I have had clicking in my jaw for many years, which I did not know was TMJ until my jaw started to lock the last 5 months. I did have an MRI which only showed slight anterior forward movement. My jaw now locks every day, it takes at least 1-2 hours every morning to put it back in place, but during the day it is usually stabalized. I am going to dentist and I just received the occuslion appliance to be wore 24 hours a day. I've had it for only 3 days and so far it has made my jaw worse. Now it pops out and locks constantly, it has become a struggle to keep my jaw in place. Has anyone else had this problem, will it calm down after a while. I can't imagine this will get better.
Contact your TMD specialist ASAP. The first few days may feel much different than you're used to - as the jaw realigns itself. I actually had fluttering/muscle spasms as my joints/muscles in the jaw region as they began to relax and allow the jaw to move into a better position. But as the first week wore on, I felt better all over - neck/back/shoulder pain decreased significantly along with joint pain decreasing. However, if your pain is worsening, let your TMD doc know so that he can follow your progress. Your splint may not the be the right one for your needs.
is your jaw locking when you wear the appliance or when you take it out to eat (if you do) or when you remove it to brush your teeth? also when you say it "now it locks constantly" is the severity of the locking and unlocking less in intensity? or, do you have to do "more work" to unlock it? see if you can sort out with your dr. from the marks your teeth may be making on your splint where your jaw is moving (if it is). as katie g stated, you may need a different splint. the appliance should not be making your situation worse. keep us posted. good luck.
Katie G and Pwc,
thanks for replying to my situation. I can't open my mouth very wide or my lower jaw will shift to the right and displace. I then must realign my jaw, which as I said takes anywhere from 1 hr plus, and would pretty much stay in place unless I ate etc, I would be able during the day to put it back quickly, only mornings were a big problem. Since the appliance, it has changed. I carefully put the appliance in, holding my jaw so that it doesn't pop out. What happens to my jaw while the appliance is in, shifts out of place soon as I talk, when my jaw shifts out of place, it does not click, with the appliance in my mouth, I am unaware of this. So now when I remove the appliance my jaw is out, creating a daytime problem I never had before. The appliance is making my jaw lock when I wear it, the unlocking now has become more intense and more work during the day. When the dentist was adapting the appliance in my mouth, she was having a problem and thought she might not be able to give it to me because my jaw kept shifting and locking up. It wasn't until I had to hold my jaw in place then she could slide the appliance in and out to adapt. I think for my jaw this appliance is keeping my mouth open too wide, so when I make any movement to talk etc, it slips out faster and more often. I haven't called my dentist yet, my next appointment is another week away.
PS: My dentist told me I am the worst TMJ patient she ever had, so I am not sure if she has enough experience.
i can relate to the terminology you are using to describe your situation: being able to unlock QUICKLY, having to realize where the jaw is so you know if it is locked - you have to unlock it before it stays locked for too long creating a worse problem... you know by now that tmjd patients are very aware of the movements their jaw is making. if you feel that your appliance is keeping your mouth open too wide then you are probably zoning in on what may be off with the splint therapy. are you wearing a flat plane splint, an upper, a lower? taking a layer or two off the splint to see if that makes a difference should not be a problem as splints can be built up and filed down with the acrylic. another question: does your dentist practice fjo? if you feel your therapy is not progressing and your dentist cannot adapt to your changing jaw movements within the therapy then you may want to consider searching for a dentist who practices fjo. your body usually tells you what is wrong. the trouble is explaining it to a professional that may be able to help.
Thanks again for all your help. This developed so suddenly, it just caught me off guard. and I am still in the learning process. I have always been a teeth clencher and grinder, especially when sleeping, and never related the clicking problem, headaches etc to TMJ. Only after my jaw started to displace did my wife do research on the internet and found out about TMJ. I'm 55 years old and it is difficult to understand that my bite, after all these years can be off. It doesn't feel like it is misaligned, only when it displaces. I have a lower acrylic repositioning splint, (which I haven't been wearing the last few days). My dentist does practice fjo, if this doesn't work she wants to equilibrate my teeth, but as of now, I don't think I will let her do this, at least without a second opinion, because it can't be reversed. She did get her training from Dr. Piper, and has suggested that I go see him, but I live in New Jersey and want to try very conservative treatment at this time, hopefully its not too late. I've read some of the old posts and have seen you have had extensive surgery and therapy. Do you think it is possible at this time for me to get back to just the clicking stage again??
i was so glad to read your latest post. a few things i have learned (painfully - but learned nevertheless) is that the conservative approach is the right approach. if you are AWARE that you have been a clencher and a grinder then this is a habit that has to be eliminated. some people find they clench and grind into their splints after getting them, others find this habit is broken with the proper splint therapy wherein the jaw has come to find its resting position. however, if you are in a stressful work or home environment or you lift heavy objects and work out with heavy weights - you well know that the stress, whether physical or emotional, manifests itself in those powerful jaw, head and neck muscles. it seems as your tmjd problem may be from the trauma of grinding and clenching over a period of time. mine came about from a freak accident. my bite was perfect. my bite was thrown off after my jaw shifted from my surgery. your bite may have been thrown off from the trauma, shifting, popping, of your jaw joints. however, the subtle changes the grinding and clenching you were doing may have wound up throwing off your bite too. if you grind/clench in your sleep are you on some type of muscle relaxants or sleeping pills to get you to a deep REM sleep? you need this sleep. in my case, i know there was nothing wrong with my bite. you are really on the right path because you are acting on this sudden severity of problems right now. and, most importantly you are not allowing your dentist to make any changes to your occlusion. this is not reversible and what you want is conservative, reversible therapy. even i, who had surgery, will not allow anyone to touch my occlusion until 1) the damage from my surgery has healed and 2) my jaw has stabilized. then, and only then will i consider occlusal changes. if i thought an equilibriation on one or two teeth was warranted i may consider it. however, i may need braces. i also may lean towards braces as i want to maintain the integrity of my healthy teeth. vinnieb, i have to tell you, i have asked many tmjd sufferers, surgical patients and non-surgical patients, surgeons, and specialists if i can get back to my condition before surgery and we all believe there is a good chance. since my surgery, (and its been 7 months) i feel i have gotten to a point where i can compare my symptoms to some of the ones of tmjd patients who have been experiencing their problems as new to them. i have been on splint therapy for a year now. i believe it has been responsible for healing the damage from the surgery and stabilizing the joints. had i not rushed it and been so aggressive, i believe i could have avoided surgery. but i, like you was fearful. i was terrified. i think this magnified & intensified my pain. also, dr. piper is fine. but i also learned to keep any second or third opinions from a dr. who is recommended by the dr. you are seeing as one of the last dr.s you see. get an opinion from a dr. who has no connection to your dr. do your own research, gather opinions, scan these boards, and find your own dr.'s without being lead by other doctors. you know, one of the signs of successful splint therapy is to be able to get you back to where your joint just clicked and your pain is minimal and manageable. vinnieb, only a few months ago, i did not have any hope. i was really bad in every sense of the word. after pt for 7 months, 3 times a week, following the splint therapy, consulting with my specialists, finding out exactly what my surgeon did and how i can repair it, i really do believe i am slowly getting better. my biggest hurdle is fixing the damage from the surgery. i believe you are on the right path. most importantly, make no decisions out of fear. i'm sorry for the long reply but i have faith that you are making wise decisions. keep me posted please. p.s. i'm in new york.