For those of you who have had an MRI for your TMJ what was it like? I have read that they prop your mouth open and ask you not to swallow? How long did the scan take and is your head clamped into anything?
I'll feel claustraphobic enough as it is yet alone if I need my head clmaped still as well. I just need to be armed with info so that I know what to expect, that will help me prepare for one of my worst fears!!
I am not going to lie - it wasn't the most pleasant thing I have done as I too have a problem with enclosed places - I tend to get panicky. Luckily for me b/c of severe pain I hadn't been sleeping much - plus on the day of the test I took a muscle relaxer - so as noisy as that machine was I kept dosing off during it. LOL It seemd to take a long time - more than an hour - but I was told my dr asked for every imaginable picture they could take. They did have my head resting on some type of frame but it really was not very restrictive or uncomfortable. They took the pictures in sets or series and in between the sets or series would ask me through a speaker if I needed a break to move around (so they could talk to me and I could talk to them) - at one point they stopped taking pictures and told me they needed to bring me out to put something on my lower teeth and prop the jaw open a bit - but it wasn't anything bulky - at that point I could even open wider than what they were calling for. The hardest part was to lay still - for some reason I kept getting an itch on my nose or face - and if you move they have to stop and re-take the picture which just makes things take longer. I found it best not to open my eyes - I did once for a split second and realized how close the "ceiling" of the machine was to my face and almost lost it - luckily we had not yet started taking picture so I started doing deep breathing exercises and as a result dozed off until they started taking pictures. Like I said the machine was very noisy or loud but after a while the drone of it kind of lulled me to sleep. But if you are comfortable wearing a sleeping mask I would ask to use one so you don't open your eyes by accident. Also - although they asked me to put on a hospital gown I didn't have to strip naked unless some clothing had metal - so wear undergarments that have no metal clips or support wires, etc.
I have had 5 MRIs taken for various reasons, and I tend to be claustrophobic as well. One thing that I didn't realize until after my 4th MRI is that it (the MRI unit) is a tube. There are 2 (open) ends to the unit. Knowing that made me feel a heck of a lot better than when I thought that it only had one open end. The noises it makes are quite loud, but they should give you earplugs. I found that it was best to keep my eyes closed and to pretend I was somewhere else.
On the plus side, it is an absolutely safe and painless procedure. You'll be fine.