Is it possible that the orthodontic work could have been the trigger to set off my tmj?
I assume you went for the straight wired ortho work? the traditional ortho? If it is, traditional ortho actually causes "tmj." So if you didn't have "tmj" prior to the ortho, then yes, it caused your "tmj."
Last edited by GoodThings; 08-01-2005 at 02:59 PM.
I know that all the ortho work I had done in my teen years really messed up my jaw and my bite 20 years later. My teeth have moved around so much and i think if i had just left them alone and not gotten braces they would have naturually gone the way they were suppose to. All braces are is to make your teeth straight and maybe God didn't intend on us all having straight perfect looking teeth for a reason.
I am convinced my ortho 20 years ago caused my tmd as well. I never put 2 and 2 together until just a few weeks ago, after my current dentist (whom I switched to for reasons having nothing to do with tmd) insisted he work on my tmd because he couldn't do the dental work he needed to on a tooth due to my limited opening and open lock problems. Well, he took molds for a repositioning splint that very first visit and 2 days later I was on splint therapy. I was skeptical because I have had a night guard for 20 years and although it may have kept my teeth from destroying each other, it did nothing to improve my situation. I had always assumed this was something I was going to have to live with for the rest of my life (it may still be). He said he could see my problem right away, without any diagnostics, due to my bite and the way the past ortho positioned my teeth so vertically...my lower jaw looked too far back. Again, I was skeptical...I mean, I had had that bite for 20 years...it never occurred to me that it was messed up. Lo and behold, 2 weeks later, the most comfortable position for my jaw is indeed several mms forward and slightly down. My opening increased about 8 mms (a big deal to some of us), which it hasn't been able to do in years and years. So far the clicking and popping are gone, although it's hard to confirm that since my new bite doesn't allow me to bite all the way down on my back molars...which brings me to the ultimate irony: looks like my old braces caused me to need more braces. Of course this time for a longer time, and with debateable results. I will most likely need crownwork even after the braces are removed, and I'll be lucky if my currently beautiful virgin teeth aren't drilled away as well as having what I jokingly refer to as "buck teeth" and newly acquired gaps between my teeth to accomodate the new, preferred position of my jaw. I asked my dentist if I should be mad at my old orthodontist (hee hee), but he said I shouldn't because apparently that was the "style" of ortho then, based on what they knew of the tmjoint. Of course times have changed; witness the fact that surgery was usually the first thing recommended even 5-10 years ago (it was to me in 1993 and again in 1997, but I wimped out, thank goodness). Nowadays it's all about conservative therapy first, and surgery as a last resort and only in select cases...the way it should have always been.
I'm excited about how my particular tmd responded to phase I therapy, but now I'm bummed about the implications of it (drilling good teeth, saying goodbye to my pretty smile that I like so much, expenditures the insurance company seems to think is not worth covering, 2-3 years of looking like an adolescent again, no guaranteed results even after all of that)...it's enough to make me wonder what's worse. But lamenting aside, I'd rather take the chance with the possibility of having a jaw that works and doesn't cause me so much grief. I'm trying to focus on the positive. I know there are tmd sufferers out there who would give every single one of their "good teeth" or gladly have all that work done if it meant they might be rid of their jaw pain and problems.
It's great to hear that your current doctor is helping you with tmj. And it's also great to hear that your doctor is honest with you about your past ortho causing your "tmj." Most doctors don't even mention this. With that said, i'm happy for you and hope you get well with this doctor.
thank you so much for the kind words! I am praying that my jaw will become a somewhat fully functioning one in the next 5 years (it will never be great, as there is internal derangement/damage in there I know...just don't want it to get any worse, either), although sadly the day after I posted I began to notice some new snapping sounds in my right tmj (not even the problem one!). It's not as loud or annoying as the old popping and clicking in the left tmj, but it's there. And it happens every single time I eat, whereas the old popping and clicking would come and go. Man, I feel like I take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. It seems like as my left (problem) tmj gets stronger with the splint, the right one is now crying for help. Can't figure it out. Very frustrated.