, some not.

 
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