Hi to all. Let me first say how greatful I am in finding this little forum. I have been suffering for years with TMD, and never thought anyone else had it; I have yet to talk face-to-face with another sufferer. Anyhow, it first began with a cracked molar: insurance wouldn't cover the crown, so I simply stopped chewing anything on the left side. This went on for about 2 years, when I finally was able to get the crown. Unfortuantely, the crown was not filed down enough, and gave me a bad occlusion. (meanwhile TMD was developing). My jaw would become displaced, and once it even locked, however, I was always able to "fix" my jaw and the pain would stop. 5 years and a root canal later, my TMJ is an absolute mess. It makes a horrible grating sound - like walking on gravel or something. I am in constant pain now, to include my neck, upper back, right ear, bloodshot eyes, and more. One thing that really bothers me, that I havn't seen is this: on either side of the jaw, there is a ball-hinge type bone that protrudes a little bit when opening. For me, only one side extends out, and that is the side that is good. The other side is the bad one, and there is no bone that I can feel when I open my jaw. DOes anyone here know what I'm refering to? I am no Dr. and hardly know the proper terms to use - so I hope you know what I mean. I've seen a TMD specialist once, but he seemed more like a psychiatrist and has since retired. I am trying to decide what to do next, because the pain and other side effects are just getting to be too extreme and I'm scared. I'm only 28 years old and feel about 82!
Isn't it amazing how dental work can cause all this? Mine started alot like yours. Had a root canal, had a crown, had a 2nd crown. The crowns never felt right. Always felt too high. I starting clenching on it at night time. My teeth shifted alot. Now I have alot of headaches (bite referred), weakness in my facial muscles, teeth are extremely sensitive. Alot of my symptoms get worse depending on the time of the month too. I also have started having neck pain lately. Oh, and let's not forget the ear noises too. Luckily these are not too bad. The headaches are the worst. So far it hasn't actually affected the joints and I am hoping it doesn't. I know what you mean about feeling 82 even though you are only 28. I am 34 and feel like I live in a 64 year old body.
I am not sure about that ball hinge you are talking about that does not protrude like the other one. Maybe someone else will know what that is and answer you.
I am lucky to have a found a good dentist that specializes in TMJD. I got his name on the American Academy for craniofacial pain website. They have a place there that you can search for members based on where you live. They even tell you the percentage of patients the dentist sees that are TMJD related. It would be a good place for you to go to try to find a good TMJD specialist.
Right now I am working with my specialist on a bottom nightguard (splint). I just got it last Monday and I am going tomorrow to have an adjustment done to it. It seems a bit high on the right side. Before this I wore a top splint that was made by my general dentist and built up on by an orthodontist I was seeing. The orthodontist had recommended braces to fix my bite and I was almost going to do it until he mentioned that I may need a surgery for it to work. (even though the oral surgeons that checked the joints said no way!) Surgery will never be an option for me unless I am in so much pain that I do not get out of bed for a month.
Anyway, hopefully you will find a good specialist to evaluate and treat your situation. You will find alot of information that is extremely helpful on this board too.
Take care, Shell
Yes, I can see that I can learn ALOT from reading the posts on this board. The bone I mentioned is the Condylar Processes (head of mandible)-I think. When you press semi-firmly where between the top of your jaw and the ear; just under cheek bones, you should be able to feel a little bone protrude. Well, anyways..I am lopsided or the bone just fell off somewhere - maybe that is what is crunching around in my jaw! Did your upper splint relieve any pain for you? I have not faithfully worn the thing, but ever since the root canal appts I have because I was in so much pain. I am thinking of using a chiro, but just worry it could mess me up more. There are no TMJD specialists near my home - I am in the Air Force and live in po-dunk Mississippi. Like some other people who post here, I can no longer laugh and smile without pain; and that disturbs me. Do you take any medication for pain or inflammation on an everyday basis? Thanks for listening.
Just wanted to answer the questions you asked me while I was on here.
First about the upper splint: Well, it worked at first for me but as time went on I was constantly clenching on it and it made my headaches alot worse.(it was a very hard plastic splint) I just got my lower splint a week ago Monday and I really like it. It is made out of a softer, more flexible plastic. I went today to have an adjustment made to it and I am hoping that it helps me. It does seem strange not wearing the top one at night though. But the bottom one is definitely more comfortable.
As for medication I pretty much stick to tylenol, advil or ascriptin for headaches/pain. My stomach can't handle anything stronger. But I had been taking all of them for so long (at least 1x a day) that they stopped working for me. (guess i built up a tolerance)
My new specialist gave me a prescription for flexeril (the muscle relaxer) to take 3 hours before bedtime. That was like a miracle for me. I took it for 2 months straight and felt wonderful. Now I am only supposed to take it when I really need it. This week I have needed it.
Hope that helps you some. Also hope that you can find a dentist somewhere in your area to help you. Keep me posted. Take care, Shell