Hi, I'm new to the health boards. I've posted this message under the regular dental board, but thought a number of you with TMJ problems may be able to help me.
I'm sorry for the length of this message but wanted to explain the situation and need help. I've been in dental h-ll for the last year and a half. In that time I've seen 15 dentists, none that have really been able to help me and some I think that have made the problem worse.
A year and a half ago, I went to a new dentist as my old one retired. Prior to that I'd never had any dental problems at all. I had two amalgam fillings replaced, one on either side bottom. The amalgam never gave
me a problem but I thought I'd try composite. I also don't usually get freezing, but one of the fillings was deep, so I got freezing on that side only. A few hours later, when the freezing came out, I found that my bite was completely off. My right front bottom tooth now hit very hard into the back of my top right front tooth. I went back to this dentist for an adjustment. Instead of fixing the problem, he suggested shaving a little off the back of the top tooth. I didn't know what else to do as it was very uncomfortable so I agree. It didn't help.
Anyway, after sleeping with my weird bite, by the third night my front teeth were throbbing. Obviously during the night when I couldn't control the teeth, the lower one was hitting with a lot of force against the upper.
I went to a second dentist, who said my muscles must have gone into spasm and just to give it time and
everything would relax. By this point, I had to put a piece of fabric between my teeth on one side during the day, so that my teeth didn't hit. I also had to sleep that way. My gums were now starting to hurt. I believe, looking back, that had this dentist referred me to an acupuncturist (or similar) to relax my face muscles, they would have relaxed into place and my bite could have been easily fixed. But I didn't know from any of this at the time and he just told me to keep on waiting. He made a mouthguard of hard acrylic for my lower teeth but I couldn't wear it because by this point my top teeth were already so sore from being hit by my one botton tooth.
The next dentist tried some adjustments and replaced one of the composite fillings with amalgam, because I
thought that might be part of the problem. I have all sorts of weird allergies, so I thought maybe I was having a weird reaction to the composite. He didn't want to replace the deep filling as it was so deep a root canal might be required. I was already having enough problems and didn't want that so we left it. He made me a mouthguard of softer material for the upper teeth. I wore it here and there but my teeth were already sore and throbbing and it made them more sore. What I've since found out, is that because this dentist didn't include my wisdom teeth in the mouthguard, it looks like they've shifted. Also I created my own device to put in my mouth so I could sleep without
my teeth hitting, and that too, could have caused some movement.
After this dentist, I went to an acupunturist. He with the pain I was experiencing and it also felt like all my muscles relaxed back into place. My bite didn't though.
Since that time, I've been from one dentist to another. Seems most don't want to deal with difficult cases. I also think a lot of dentists don't have a clue. Many times they just referred me on to the next specialist. I've seen 2 or 3 periodontists, an oral surgeon, an oral pathologist, a prosthetondist, etc. etc.
I've taken a leave from work because the pain and upset and stress of all this is just too much. It got hard to
concentrate on work when all I felt was pain (oh yes, several dentists had me on numerous medications, with no improvement - more like treating the pain without getting rid of the source). So I am now devoting my time full-time to resolving this problem. I'd started with a new dentist I thought might helped and she seemed optimistic at first, but I think she's now putting me off because she doesn't know what to do.
So, I've got several questions (and sorry for being so long winded - if you can believe it, I've left a lot out of my story):
1. I saw a prosthedontist and he seemed to be the only one who really had a clue about bite. He did moulds and at the time told me my wisdom teeth (lower) are high and that he'd have to grind them down 1/2 - 1-1/2 mm.
Depending how they handled that, if they got too sensitive, he'd need to cap them. Based on the moulds, it also looked like almost every other tooth in my mouth would need some little adjustment. When I asked if my two front teeth would still hit at the end of all this, he couldn't say for sure although he didn't think so. I should mention too that because my bite is off, eating makes my teeth hurt more, so for months I mostly eat soft and mushy food, with the odd chewy thing thrown in. Since my teeth have been adjusted several times since I saw the prosthedontist, I'd need to get new moulds made and he may have to recommend something different now.
- Do prosthedontists generally know what they're doing. Are they bite experts, or is there someone else who
specializes in bites? I was concerned about the approach to just cap the teeth, without trying to adjust them on the fillings first, but that's not his specialty.
2. I'd love to hear from anyone with similar problems, and what their experiences with prosthedontists has been. I'm concerned about going through that and then finding out afterwards that my bite is still terrible and now I've lost 2 teeth and the rest are all adjusted down.
3. I'm in Toronto. Has anyone gone to Dr. I. Barzilay? or know of his reputation? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
4. One of my current dentists suggestions was to create a metal contraption that sits inside the bottom teeth,
with a metal piece going over the top of each tooth were it meets the next (which is where the upper teeth bite down). I think the contraption is similar to a denture overlay (or something like that). This dentist has a patient who's bite is bad and she wears this thing all the time and can even it with it. It gives her a proper bite which her teeth no longer do. Has anyone tried anything like this? What kind of dentist would be an expert in doing this and knowing bite?
I apologize for going on and on, but I need help and this seems to be the only place I've come across where people have experienced some of the problems I have.
My TMJ started from a filling that was too high but it didn't show on the carbon thingy that they do to check to bite. I went/still going through hell with this stuff. I finally found a new DDS (female) who checked the bite with the carbon but took my word that it just wasn't right. We have been slowly grinding it down so now it's starting to feel better. Please hurry and find someone to help you with this before you do end up with TMJ problems. Mine went on for months so since my bite has been off for so long my disk is now out of place and I'm looking at suregery......best of luck, Jill
Thanks for your response. One of my teeth was high and when my most recent dentist filed it down, I was able to cut my pain medication in half. Even still, my whole bite is off. I've just made an appt with a prosthedontist I saw last year. He'd taken moulds and suggested numerous adjustments and grinding to my teeth. It seemed extreme at the time, but I can't go on like and I don't know what else to do. It seems my current dentist would sooner not deal with the problem, as she's been unable to fit me into her schedule for over 3 weeks when previously she was able to see me weekly to do small adjustments.
How do you know who to trust and who really knows what they're doing? Have you, or anyone else out there, had an experiences with prosthedontists?
Jill, I'm sorry your problem wasn't solved in time before you developed TMJ. I hope surgery resolves it. I'll keep a good thought for you,