Jaw discomfort causes speech problems?
I had braces for about two years. When the braces were removed, I wore the retainers religiously for about a year and a half until I lost them - this is when all of the problems began. I did not get new retainers for well over a month and, during this intermittent period, my teeth and jaw felt "weird" and out of place. When I went to the orthodontist to get my new retainers, they took x-rays and told me that I should get my two lower (impacted) wisdom teeth removed because they were putting pressure on my bottom teeth and causing discomfort and slight movement. So, about a month later, I had two wisdom teeth removed. My orthodontist and oral surgeon informed me that my jaw discomfort should settle down after the wisdom teeth removal. However, nothing changed, and I continued to experience discomfort. Since then, I have been to a number of dentists and jaw specialists. One doctor thought that I might be grinding my teeth, so I got a night guard, but this also didn't solve anything.
So, I am still experiencing the following symptoms:
Jaw muscle tightness and soreness only after talking for a while - for me, speaking used to be natural, but now it is laborious and it is difficult to speak clearly - everything feels out of place when I talk and, after a while, I experience soreness, tightness, and sometimes a little bit of pain mostly in the jaw muscles. Sometimes, I experience discomfort in the joint. My jaw makes noise (faint grinding) when I open my mouth wide, but it is not painful.
My teeth appear to be perfect. When I bite down, however, my upper incisors and canines no longer touch my lower incisors and canines. My back molars touch first preventing my upper incisors/canines from touching my lower incisors/canines. The gap is unnoticeable to the common viewer, but it is there.
General tooth discomfort - my bottom teeth almost feel strained. For example, I often get the urge to push on my bottom teeth.
Increased spit accumulation - When I had braces, I understandably produced saliva as a lubricant. But, when I got the braces off, I stopped accumulating so much spit in my mouth. After losing my retainers, however, and going through all of this discomfort, I am almost producing as much saliva as when I had braces.
Long story short, no one seems to know what is wrong with me. I mean, I am not experiencing debilitating pain, but my jaw/teeth are uncomfortable and feel out of place making it difficult to speak clearly. My cheeks feel swollen and tight. I often get the urge to "chew" on the inside of my cheek.
In conclusion, my theory is that my bad bite and jaw displacement were all caused by tooth/jaw movement after I lost my retainers. Therefore, to reverse this movement and thus get rid of the discomfort, I believe that I should get braces again. I have said this to almost all of the doctors I have visited, and most of them have said that it is "too extreme." Well, what else am I supposed to do? I had no problems when I was wearing my retainers after I go my braces off, so if my teeth and jaw are moved back into this position, isn't it only logical that the discomfort will disappear?
I don't think the discomfort/pain is severe enough to constitute TMJ, but I am experiencing some similar symptoms and I thought somebody in this forum could help me. Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions?