Hi - I can't offer any advice, but can share with you my experience and opinion.
My opinion is that so little is known about this disorder, that is the cause, the treatment, how it can be made worse, how it can be made better, etc etc etc! Meanwhile insurance covers little if any of it and we all sit here and suffer from it - it causes pain, weightloss, inability to eat, speak, function normally - you name it!
I also think a lot of people are diagnosed with TMJ disorder - - and there are many degrees. Some are easily treated - some are not. Some cause permanent damage - others do not.
I was diagnosed with TMJ 2 years ago and received varying opinions - told i had it, told i did not, told i had it BAD, told i needed surgery, told i would never need surgery!
I had several different splints. I had a decent bite 2 years ago - I now have a horrendous open bite. I can't make my front teeth meet at all. Some say that my bite progressively got worse for no apparent reason! Some say that there is NO WAY a splint could shift my bite to this degree unless i wore it for months 24/7.
All I know is I stopped all splint therapy last Summer. I was in treatment with a dentist - he began with an upper repositioning splint that looked like a retainer - others have looked at that splint and cant quite understand WHAT it was suppose to do - after 3 months in that I moved to a lower stabilizing splint - but it hurt a molar that I had a crown on which has been root canaled due to a fracture. So I stopped wearing it until I could figure out what to do next.
I consulted with an ortho who wanted to start me in all KNEW splint therapy for over $20000 - well I had just spent that with someone else, so i said no way. That ortho's plan was to get me out of pain and then put braces on my teeth - he also wanted me to have the molar and all four wisdom teeth removed. My wisdom teeth are what I bite down on - they are fully erupted, and always have been for many years.
I waited a few months and my pain subsided - i was being given no treatment and the pain went away. I saw my dentist who enouraged me to correct my horrendous malocclusion - he said my jaw pain would return, and the health of my teeth was in jeopardy due to such a horrible bite.
So I consulted with a NEW ortho. He will treat me with braces to correct my bite. I had the one molar extracted - but NO wisdom teeth. I will say that I have incredible jaw pain this week from that one extraction. I have such dejavu from one year ago when i felt this pain often.
In a few weeks I will get braces and begin correcting my bite. It is believed that I will no longer clench and grind at night once I have a healthy bite - and I will wear retainers to keep my teeth in place once braces come off.
I will come back and post a follow up to my treatment so others can hear how I did. If it works, there might be hope for others. If it fails, maybe I can prevent others from going through this. BUT every case of TMJ is different and the causes are unknown - so what works for some might not for others and vice versa.
Best of luck to you - and to all who read this, and some for me too!