I was told by the ortho i saw that I had to address the issues with my teeth(cavities filled, pull some and have a bridge made or partial, etc.) BEFORE I could get fitted for a splint, is this normally the case?
jladams - In my opinion if you have a cavity you need to have it taken care of, if you have teeth that need to be pulled, same thing. I would strongly advise no partials or bridgework on the bottom until your bite has been adjusted and TMJ issues are taken care of.
Before I met my TMJ guy I had a partial made on the bottom and wore it. Needless to say it was fitted to a crooked, badly aligned jaw with a displaced deteriorated disc. They kept telling me "your bite is fine" to which I replied "my jaw is crooked". After a long time of complaining that the partial hurt my jaws they finally told me "you're right, your jaw is crooked and you have TMJ issues". This experience worsened my bite over time and I have a perfectly useless partial I'll never be able to use again and money out the window to pay for half of it.
Since my splint replaces my missing teeth on the bottom, doing the job of a partial, my teeth have not moved at all.
I just had a tooth pulled on the top but my TMJ guy told me we don't need to worry about a bridge for a number of months as the underlying bone needs to heal. It does not affect my bite at all. My TMJ guy is also my dentist which is a great thing!
In my case what is done on the top is not an issue - all work on the bottom affects what he does to my splint.
[This message has been edited by cathyk (edited 04-30-2003).]
I just don't have the money to have all the dental work done and to address my TMJ issues too. Although I know both of these are important, when I weigh these two I find it more important to have the TMJD problem fixed first since that is what is causing all my suffering. Especially since I had 5 root canals and 3 crowns done last year by a dentist who didn't know his butt from a hole in the ground and I ended up having to have 1 of the root canals re-done and all 3 crowns he put in my head fell out.(My current dentist says he basically put crowns over decayed teeth).
Now insurance won't pay to have these fixed a second time and it wouldn't matter anyway because now they are too far gone to save. Shortly after my crowns fell out and left me with gaps was when all my TMJ pain started.
jladams - oh boy.....do I know where you're coming from. I agree with you - I'd deal with TMJ first until other dental is necessary - that's what I did due to funds also.
When I first got the partial I had 2 missing teeth on the bottom - combined with a crooked jaw I was hitting the teeth on the opposite side that had been root canaled and crowned, causing pain. Over time I had those teeth removed so I was left with the back bottom 5 missing by the time I got to the TMJ guy. (Man I wish I would have known him 2 years earlier let me tell you.) My bottom splint covers the teeth and is filled in where the teeth are missing so it prevents the good teeth from moving - the splint goes all the way to the back on both side. I can chew food with no problems at all. Nothing really hard or chewy though to mess up TMJ.
Are your missing teeth on the bottom where you're getting the splint made?
Because of the poor dental care you received, keep an eye on any pain in teeth that may not have been properly treated in the past - I'm having issues with what was done improperly too and it's no fun. I'd deal with the dental stuff on an as-needed basis.
Oh, I know, I already have issues with the teeth (nubs, now) he screwed up. It's 4 teeth on the top and I have pain clear up into my nose at times. I have all my bottom teeth but this ortho was talking about making a splint that goes on my top teeth and it basically had a thick part that was supposed to lay right behind the two front teeth(which are missing)I guess so when my bottom 2 front teeth hit it, it would keep my back teeth from touching. He gave me a "one size fits all" splint and told me to wear it 24-7 but the thing moves all over my mouth and when I try to talk I just spit it right out.
My TMJ specialist told me yesterday that he recently had a patient that came to him for TMJ dysfunction problems. He found that the whole problem hinged on an infected molar. When that tooth was taken care of, the TMJ dysfunction resolved as well.