I started having a lot of issues with stiff necks and eye tension and sometimes feeling a bit off balance. This all started when i started working full time in IT sitting behind a pc all day and then on the couch after that... before that i was so healthy, fit and active. I worked in IT for about 6 years, hen after blaming all my problems on pc's recently went back to uni to change career. The past 6 years was pretty much a downward spiral in how i felt.
I looked into all sorts of things as to why i was feeling that way and one thing i always wondered about was TMJ. I recently went to an ENT guy and he did all the tests including ear and balance checks and and MRI. Everything came back fine which was great.
Now here is where things went bad! A couple of weeks before my ENT tests i went to my dentist for a checkup and while i was there i asked him about TMJ and whether it could be the reason for my issues... he had a look at my bite and said that it slides to the left a bit as the teeth contact... next thing i new he was telling me to sit back and that he would make a small change and that it wouldnt make anything worse... WRONG!! after he made a "minor occlusal adjustment" everything felt weird! felt like my jaw was all over the place almost as if beforehand my teeth were pulling themselves into a secure position and now they werent. He took some off the inside edge of my left top teeth which is where it was contacting and dragging to the left.
Since then i became obsessed with my bite and did a lot of clenching... i also did something i shouldnt have done and in frustration knocked my jaw from left to right resulting in a pop and crackling noise in my right jaw... it didnt hurt but started making crackly noises after that.
since then i have been to a dentist with special interest and knowledge on tmj... he said it doesnt look like much was taken off my teeth... he made me a splint which i have only just started wearing.
since all of this happened i have had pressure around my ears, at times feeling more off balance than before, tinnitus noticeable when there isnt much else noise, and just feel crappy cos of it all! my bite also seems to be touching on the left before the right now, which i dont understand cos that is the side he changed. and my ears crackle all the time which i can do on call... i thought i would also note that i have been told that i dont have any noticeable tmj clicking in my jaw.
im starting to think that maybe the issue was my neck and head alignment and that the dentist cut the string that was barely stopping all of these problems from getting to what they are now!
now im worried this is going to be a problem i have to live with forever and im only 27! keep regretting letting the dentist do what he did!!!!
any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
since wearing the splint and not clenching (as much) i have noticed my bite seems to be changing again... the splint only covers the top teeth and doesnt go all the way around (last 2 molars are exposed)... i have now been noticing that my back teeth seem a bit more prominent... maybe because i am not clenching and pushing them into the gum? im pretty sure my jaw is slightly crooked as my teeth centre lines are slightly off... i am now noticing that my front teeth are contacting more...
i went to an orthodontist and they said there isnt any major issues but i do have some minor crowding... more with the top teeth... they suggested braces to line things up and create a bit of space between the front top and bottom teeth... they said this may relieve some of the strain on the tmjoint...
i also had a ct scan of the tmj which came back okay but the left one was a bit closer to the ear... but after closer scrutiny it looks to me more like they are the same distance but the cavity that the right one fits into is smaller and hence it looks like the one on the left is closer because it has more room in front of it..
went back to a tmj specialist and he thinks all my problems are related to clenching and the the occlusal adjustment wouldnt have really made any difference... he is also concerned about the current splint i have as it doesnt cover all the teeth and could result in my bite changing further...
i am now trying to figure out whether to go down the track of a braces or to just get a new splint and continue with that? one thing i know for sure is that my teeth dont fit together perfectly like they used to anymore...
when i bring my teeth together lightly the front ones touch but not the back and i then need to pull my jaw back a bit to pull the back one together... this is why i am wondering if i do need braces so that my teeth can all come together at once without the front ones getting in the way...
as you can see i have spent a lot of time analysing this situation...
"im starting to think that maybe the issue was my neck and head alignment and that the dentist cut the string that was barely stopping all of these problems from getting to what they are now!"
I have been told something similar by my current tmj dentist who felt that those with precarious or intricately developed bites also have a highly defined and intricate neuromuscular component that is so ingrained and so programmed or wired that slight changes can disrupt the entire "balance" and the person's brain as well as their structure or anatomy simply can not handle it and needs what it had to function normally.
So what to do now - I agree with the one dentist that an NTI can change your bite more - by not letting the back teeth touch they may start to grow or erupt as the norm is for teeth to meet and if they don't meet they will shift or erupt until they do - which you may have already started to notice as you mention your back teeth seem more prominant. I so strongly disagree with the dentist who adjusted your bite saying the small adjustment did not further aggravate an existing problem or the other dentist that agreed with him regarding this. I am not sure however getting braces is the answer either - and am frustrated that so many dentists these days often suggest drastic and permanent changes to a bite and teeth before knowing if it will solve the problem or not. While clenching can cause tmj issues - it is the jaws way of forcing the bite to meet correctly - I doubt it is the root issue here - stopping the clenching is not going to get your bite balanced again.
I would suggest you "shop" for the right dentist - someone who is not so eager to change and recreate your entire bite and who willing to work on returning your bite back to its previous occlusion - the slight adjustment made by that dentist reduced the vertical height you had on that side which is why your lower jaw pulls toward the back instead of forward. It may take some digging and searching and several consults before you find the right dr.
You should also go see a cranial or upper cervical chiro or osteopath to have your c-spine evaluated - issues here with any misalignment can exacerbate jaw and bite issues. And now that your jaw is sliding further backwards your c-spine could be affected or intruded upon even more so.
I would also suggest you file a complaint with the dental society or board in your area - dentists really should not be doing occlusal adjustments without fully understanding the cause and affect relationship this can have with certain types of bites and without fully explaining the potential consequences their actions may cause to the patient. Denying their adjustment had anything to do with furthering your problem is just a classic refusal to accept responsibility for their actions. I would also contact a malpractice attorney regarding this - since you have not yet been treated by several diff dentists it should be pretty easy to prove the dentist who did the adjustment made matters worse and you may be entitled to compensation - which you are going to need b/c treating bite and tmj issues can get very expensive.
i really cant believe this has happened as i was just starting to get my posture and neck in better condition before the dentist did what he did... im sure that my clenching and constant checking of my bite worsened the situation but i just hope that what has been done has not created a permanent problem...
my bite doesnt actually slide to the back... its actually now sliding into my front teeth... but when i close my jaw relaxed the front teeth hit first and to get my back teeth to touch i need to pull my jaw back slightly... i have always needed to pull it back slightly but the difference is before the adjustment my teeth seemed to slide back into place without pressing against my front teeth... as far as i remember...
i have been looking around at different dentists and specialists etc... the only thing is that i live in a relatively small state and i get concerned about doctors getting offended or possibly effecting my doctor patient relationship with them... in the case that they find out... doctors tend to be a tight nit community... also when you tell them what has happened you then wonder if there response is slanted to protect their colleague...
You raise a valid concern - I too ran into that issue and had to seek treatment outside of my area or outside of a particular dental ward. At some point I started to refuse telling drs who I had seen and who did what hoping they would remain objective enough to focus just on my case and leave the politics and peer pressure of the dental community out of it. I did find some drs however did not succumb or belong to the "good old boys network" but unfortunately this required a lot of consults with various drs as it would become quite clear what side of the fence they were on during the first meeting.
The best way to not allow this to become a permanent problem is to not allow anything else that can not be undone or is permanent to be done to your teeth. Unfortunately with dentists - it is so much easier to try and fix one issue by changing or adjusting the bite further instead of trying to restore what was there in the first place - hence the inclination to do more and more bite adjustments which usually complicates matters more. Certain splints or orthotics can also permanently affect the bite despite what some drs say.
You could try experimenting yourself to see what helps and what does not by purchasing an OTC nightguard like Dent Tek or something similar - most are made of a plastic or acrylic that has to be soaked in hot water and placed on the upper or lower teeth - the process can be repeated over and over until you end up with something that alleviates your symptoms - but it would be easier then to bring this with you to a dentist to show him what helps and help him to better understand where the problem is and how to best correct it.
Last edited by Thelma-Louise; 09-16-2009 at 08:24 AM.
Hi--I think you are right on the money when it comes to your bite. SHAME on that dentist to start shaving and screwing around with your teeth. That is the biggest no no when it comes to TMJD it makes me furious. These dentists have no idea what harm this can do, and they all think that their way of doing things is the end all be all on the subject. My last dentist shaved some of my teeth before treating my tmjd as well, now 15yrs. later, I am in horrendous shape trying to fix the damage he did to me.
Thelma-Louise is right, you should think about reporting this guy and letting the dental boards know that he did stuff to you that should only be done in the case finishing part of your treatment, NOT the first thing. Never let any dentist change your bite right off the bat. You need to find an excellent tmjd doctor and bring all your x-rays, concerns, (write them down so you don't forget) research in your area, or in the surrounding states for tmjd doctors..and get some consults. If your bite is "off" now, you will get worse, and it will not go away without the proper help.
Also, in my opinion, I think the NTI and splints that don't make contact on all teeth should come with a disclosure or warning to patients when they are given . The dentist's that tell you you can't get an open bite from them are full of crap. Your teeth can shift in a matter of a week or 2. I know, this happened to me as well. Keep researching, and call ortho.'s and dentists' in your area and see who they refer their severe cases of tmjd too. See what names come up over and over, and maybe that can lead you in the right direction. Good Luck!!!! the sooner you get to a competent dentist, the faster you will heal. The hard part is finding the person.
Hang in there------J.
last night i decided to not wear my splint and this morning i woke up and my back teeth werent protruding! i guess it proves that i clench though as i must have pushed them back down in my sleep... but makes me think that i should not continue to wear that splint and look at getting a new one that covers the whole area...