Glad to hear from you again! I do remember now that you had worn a anterior repositioning splint for your displaced disc. I want to ask you...if it turns out through a MRI test or other test on my joints that I have a displaced disc, and it's decided by my doctor that I could have a anterior repositioning splint for me, can I live on that only, and decide later on I don't want to go through the process of having the finish touch by orthodontic braces?
Do you know what I mean?
Would love to hear from you. Have a great evening.
The purpose of a splint is to remove bite interferences from favorite grinding spots and to relax the vicious grinding or clenching cycle, thereby allowing the joint to heal. A splint can reduce bruxism, improve occlusion or simply place the jaw into a comfortable position to eliminate pain.
Splint therapy balances the teeth, muscles and joints so they can work together in harmony - without strain or pain. A splint between the teeth changes the center of gravity of the head which affects tension on the neck and facial muscles. It keeps the teeth from meeting in order to break up triggers and signs of pain, muscle stiffness, ringing in the ears and dizziness.
Most TMJ dentists suggest wearing the splint until the jaw and muscles heal and are no longer painful. This can be 3 months or longer before determining the next course of treatment be it reconstructive work (crowns, onlays, inlays), orthodontics or just wearing a night splint. If the splint is needed to reposition the jaw of the displaced disc, a person usually needs to wear it for at least 6 months. So much depends on the injury and how well a person complies with instructions. Some people continue to wear the splint at night or only when their jaw joints flare up. When the tenderness or pain subsides, symptoms are under control.
Once the splint achieves healing and improved function, the teeth may not meet correctly and/or cause pain when eating without it in the mouth. In these cases, either a person will have to wear a splint for the rest of their life or teeth will have to be moved into the comfortable position permanently. If only slight tooth movement is necessary, the teeth can be selectively ground so they meet properly. If the occlusion is more serious, orthodontics or reconstruction may be needed. This more "permanent" form of treatment should never be done until after the TMJ symptoms are eliminated.
I don't think, in my case, wearing a splint for the rest of my life was ever an option. It just made more sense to me to have the orthodontic work done (which wasn't extensive) to eliminate the need for the splint. When you reach that point in your treatment, you and your TMJ dentist will have to decide what's best for you in your specific case.
Thanks for your input. You were saying that if the occlusion (in my case a overbite)is more serious, orthodontics may be needed, but this treatment should never be done until after the tmj symptoms are eliminated. My question is, how much eliminating of symptoms do we need to order to go to the next step of 'permanent'treatment? The reason why I am asking you this is... because when I first started wearing the huge splint the first three months, it was mostly the headaches that were eliminated, but everything else didn't change much. Except it took me about 2-3 years before the other symptoms started to let up, like jaw tension, some joint pain, etc. The limited jaw opening was pretty well the same, and still is, I only can get in less than 2 fingers width in. So, my symptoms is by no means eliminated. That's why I am looking into getting a MRI and maybe a tomogram done to find out what the heck is wrong with me. How much of your symptoms were eliminated before you got the braces?
Perhaps your first splint was "incorrect" for your specific problem and/or proper adjustments weren't made during the time you wore it? It seems to me that you wore it for quite a long time with no substantial improvement?
To answer your question, virtually all of my TMJ symptoms were relieved with my splint therapy (ear symptoms, dizziness, jaw pain, etc., etc.) and my opening was increased to as close to as "normal" as it was going to get. That's when it was decided the time was right to proceed with the orthodontic case finishing.
Thank you. I am getting abit more insight about my situation and what to do about it since you have given me some more information. I like to ask...I know you are not a doctor...but I understand from reading about the tmjd...that when a person has a limited jaw opening as in my case, that would mean there is a displaced dics in the joints...do you agree with this information? That's why I am thinking the reason I haven't got really good results with the splint for the past 11 years ( it has helped me reached a comfortable pain level where I could live with it without begin aware of my condition that much) is that it's not made specifically for my conditon. It could be I have a displaced disc. So, what do you think? What was the first splint you had...I remember you said somewhere that you had a FACT and a Bionator and something else. Can you tell me about that? Now, I have a overbite also, but I don't think it really matters...because I probably have a displaced disc anyway.
Talk to you later. Your information is always informative and helpful. You are great! Thanks.
PS. I want to add...since Nov. last year, I had a flareup or a setback from chewing gum for a few weeks at a time...my jaw joints are sorer now, more tension in the jaw, discomfort, more aware of my pain now than before.
[This message has been edited by sandra1 (edited 05-28-2003).]
You may/may not have a displaced disc - only proper testing will be able to determine that.
I did not have a "FACT and a Bionator" (you must be thinking of another board member). I don't know that my splint had a specific name - it was always referred to as an Anterior Repositioning Appliance.
An "overbite" is actually a Class II malocclusion - the lower jaw is too far back in relationship to the upper jaw. That's what I had.
I have displaced discs on both sides. At first I couldn't open my mouth more than a few millimeters (barely 1 finger). Then as the years went by, I found that I could open my mouth a little more (a little more than 2 fingers) by jutting my jaw to the side. When I do that there's a popping sound - the disc moving- and then i can open it. but immediately the disc moves again and the jaw locks again and again i have to muve the jaw to the side. I do this about every 5 seconds...sometimes people look at me funny because I try and I try to unlock it and sometimes it takes a while. The way the doctor knew my discs were displaced was by the MRI but also by physical examination. The doctor put his pinky in my ear and told me to open my mouth. the jaw moves funny when i do that and he said that means the disc is out of place. you can feel something jump in the joint right in front of the ear. from my experience, if the jaw is locked, then there is a problem with a disc. However, there are different degrees of displacement, There is one type where the disc moves out of place but it moves back when you open your mouth, and in the other type the dics is out of place but doesn't move back. i don't remember what the MRI said I had, but they can determine that in the MRI. I just got a new bite plate - tried one a few years ago that just made the pain worse. I'm kind of skeptical of what this biteplate can do since the disc is out of place. my whole joint is inflammed and throbbing and my face is very very swollen and asymetrical. But that's what the doctor said I shuold try. One oral surgeon wanted to try arthroscopic surgery and I was considering it, but when I came to him for a follow-up, he wasn't practicing anymore and I later found out he lost his license!
If the disc is out of place, how can you fix it with a biteplate? It's not going to bring the disc back into place and as long as it's out of place, there will be pain right? Because the bone is rubbing on bone without the cushion that the meniscus provides. Maybe it can help the chronic headaches, but I don't see how it will help reduce the inflammation?!?
Sandi, I think you should DEFINITELY get an MRI done. If your insurance covers it that is because they're really expensive (like $1200), but they are supposed to cover it. It can't hurt to know what is really going on there. But I still don't get how on earth a biteplate can "fix" a displaced disc.
Thanks for your input. I am planning on getting a MRI done for the joints...I will probably have to twist my dentist's arm to agree with me. I don't fully understand how a specific splint can help a displaced disc. But, it seems to me the splint will move it to a proper position temporarily and give the muscles and ligaments a much better chance of healing in the meantime. That's the best answer I can think of. What kind of splint did your dr. give you, Stacie, for your displaced disc? Can you describe the splint for me or give me a name or something? That part you told me about the dentist putting his pinky finger in the ear...my dentist did that to me everytime I went in for adjustment. I never asked him why and I never felt anything out of the ordinary when he did it. But, now that you mentioned it, I am going to ask him this time. I get inflammation in my joints also...that's another reason why I think I have a displaced disc besides the limited jaw opening I have.
The MRI is the test I need right now, to confirm if I have a displaced disc or not.
Let me know about your splint, and keep me updated on your progress with it. I have the dentist appoinment next Wed., so I will tell you how things went.
Thanks for everything, and have a good one tonight!