It's been ages since I've posted in here and I thought it was time I posted again.
I wanted to share about some things that have helped me over the years with my Tmj problems. I have had Tmj problems since around 1991 and in 1994 had surgery to remove my right condyle. The surgeon said that it was continuing to grow past the normal stage of development.
Although I have not yet been able to find anything that's given me consistent and stable relief, here are some things that have helped me 'get by' reasonably well :
- Repositioning splint- I used one (and still use it to a degree) which provided fairly consistent relief for a number of months. If it had not been for the limitations posed by my artificial joint, I believe this treatment would have pretty much been the answer for me. What I like about these type of splints is that this form of treatment is similar to putting a broken bone into a cast. You're putting the jaw into the correct position, which then allows it to heal
(Another splint I have used which has also helped me a reasonable amount has been a bionator..which works on a similar principle to a repositioning splint..and is often used at night)
- Neuromuscular splint- I had adjustments on this splint over the course of a year, then something happened which changed everything. This treatment was 'slower going' compared to the repositioning splint, because it required more frequent adjustments. However, when used together with a TENS machine (see below) I think this type of treatment can provide significant relief to many patients
- I purchased my TENS machine from a company which produces TENS machines specifically suited to treating Tmj conditions (ideal pulse frequency etc). This type of TENS machine essentially provides electronic relaxation to your muscles, which then makes the adjustments you receive from your dentist more effective...because the adjustment captures your jaw in a position where the muscles are more relaxed state.
Here are some homemade remedies that have helped me. Some of them have given me relief when none of my splints have been able to :
- I cut up the 'plastic paper' from the inside of cereal boxes and place this between my teeth. Sometimes it is placed on my teeth on both sides in flat strips, and sometimes folded into squares, and placed on only my back teeth.
- Kleenex splints
- Chewing gum splints (As I cannot chew gum my wife chews it for me :-) )
This is an idea I got from someone else on the internet. Because I work at home and type on the computer all day, I just keep the gum resting between my teeth on both sides. It has in the past few months, been one of the effective methods I've had to reduce jaw pain and discomfort.
- Bags of gel in baggies, sealed with elastics ( I call these gel splints)
As I've said, for me the challenge has been to find consistent relief and I believe that because of having had jaw surgery, this is more difficult for me to do. (The surgery has helped with the pain levels though)
What I find is that at any given time, my jaw seems to 'want' one the treatments listed above, more than the others. I think which treatment it wants at any time, depends on where my jaw wants to go (eg forward,left etc) in order to be in the proper position.
Please note : I find the area where I need to use the most caution. is in finding something to use during the night. Since during the night we have less ability to control the amount of clenching and grinding that we do, if you choose the wrong material to place between your teeth, this can cause trouble. For me using something like the gel splint at night, has been least likely to cause any aggravation of symptoms due to clenching on the material.
I hope that possibly some or a number of these treatments might prove helpful to those of you who are searching for relief for your Tmj condition. If you have any questions about how any of them work, please let me know.
What is the brand of TENS unit? I have an RS Medical that I just love, but I have to rent it. I hope to buy one eventually, but hadn't heard there is a specific brand for TMJ.
It's the myomonitor TENS unit (BNS-40 model). I've heard that this type of TENS unit has a pulse frequency which is most capable of relaxing the jaw muscles. It's the type of TENS machine often used at neuromuscular dentist offices.