I've been lurking on this board for about a week or so and have learned a lot from all of you. I definitely see my own symptoms, frustrations, despair and hope in all of your posts. So let me say thanks for all your posts... discussion boards really are one of the best sources of information.
After 6 months of dizziness, ear pressure, tight / dullness on the left side of my head, tinnitus, eustachian tube dysfunction I've been diagnosed w/ TMD. It's been a long labyrinth of different doctors and tests to get here but I'm glad to have some certainty in the cause of my symptoms. Yesterday was my first visit to the neuromuscular dentist. Though I had almost no jaw pain, the x rays and bite examination revealed that my jaw is misaligned and that my left molar is taking the initial brunt of all my chewing and grinding at night. When the dentist had me move my jaw side to side, I could feel the tight areas of the left side of my head flexing. The dentist said that basically those muscles are full of lactic acid and metabolic waste products and are in constant state of being flexed. He also explained how a lot of the other symptoms I'm having can be caused by the irregular bite and jaw.
As far as treatment goes, he recommended the splint (~$4000), physical therapy, and after the bite and jaw is ok, some work on the damaged teeth (extending the cuspids and crowning some other teeth). He said that the splint should get me 60-70% better and the physical therapy would help get me the rest of the way. I hope to start on this regimen right away after I square things up w/ the insurance co.
So my question is.... I've seen mixed success of the splint from reading the boards here. I'm wondering if those that weren't successful eventually had success with the splint or if they could explain the reason for the lack of success (bad dentist, more than TMD) and those that had success could chime in if the success was long-lasting (did the symptoms come back).
Hello and welcome to the board. My opinion on splints is that if done right, everyone should see improvements. As for long-term success, from the literatures, splint treatment should be followed by a phase 2 which usually are one of the following: braces or crowns. Patients have been well for over 15 years. They do not relapse.
David, I have a neuromuscular splint that cost about $5,000, but physical therapy wasn't recommended. I've had it for about three months. I'd say my symptoms (which had me crying on the floor at times) have gotten about 40 percent better. Definitely worth the investment for me. At times though, I get discouraged, wishing that I didn't have persistent headaches. My dentist says for me it may take up to a year to keep adjusting the splint to the right spot.
I agree with GT that I think a good splint always helps if indeed you have TMD. I have had expensive, bad splints that did nothing more than give me a better surface to clench at night.
Hey I have a upper splint that I wear 24/7 and it helps me so much with the pain. I use to be in so much pain that I couldn't even enjoy life. [Removed] I am a patient there and my dentist knew how to do it right.
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I am now in phase 2 of the splint therapy but it took me nearly 3 years to take it off. I have been without one for the past 8 months and its a great relieve. I dont feel that I will get a relapse but in my case it was not as quick as I thought, or as I wanted. This phase 2 is also complicated but I can live with it. My only problem is that I sometimes get dizzy but the dentist tells me that it will go away as well so I am hopefull.
Even if i ever went back and had a relapse I would never consider invase therapy such as an operation so I think the splint is the way to go.
Thanks for the responses everyone - makes me even more hopeful and lets me know that it won't be an overnight process (just take it away now!!!! .
It's going to take a month to actually get my splint, but afterwards I'll be sure to update on my progress.
Sunflower - can you give me more info. about your upper splint? I'm not familiar with splints - only night guards. I'm going to have a new one made this week, because my TMJ pain is awful !!! Sometimes I can't tell if it's my teeth, or my jaw, or my head.
My upper splint goes all the way acress my teeth the back of them. A splint you wear 24/7 but when you eat and brush your teeth you take it out. My splint is a horse shoe splint is the kind I have. I am out of pain and can live my life again and be happy. Once I got my splint I didn't remember what it was like to not be in pain. I got use to it really quick.
At times my TMJ does flare up and hurt. Every now and then you will need your splint adjied.
Thank you all as well, for all of the info. I can totally relate to crying about this horrific feeling. I have jaw pain, ear fullness, dizziness, which then causes nausea and anxiety, clicking on the right side of my jaw when I wake up - oh it's just been horrible. This is the second week I have been off of work. I have seen an ENT and Allergist, but I really do think that the underlying problem is TMJD. I see my dentist today to be fitted for a splint, but I am glad you talked about the difference between a nightguard and a splint. I have been wearing the same nightguard for 7 years and after a recent root canal in January, that is where all of my problems began. I think the root canal caused a misalignment or something. Anyway, I like the idea of a splint 24/7 believe it or not, instead of just a niightguard. I hope, hope, hope this works so I can back to living a normal life. I have 4 children and it's really hard dealing with day to day stuff and being spinning and anxious. Arggggg
Thought I'd give an update on my splint.
Received my splint on 6/12/2007. I adjusted quickly to having it in my mouth, but I take it out when I eat (dentist said it's ok). First week - more muscle aches in the neck and upper back, a couple days where dizzy / ear / tension symptoms were less, but a couple of days where they were the same as usual.
Had my first adjustment on 6/19/2007. Had one good day where symptoms were less and then today where everything is the same previous to the splint.
I do feel my bite adjusting - when I bite down I can feel both masseters moving whereas before only my left muscle moved. I know it's only been a week and a half and I know that it's not a straight line to feeling better, but sometimes having the same old symptoms makes me lose my faith. But it remains to be seen. I'll update again in a few weeks. I should also mention that I'm doing Physical Therapy and the therapist I see has commented on how the muscles are loosening up post-splint. She said things are changing really fast. Then why don't I feel better is the question I'm asking?
Anyhow, any updates from other new splint newbies?
Please give the splints some time, a couple of months before you think they are working or not.
I got a NM orthotic at the end of February and I can still feels things moving and adjusting, and they so slowly improve that I hardly notice it until one day I'll go, Wow, my neck doesn't really hurt anymore, or, my right arm doesn't feel tight anymore.
It took time for things to get so out-of-whack, it will take time for your body to adjust and heal. Meanwhile, know that we're here cheering for you, and we understand how hard it can be to keep the faith.
A little over 2 weeks here too Dawg. Last week i went in for a check of my ortho and xrays to make sure my joints were in the proper posistion. It was really cool to see the before and afters of my joints - you could actually see the difference in the position of the condyle with more space and not jammed. The healing though will take time for the joint and the muscles. My left side was the worse of the two joints, and the right started in before i got my orthotic. Overall i seem to have a lot less pain in the right side now and i have fewer bouts with 'pressure'. Both sides however seem to get more sore as the day wears on - but i am beginning to see it going in the right direction. Id say my Left side still feels 'plugged' but ive been told that it all goes away slowly together with the tightness in muscles, aches etc.
I also started some biofeedback, and it is interesting because the woman doing my biofeedback was treated for TMJ by the same woman i am being treated by. I think this helps a lot mentally because she has been through the same thing - and has seen 100s of people for TMJ, and them get better.
Big thing id say is - live today, and dont worry about tomorrow and be patient with the treatment because its not a sprint its a marathon. (Although ive made myself start jogging again )
I don't want to sound ignorant - but what exactly is a splint? Is it the same idea as a night guard? I've been having terrible TMJ pain lately, and I do have an upper NTI guard, but because I didn't wear it enough, it's not fitting properly. I've been doing alot of research on night guards and will speak to my dentist next week. I also have what is called a "splint" in back of my 4 lower front teeth because they are mobile, but it's not a splint to help with TMJ problems.
I am in week 2 of wearing a lower repositioning splint. The sharp pain around my eye has been replaced by a general soreness in the jaw area. My bite feels even.I'm contacting nicely after years of being off balance.
I've had three adjustment sessions to date and dentist says he is pleased as the progression so far is predictable (he said if I had been off the disc this wouldn't be the case)
But its like I am walking on thin ice, I can't quite trust the changes.
But people who know me well have said my face looks less strained.