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Old 04-22-2005, 09:08 AM   #1
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CaKatie HB User
Just diagnosed with TMJ...

I am 26 yrs old was just diagnosed with TMJ Dysfunction yesterday. My ears have felt stuffy and messed up for over a yr now and until yesterday my ear doc thought it was my ears. He just realized yesterday that I have TMJ and now things are starting to look clearer. I have done research online and I have all these symptoms: ear pain/stuffiness, jaw & joint pain, headaches, back/shouler pain, even stuttering. A few years ago when I would chew, my jaw would pop so loud with every chew that it grossed out my husband. I had no idea that I had TMJ. Now that I have been diagnosed, I am scared but relieved at the same time. My doc wants me to go on a soft diet for 2 weeks and see if a break for my jaw would help. Then if it gets worse again after I start eating normal food again, I get to go to therapy. (Does anyone know if insurance usually covers therapy for TMJ? I have seen a lot on these message boards about ins not covering TMJ..) and if therapy doesn't work, we are on to surgery. Oh, and I probably am going to have to start wearing a splint at night cause he asked if I grind my teeth at night and when I asked my husband he said that I did horribly for the first couple of yrs we were married; maybe he just got used to it. So I probably do still grind at night. Now that the doc has pointed this all out to me, I have been paying attention to how my jaw feels and it hurts and I keep catching myself clenching my jaw and teeth when I get stressed during the day. Ok, I'll stop blabbing....anyone who can talk to me, feel free. Thanks...Katie


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Last edited by CaKatie; 04-23-2005 at 04:22 PM.

 
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:32 PM   #2
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luvtocamp HB Userluvtocamp HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Katie, I got diagnosed 3 months ago too. Mine is mostly muscular I guess. I had a ear ache and it was TMJ. They say it was mainly caused by my new denture bite being too high and for the 3 months I found I was clenching all the time with them. The whole right side of my face from ear down hurts. My neck muscles also are tight and sore. My ears ring and pop too.I just started PT 2 weeks ago and it has been slowly improving. I have been on a soft diet for 3 months also. I have MS so maybe thats why its taking longer to heal. PT is really working on my neck and is showing me exercises for my jaw. I really wished I would of started PT earlier. Even tho you are on a soft diet its important to get good nutrition. I am using a whey protien powder from Wallmart that is suppose to help with muscle repair, taking liquid glucosime daily along with a good multi-vitamin, calcium and mag 3 X daily and vit c. I'm not sure if these things are helping- but I figured they couldn't hurt. I grind my meat in a blender. Try to drink a lot a water. I got one on those Bed Buddy heating pads from Wallmart that you put in the micro and its good for moist heat ( I think it has corn in it). These are just the things I have been doing. Wearing a splint helps a lot of people. Other people on this board will probably have some other helpful hints for you. Sounds like you have a good doctor. Good luck to you.

Last edited by luvtocamp; 04-22-2005 at 03:34 PM.

 
Old 04-23-2005, 03:48 PM   #3
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GoodThings HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Hello,
Were you diagnosed by the ear doc? If so, i would go to a FJO to get a better examination. The FJO doc can tell you if it were brought by clenching or grinding at night or something else. Since you are new to tmj, you should carefully research this. Surgery is not the right path. Do some conservative treatments first. And be cautious of BAD DENTISTS. There are some really bad ones out there. When it's money, they'll do anything, and deny everything.

take care and good luck,
GT

 
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Old 04-23-2005, 04:19 PM   #4
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CaKatie HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

What is an FJO doc? Yes, I was diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat specialist. He said that he may need to refer me to a dental surgeon(I think thats what he said. There was a lot said in about a 10 min appt.) Thanks

 
Old 04-24-2005, 06:21 PM   #5
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Jeanne McB HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Katie,

I'm a 46 year old who has had TMjoint problems since I was 25. It took me five years, way too many dentists/bad splints and inappropriate medications before I found someone who knew what they were doing. My TMjoint problems originated with a kick to the head in a karate match when I was 20, and were signficantly worsened by two more accidents years apart (a car accident and then being hit in the jaw with a swinging door - sounds like a bad soap opera!).

You used an important word in your first posting..."research". It is important to educate yourself ASAP about the TMjoint. In your research you will see "TMJ" (temporo-mandibular joint) and "TMD" (Temporo-mandibular dysfunction) both used. Most experts are now using TMD as it more accurately describes a variety of symptoms and causes all originating from the TMJoints. To say "I have TMJ" as a way of describing a condition or injury is like saying "I have knee", as we all have two TMjoints, one on each side of the face. The TMjoints are the most complicated joints in the entire body. This is because they are the only joints that function on both sides of the body at the same time - double trouble! Your right and left sides are separate joints, but they are connected together because they are both located at opposite ends of the jaw bone. Also, this is the only joint in the body that moves by rotation (like your fingers) and by translation (in and out). Only the jaw joints can open, close, slide forward, slide backward, and move side to side. This is also the only joint in the body which is controlled by another part of the body - the teetch. The brain gives priority to the teeth over the joints and the muscles. So, if the teeth do not fit in harmony with the jaw joints and muscles, there will a constant strain in the jaw. TMD problems can be organized in two major groups: Outside the joint, resulting from muscle spasms, faulty tooth position, head posture, etc. or Inside the joint. This includes problems with ligaments, disks, bone, etc..

It is a good idea to try to find some good diagrams of the TMjoints, if you haven't already done so. It makes listening to doctors a lot easier. Here's a quick description: Think of the TMjoint as a kind of ball and socket joint. The socket is part of the skull and the "ball" is at each end of the lower jaw bone, called the condyle. Every time you open and close your mouth, the condyle head moves in and out of the socket. If you put your fingers slightly in front of your ears, you'll feel a "bump". Open and close you mouth with your fingers on this bump and you'll feel the condyle move. Between the bones of the TMjoint (the ball and socket) is a piece of cartilage which acts as a cushion and prevents bones from rubbing together. This is called the meniscus but you'll also hear it refered to as a disk. This is a small muscle attached to the front of the disk which pulls the disk forward as you open your mouth so that the disk will continue to ride on top of the condyle. There are elastic-like ligaments attached to the back of the disk which pull the disk back as you close your mouth, again keeping it riding on top of the condyle head. Injuries, muscle spasms and/or ligament damage allow the disk to fall off to the front,side, or back and then serious TMjoint problems on are on the way, as you have bone rubbing on bone. Often times there is quite a time gap between the injury and the appearance of symptoms, as the joint slowely deteriorates. The most common injury that damages the TMjoint is a car accident. Even people who experience "mild" whiplash in a car accident can go on to develop serious TMjoint problems.
The only way to tell is to find yourself a TMD specialiast and get a really good diagnostic workup. That being said, finding a competent TMD specialist is a challenge. Because there are no Board Certifications in TMD, any doctor/dentist can call themselves a TMD specialist. It is dentists who predominently treat TMD because the of teeth involvement. I would run, not walk, from any surgeon and look for a dentist that specializes in TMD. Others on this board may have different experiences, but any one I've ever seen have surgery has only gotten worse. At one point my doctor (since retired, unfortunately due to cancer) gave me the statistic of 75-80% of people who have surgery either stay the same or get worse. Because the joint is so small, any surgery is bound to cause scar tissue and therefore additional problems.

Any way, when you call around to dentists, ask what percentage of her/his practice is devoted to TMD and look for someone at the 70% or more level. Ask about what professional organizations/committees the doctor belongs to and any professional publications on TMD. Any professional doctor should not be opposed to giving you a copy of their curriculum vitae (a doctor's resume). Ideally, someone who was a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Dentistry and a Diplomate and Board Certified in Forensic Medicine would be a great find (no, you've been watching too many t.v. shows, as Forensic doesn't just mean examining the dead, but instead expertise in how injuries happen). Diplomate status in the American Academy of Pain Management would also be a good background (Professional Organizations start out with "Member" status, which basically means nothing more than having a degree and paying your member dues; then comes "Fellow" and then is "Diplomate" and the highest, I belive, is "Mastership". For the Fellow, Diplomate, and Mastership status, I believe there are additional educational requirements and possibly even publishing requirements, but I'm unclear exactly. I just know higher is better as a rule of thumb. There are many different theories about how to approach the treatment of TMD, even when it comes to splints (which for me, were a life saver). Some dentists make a day splint and a different night splint; some use just one splint 24 hours a day. Talk to as many people around your area as possible - you will be surprised at how many people know someone with TMD. Then go interview dentists. Good luck!

Jeanne

 
Old 04-24-2005, 06:57 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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CaKatie HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Thank you so much Jeanne for all the information. I have pretty much figured out that TMJ problems usually come from a trauma of some kind, but I can't seem to remember when it started. I know I have had problems for a long time because about 6 or 7 years ago, my jaw would pop really loud with every chew when I ate. It totally grossed my husband out and I thought it was kinda funny at the time. I was in a car accident about 10 yrs ago, maybe its from that. Do you think I might have done some serious damage to my TMJ in those first years? Finding a good doc around here might be a little bit of a problem. I live in Northern Ca in a very secluded town, on the coast. We are talking about 7 hrs from Sacramento and 9 or 10 hrs from Portland. I guess I will just start calling all the dentists around here. Is this something that I will have the rest of my life? I am just starting to see the scope of it all and I'm getting pretty depressed.

Last edited by CaKatie; 04-24-2005 at 06:59 PM.

 
Old 05-27-2005, 02:47 PM   #7
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maughan HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanne McB
Katie,

I'm a 46 year old who has had TMjoint problems since I was 25. It took me five years, way too many dentists/bad splints and inappropriate medications before I found someone who knew what they were doing. My TMjoint problems originated with a kick to the head in a karate match when I was 20, and were signficantly worsened by two more accidents years apart (a car accident and then being hit in the jaw with a swinging door - sounds like a bad soap opera!).

You used an important word in your first posting..."research". It is important to educate yourself ASAP about the TMjoint. In your research you will see "TMJ" (temporo-mandibular joint) and "TMD" (Temporo-mandibular dysfunction) both used. Most experts are now using TMD as it more accurately describes a variety of symptoms and causes all originating from the TMJoints. To say "I have TMJ" as a way of describing a condition or injury is like saying "I have knee", as we all have two TMjoints, one on each side of the face. The TMjoints are the most complicated joints in the entire body. This is because they are the only joints that function on both sides of the body at the same time - double trouble! Your right and left sides are separate joints, but they are connected together because they are both located at opposite ends of the jaw bone. Also, this is the only joint in the body that moves by rotation (like your fingers) and by translation (in and out). Only the jaw joints can open, close, slide forward, slide backward, and move side to side. This is also the only joint in the body which is controlled by another part of the body - the teetch. The brain gives priority to the teeth over the joints and the muscles. So, if the teeth do not fit in harmony with the jaw joints and muscles, there will a constant strain in the jaw. TMD problems can be organized in two major groups: Outside the joint, resulting from muscle spasms, faulty tooth position, head posture, etc. or Inside the joint. This includes problems with ligaments, disks, bone, etc..

It is a good idea to try to find some good diagrams of the TMjoints, if you haven't already done so. It makes listening to doctors a lot easier. Here's a quick description: Think of the TMjoint as a kind of ball and socket joint. The socket is part of the skull and the "ball" is at each end of the lower jaw bone, called the condyle. Every time you open and close your mouth, the condyle head moves in and out of the socket. If you put your fingers slightly in front of your ears, you'll feel a "bump". Open and close you mouth with your fingers on this bump and you'll feel the condyle move. Between the bones of the TMjoint (the ball and socket) is a piece of cartilage which acts as a cushion and prevents bones from rubbing together. This is called the meniscus but you'll also hear it refered to as a disk. This is a small muscle attached to the front of the disk which pulls the disk forward as you open your mouth so that the disk will continue to ride on top of the condyle. There are elastic-like ligaments attached to the back of the disk which pull the disk back as you close your mouth, again keeping it riding on top of the condyle head. Injuries, muscle spasms and/or ligament damage allow the disk to fall off to the front,side, or back and then serious TMjoint problems on are on the way, as you have bone rubbing on bone. Often times there is quite a time gap between the injury and the appearance of symptoms, as the joint slowely deteriorates. The most common injury that damages the TMjoint is a car accident. Even people who experience "mild" whiplash in a car accident can go on to develop serious TMjoint problems.
The only way to tell is to find yourself a TMD specialiast and get a really good diagnostic workup. That being said, finding a competent TMD specialist is a challenge. Because there are no Board Certifications in TMD, any doctor/dentist can call themselves a TMD specialist. It is dentists who predominently treat TMD because the of teeth involvement. I would run, not walk, from any surgeon and look for a dentist that specializes in TMD. Others on this board may have different experiences, but any one I've ever seen have surgery has only gotten worse. At one point my doctor (since retired, unfortunately due to cancer) gave me the statistic of 75-80% of people who have surgery either stay the same or get worse. Because the joint is so small, any surgery is bound to cause scar tissue and therefore additional problems.

Any way, when you call around to dentists, ask what percentage of her/his practice is devoted to TMD and look for someone at the 70% or more level. Ask about what professional organizations/committees the doctor belongs to and any professional publications on TMD. Any professional doctor should not be opposed to giving you a copy of their curriculum vitae (a doctor's resume). Ideally, someone who was a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Dentistry and a Diplomate and Board Certified in Forensic Medicine would be a great find (no, you've been watching too many t.v. shows, as Forensic doesn't just mean examining the dead, but instead expertise in how injuries happen). Diplomate status in the American Academy of Pain Management would also be a good background (Professional Organizations start out with "Member" status, which basically means nothing more than having a degree and paying your member dues; then comes "Fellow" and then is "Diplomate" and the highest, I belive, is "Mastership". For the Fellow, Diplomate, and Mastership status, I believe there are additional educational requirements and possibly even publishing requirements, but I'm unclear exactly. I just know higher is better as a rule of thumb. There are many different theories about how to approach the treatment of TMD, even when it comes to splints (which for me, were a life saver). Some dentists make a day splint and a different night splint; some use just one splint 24 hours a day. Talk to as many people around your area as possible - you will be surprised at how many people know someone with TMD. Then go interview dentists. Good luck!

Jeanne






HELLO
Could anyone suffering with a feeling of clogged stuffiness in ears explain why and what exactly causes it if there is no ear infection and no fluid in ear
why we get this horrible sensation, as i have seen 2 different ent specialists and gps who say my ear is all right now, i did have a ear infection 9 weeks ago and thats why im confused if the ear is ok. So now im trying to find out if it is TMJ does TMJ cause these problems years ago i used to wear a splint but never had problems with my ear could someone please reply if you have had same or similar symptoms as i am going round in circles
oh' the ent specialist did say that the clicking could be the eustchian tube getting back to normal. speak to u soon.

 
Old 05-28-2005, 02:56 PM   #8
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monacks HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

My dentist says I have it. I guess my mouth does not open very wide. Also, I have problems with sensitve teeth. Every filling I've had in the past year (3) are all very painfull when I chew on them. I actually only chew on one side of my mouth. I don't have any jaw pain. but I do have a hoarse voice all the time. I clench my teeth a lot during the day. Those are my only symptoms. Does this sound like TMJ? I've been doing some research on it, and it seems like most people have a lot worse.

My dentist fit me for some kind of mouth piece to wear at night. So what can you all tell me from your experiences. Anyone out there sound like me? I am a bit skeptical about my diagnosis, I guess.

 
Old 04-17-2008, 07:48 PM   #9
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Mich5 HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by monacks View Post
My dentist says I have it. I guess my mouth does not open very wide. Also, I have problems with sensitve teeth. Every filling I've had in the past year (3) are all very painfull when I chew on them. I actually only chew on one side of my mouth. I don't have any jaw pain. but I do have a hoarse voice all the time. I clench my teeth a lot during the day. Those are my only symptoms.
This post was from years ago but I keep trying to find some people with TMJ who have a hoarse voice like I do and it seems this poster does.

 
Old 04-21-2008, 08:07 PM   #10
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KLPEACH HB User
Re: Just diagnosed with TMJ...

Hello,
I live in Sacramento California and I went to a great doctor here. Dr. Norlander a Prostodontist of the Prostodonic Dental Group. He specializes in TMD and came highly recommended by Dr. McNeil the director of maxofacial at University of San Francisco.
My email is [removed] if you need more information.
Take care,
Kathy
Sacramento, California

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Last edited by Well-come; 04-21-2008 at 09:19 PM.

 
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