Looking for some helpful folks to steer me in the right direction please
I have had TMJ symptoms since February. Before that, I only was a grinder but had no TMJ symptoms. Now I have the clicking, crackling, popping sounds, tightness and limited opening, along with soreness too. I also get sharp, stabbing pains in my face, head, and ears, which may be TMJ-related. I have horrible tinnitus and hyperacusis, and lots of tightness and pain in my scalp, head, and neck.
I am starting myofascial release therapy on Monday to help with the severe muscle spasm in my head and neck. Has anyone here had this therapy, and did it help?
Also, I'm seeing an orthodontist in two weeks for an eval. I am a bad grinder, and I think a lot of my symptoms come from clenching and grinding at night. During the daytime, I consciously am aware and I do not grind or clench. I do have a big overbite and lots of flexibility in my jaw. So, I think this orthodontist is going to fit me for a nighttime appliance for the grinding. My question about this is: Am I wasting time here? Should I just go for the repositional splint by a neuromuscular dentist or try this night thing first? I have read where many have said the appliance doesn't help really. Ughhh! I'm having bad symptoms right now (and I can't believe how quickly this thing has progressed), so I don't want to fool around with it.
I'm sure you will receive many different opinions to your post. However, although seeing an orthodontist first may give you info about how to correct your overbite, your actual problem may not be fully addressed. Bruxism (grinding/clenching) can definitely lead to the muscular tension that can trigger myofacial pain. Having both bruxism and a malocclusion can really do a deal on your jaw and surrounding muscles. It wouldn't be a waste of time to see an orthodontist but I would highly advise you see a TMJ specialist/dentist to a) order tomos and mri to see if there is any joint damage, b) fit you with a night-guard/NTI to prevent clenching/grinding at night (note: NTIs have been known to cause open bites), and c) figure out if you are a candidate for biofeedback therapy or any other sort of anti-grinding therapy. As for option c, I am no expert on these therapies as I have never done them myself. However I would look for other therapies beyond a nightguard as many still clench/grind through their nightguard; it doesn't prevent bruxism, it only protects to teeth to some extent.
Best of luck. Similar to your situation, I started experiencing symptoms Feb 7 of this year. Only mine started out with a phantom tooth pain (I have an 2mm anterior open bite and clenching issues)
looney - a NTI is a tiny splint that fits on the front 2 upper teeth. the premise behind it is that if you clench at nighttime, and hit the splint with your teeth, there's an innate reflex and the jaw will relax.
i've had more dentists tell me that the NTI is a waste of time than those that are for it.
however, the NTI is very inexpensive - mine was only $100 CDN. you could try it and see if it helps.
the downside is that [i believe] about 5% or so of patients develop an openbite like i did. sure i'd rather have an openbite and no pain, but it did not relieve my symptoms.. instead, i've got a pesky, ugly openbite and pain.
looney - as far as i know, it's permanent. right now, im in the midst of starting treatment with a neuromuscular dentist. once my treatment gets under way, i'll let you know if i suggest NM dentistry and their types of splints.
The prevailing opinion these days is that splint therapy simply does not work. And that, given time, most TMJD symptoms will dissipate on their own over the course of several months or even years, with or without treatment. Not such great news, I know. Having done everything from moist heat to manipulations to multiple surgeries, I'd recommend a very conservative treatment for a while--literally heat, cold, maybe some ultrasound and biofeedback to help with pain relief and hopefully stress relief that might help cut down on the nite grinding. After my many years of fighting this (and losing), it's what I wish I had done initially. Every splint I ever tried created more problems that they solved. So be careful. And seek more than one opinion.
I wish you all the best.