Hi - a couple months ago I posted an inquiry to this board about whether anyone had been advised to have their wisdom teeth removed as a TREATMENT for their TMJ. (at that time I was using a different login name, "anomie"). Some of you were curious so I thought I'd post a follow up.
I am 44 and have resisted getting my wisdom teeth out for years since the only problem they've ever had was some tooth decay. But the bite specialist who's treating me for TMJ advised I get the wisdom teeth removed. (Back story - I injured myself biting into a bagel in January, and have been wearing a MAGO splint 24/7 since August, my doctor is a "bioesthetic" dentist). He said that my wisdom teeth interfered with my mouth closure, and that the muscles have been keeping my bite in place at the expense of my jaw joint. In his words I was "an accident waiting to happen."
My concerns about removing the teeth were (a) they weren't bothering me; (b) I was afraid the surgery would make my TMJ worse, after hearing some of the horror stories; and (c) I wasn't sure I believed my doctor.
Well, I'm happy to report the surgery went off without a hitch - an easy extraction, virtually no pain or swelling, the only problem being the painkiller made me sick to my stomach. That was 3 days ago. My oral surgeon is great and was careful not to hurt my jaw when he did the surgery.
But most of all, my bite feels significantly better - so I guess my doctor was right that the wisdom teeth were obstructing it. This also makes me curious about things because my TMJ started back when I was 15 - around when my wisdom teeth probably first emerged.
It remains to be seen whether my jaw injury will ever get better - I've dislocated the disk pretty badly and the months in the splint have only led to minimal improvements in my mouth opening. My bite specialist thinks I may need further work done - I'm not sure if hes talking surgery or crowns or what. I still have my doubts about the treatment, and in about a month I'll have him write up a diagnosis and then try and get a second opinion. But I thought I'd share this experience with the people on this health board who were so generous with me back when I first posted my inquiry.
I had my wisdom teeth removed 9 days ago. I have noticed that I don't feel as much pressure in my ears and head like I use to. As I use my tongue to explore my emtpy sockets, I notice how far back they are in my mouth and positioned on the outer sides of my gums. Now I can see how my wisdom teeth might have been putting alot of strain on the joint and ligaments surrounding the TMJ area. My surgery went well too. No swelling and minimal pain.
I'm a hopeless clencher, due to stress mostly. I had lower wisdom teeth out some time ago and it seemed to help. I had mostly ear pain & pain under my chin from TMJ.
It seemed to help for a while, til I must have figured out how to put pressure on the other wisdom teeth even without any lower teeth to put pressure on.
Finally had the top ones removed too.
Well, that was in May of this year & things were fine til I re-taught myself to clench the remaining teeth & now my pain is in my temples & eyes. I seem to have refocused the areas that get irritated, so try to be aware that you may still clench & try to focus on NOT doing it. I just moved my pain from one area to another.
I don't have any pain in my ear or lower jaw area from TMJ now, it is all higher as I'm clenching different teeth now!!!
How is your jaw now? I am going through a similar experience. I had a root canal last year and that started my jaw problems. I have worn my mago for 5 months and don't see an end in sight. I can open my mouth wider than when I first started the procedure. Xrays indicate either osto or the problem with the bite has worn my jaw down. The dentist thinks I'll need to have my jaw broken on both sides. If I have to have them broken I'm wondering why I need the mago? I still have a lot of pain in my jaw. Can anyone tell me how long is "normal" to wear a Mago?
I know this is not what you probably want to hear but I tried the mago splint for 8 months and finally gave up after not getting much relief and switched to another dr after the dr treating me with the mago told me it could take a couple years (!!). The same dr also also suggested I have my jaw surgically brought forward and at my request sent me to other specialists for 2nd opinions and/or to confirm his recommendation for the surgery yet each came up with other recommendations and none of them thought the surgery was necessary. I am still not much better so I really do not know if that dr was correct both in terms of using the mago or suggesting surgery but you may want to start seeking other opinions.
I faced a similar situation in 1998. My oral surgeon recommended the wisdom teeth be removed to help the TMJ. And it did for about five years. But I started getting severe pain in my jaw about three years ago; it would stay for 2-3 weeks and then ease up. Last year, I found out I have oesteoarthritis and displaced discs. Arthrocentesis was performed, which caused my jaw to lock up. I now have a 30mm opening.
The removal of the wisdom teeth probably can buy you some time.
How are things now? What other treatments have you sought in the past couple of months. I have just now given up on the mago. That after 7 mos and the dentist telling me it could be another 6 months. That in addition to recommending me having surgery or pulling teeth. I've had my wisdom teeth removed so don't want permanent teeth that I need removed!!! My jaw is now in a horrible position and I'm hoping it will go back into a comfortable place where I can at least eat somewhat normally. My next step will be to seek other opinions but I'm really burned out on all this. Plus the Mago treatment wasn't a cheap one.
Having a wisdom tooth out is what I believe caused my TMJ problems. I just want to warn people that if the surgeon is too rough with your jaw or opens your mouth too far during the surgery you can end up with TMJ issues you never had before or it can make existing problems worse. My surgery resulted in bad bite and displaced discs although the hospital will not admit it is their fault. I recommend that you try every conservative option such as splints and nightguards before committing to a surgery that you can never turn back from. Once your wisdom teeth are gone they are gone forever. I wish every day that I had not had mine removed. It was the biggest mistake of my life.
MissHeadache - I'm sorry to hear that, it really sucks hey. Getting my wisdom teeth out DEFINITELY caused my TMJ, without a doubt. It also damaged my lingual nerve, and now I have tingling down the left side of my tongue which never goes away and can be quite painful. I was really glad to hear that the operation has been so helpful for some people on here, because it certainly wasn't for me either. Although they were getting infected a lot so I can't say for sure I regret getting them out, I just feel like everything is wrong with my mouth now. Anyway I am getting physio for the jaw problems and it does seem to be helping somewhat.... but I would still recommend people not to get their wisdom teeth out if they don't need to.