I saw the specialist consultant Dentist yesterday that I was referred to by my osteopath and was given my treatment plan, a 5 year treatment plan!
Firstly I'll need splint therapy to move my jaw, this could take 6-12 months, maybe longer. Once my jaw is in the correct position, I then have to have 2 wisdom teeth extracted and a brace fitted to position my teeth and correct the bite, I'm guessing I'll be wearing the brace for 2 or 3 years?. I may also need implants and any other treatments the dentist hasn't yet mentioned.
It's daunting, overwhelming and I'm really scared to be honest, running through my mind right now are 'oh crap!! the pain, the discomfort, the expense!!!' This is going to be a 5 year struggle, we're going to have to change plans that we'd made, holidays will go out the window because we won't be able to afford them, the husband will have to live on beans on toast, I'll still be on soup as usual! It means our week-ends will be taken up with visits down to London and up to Leicester to see the specialists who are treating me, time off work will be needed also to attend appointments, it's going to be a big change in both of our lives.
But positively thinking I'll have a straight face and a beautiful smile at the end of it all ;D
I have to keep hope and faith and remain positive as scary as it all seems otherwise give into it and it progresses even worse.
Just thought I'd blurb that out to share with anyone else who might be about to start treatment and is also nervous and if there's anyone out there reading this who can offer advice and hope that the treatment, although on going for a few years will be successful????
The treatment plan you were given is "Phase 2"? After you tried day/night splints, or less invasive treatments?
I have been warned because of the crowding of my teeth, that I may have to go through a more invasive, permanent treatment (arch and bite correction), but my TMJ dentist is trying a non-invasive, totally reversible approach with the splints first. If, and only if, it doesn't work, then he may suggest different orthodontic treatment.
If you are not totally (and I mean absolutely, 100%, no-doubt about it) comfortable with the treatment plan the dentist gave you, then look for a second opinion. Once you have such permanent changes made, there is no going back, so you need to be absolutely sure that the money and time you are investing is actually what is required. And is what you want.
There have some who have attributed their TMJ issues to the dental work they had in the past. Sometimes the beautiful smile is just not all it's cracked up to be.
That being said, if you decide to go through with the 5 year plan, I wish you all the best success!! There is nothing more exciting than knowing that at the end of the day you will feel so much better and not have to deal with TMJ problems again.
For me, the original complaint which caused me to investigate: muscle spasms, pressure and pain through my face, jaw (from underneath from chin to just before the TM joint), neck, shoulder, and upper back - all left sided. There is one muscle under my chin sort of, sometimes when I yawn it spasms and clenches my jaw closed. Then it is sore for days afterward. Of course, I have had migraines and headaches since I was 14 (so 24 years). Really no joint popping, the odd time on the right. And I've noticed that I'm crooked (when I look in the mirror, my head seems tilted somehow). Some days are good, but the bad days...Oh Boy! The bad days can last for weeks, I mean 4-6 weeks being in almost constant pain, tired, off-balance, nothing helps but waiting it out. Almost like the whole thing is a cycle somehow.
Oddly enough, it is the right TMJ which is more displaced than the left.
I've have another appt with a different specialist in the fall, and wanted to rule out as much as I could before that appt, so he doesn't brush me off (can't tell I've had that experience too many times to count, eh?)
Andrea: Did your dentist give you the option of doing the treatment in stages? Financially, it might be easier if you could commit to phase 1, and then if needed go on to - and pay for - phase 2, instead of paying for the whole kit and kaboodle at once. Just a thought.
finding a second opinion will be an almost impossible task, if not impossible altogether because it's taken me years to find this current dentist along ith the osteopath who have helped me to understand my TMJD and how it affects the rest of my body, they are the only practitoners that I've seen who make sense to me in what they're saying about my condition. Previosuly I had been seen by a dental hospital but they wanted to dive straight in there with surgery and their treatment plan was 10 years! From what I've read surgery isn't always the answer and can make it worse and more painful.
I feel that I am one of the lcuky few where pain is concerned because I don't experience pain just sheer discomfort. To look at me you would see that I am very asymmetrical (one of the most prominent according to the dentists) and the symptoms I experience are endless, I suffer with headaches, shoulder aches, tinnitus and vertigo, my left side jaw clocks on yawning and chewing, I have limited mouth opening, wihich restricts my diet as far as what I am able to eat, I find swallowing difficult, I can feel every tiny piece of food going down, I suffer in the rest of my body with hip clicks and discomfort, and some pain, also in the feet.
I feel scared because I have no pain but the discomfort and the thought of what could be if I don't treat it now is enough to make me want to get help now. But I am worried that once treatment has begun, if I don't like it, it will be too bad because there will be no going back.
Thanks for your replies, it's nice to hear fromothers who have undergone the same or similar. It seems that in Canada and the USA your Dentists are advanced with dagnosing and treating TMJD, I sometimes wish I lived over there!
I'm so relieved that you have the best working for you!
Not all dentists here in Canada are so advanced! My (former) family dentist wanted to give me a night guard - not at all like what I just got - and he was a real jerk about it. Didn't even do an exam, just decided in his head that I need the guard. When I went to my specialist, he did all the xrays, exams, etc. and could show me in black and white what the problem was. He was pretty upset about the family dentist - even said that he should know better since they are in the same lecture group together. Thank goodness I didn't spend the $500 on the first night guard! The fellow I'm seeing now has patients from all over the province - some drive as far as 3-4 hours each way to see him.
I will be sure to keep this forum updated, if only to help others. It seems like it's a complex disorder and it takes time and patience in finding a sound practitioner who is 100% confident they know what they're dealing with and believe they can help. I have to travel to London and up North also to make my appointments, it takes time due to the amount of traffic on the roads but it's the only way I'll get the treatment I need so it's wort it.
I'm glad that you too have a good dentist who is helping.
*UPDATE* This week I went back to the NHS dental hospital to see the Dr who's name always appears on every appointment letter but who I never actually get to see, instead it's somebody different each time and each time they have a different opinion of what your jaw condition is. So anyway this time I was promised to see the Dr named on my appointment letter, and I did!! Despite not admiring his bedside manner much, I did actually feel like he listened to me and gave me the time of day unlike every other NHS dentist who have always been quick to judge and speak over me with their dentistry jargon. He threw a number of ideas my way, ideas that again differ to those of the osteopath and private dentist, apparently my jaw dysfunction could be because the left side didn't grow at the same rate as my right side, the left side is shorter and puts strain on my jaw joint(s). This Dr seems certain that I would not be referred for any orthodontic work such as braces without first having jaw surgery, he believes work to my teeth wouldn't be successful without first having jaw surgery.
He is sending me for an MRI to hopefully get a much clearer picture of what exactly is going on with my jaw joints and to see if the discs are in place and then I'll make an appointment to see him again to hear what his plan of attack would be. I'm prepared to hear him out and give it some thought but I really, desperately want to avoid jaw surgery.
Whilst there I had an impression taken of my top row of teeth for a mouth guard which I've heard about with much criticism but thought I'll give it a try anyway!
Oh and another thing, I am really afraid of having the MRI as I suffer extreme claustrophobia!!