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Old 10-31-2009, 08:03 PM   #1
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Papyrus4 HB User
I don't think I can do this

I'm almost 60 and have a bit of arthritis and fibromyalgia.

I have never had any jaw problems at all. Then, about 6 weeks ago, all of a sudden my right TMjoint began catching for about 10 days. Then it locked for about a week. I decided to go right to a local TMD specialist instead of my general dentist.
She has been dealing with TMD for about 23 years and I got a good referral to her from my Internist.

She said I had arthritis in my left joint and the right joint has been overworking, and the disc has slipped.

She had a repositional splint made for me, (lower teeth) and I began to wear it a week ago. Its been one of the hardest things I've ever had to endure. I just can't stand it. They told me that it takes a little while to accept it, but after a week of wearing it, its just getting worse.
Its turned my life upside down, it bothers me so much.
There's absolutely no way I can eat with it, since there's no flat surfaces on this splint at all, and only my inner cusps of my back teeth make any contact. I have mostly crowns and what teeth I have left are fragile. I'm afraid they're going to break if I pound them while trying to chew.

I have a dentist phobia and have alot of anxiety going to get my teeth fixed (even though I always force myself to go), and now I've found out that I might need alot of dental work when this is done.......making crowns larger or smaller.
It seems like every day my bite is different. My tongue just won't stop checking out all those sharp/rough spots on it.
Apparently, its alot thinner than some people's, so the wires that stabilize it also rub my tongue.

I wear a cpap mask every night, so I know what its like to get accustomed to something uncomfortable........but I honestly don't think I can do this.
I'm depressed and anxious all the time because of this big honking, sharp/rough thing in my mouth. The dentist said "Its only for 6 months". I have a rough time making it through each day!

One of the dental assistants said in the 11 years she's worked there, nobody quit the treatment. How is that possible? Surely I'm not the only one who is driven crazy by this huge thing in their mouth?

I think putting up with the pain when I chew would be easy now, compared to this.
Any insights/suggestions?
I am totally bummed.

 
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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Re: I don't think I can do this

i am sorry to hear about your problem. i can say that i feel for you. i have been in splints like that and they were intolerable. bumps and rough spots only aggravate the muscles and send you searching for a smoother, more comfortable place to rest. while doing this your muscles will tend to get fatigued and sore and you could end up with alot of muscle spasm. and only feeling like you are hitting on your back teeth isn't good. you should feel like you are hitting even all the way around and every tooth is taking its equal load. i have been going through splint nightmare for 5 years and this is how they always end up feeling. i decided the last one i would stick with 24/7 and actually commit but after the 3rd month when i ended up with more head and neck pain than i started with i questioned the dr. and he told me to hang in there. i did for another 3/4 months until i just couldn't take it anymore. i don't believe any splint should give you new or additional pain. in the beginning though it could be difficult to getting used to even wearing one in your mouth so that is uncomfortable in itself. but to me, just my opinion, from what you are describing, it isn't adjusted right. and it needs to be smooth and comfy for the patient to comply with wearing it. i would call your dentist back and tell her. also, i have been doing this for 5 years and i have been to the so called "specialists" that have been treating this for 20+ years and they are no better than the ones treating it for just a couple. that has been my experience. i think it is hit or miss on finding the right doctor. i wish you luck as you progress with your treatment and hopefully your dentist can get your splint feeling more comfortable. it does take a few weeks to get used to one even if it does fit right. hang in there.

 
Old 11-01-2009, 06:51 AM   #3
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Re: I don't think I can do this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papyrus4 View Post
I'm almost 60 and have a bit of arthritis and fibromyalgia.

I have never had any jaw problems at all. Then, about 6 weeks ago, all of a sudden my right TMjoint began catching for about 10 days. Then it locked for about a week. I decided to go right to a local TMD specialist instead of my general dentist.
She has been dealing with TMD for about 23 years and I got a good referral to her from my Internist.

She said I had arthritis in my left joint and the right joint has been overworking, and the disc has slipped.

She had a repositional splint made for me, (lower teeth) and I began to wear it a week ago. Its been one of the hardest things I've ever had to endure. I just can't stand it. They told me that it takes a little while to accept it, but after a week of wearing it, its just getting worse.
Its turned my life upside down, it bothers me so much.
There's absolutely no way I can eat with it, since there's no flat surfaces on this splint at all, and only my inner cusps of my back teeth make any contact. I have mostly crowns and what teeth I have left are fragile. I'm afraid they're going to break if I pound them while trying to chew.

I have a dentist phobia and have alot of anxiety going to get my teeth fixed (even though I always force myself to go), and now I've found out that I might need alot of dental work when this is done.......making crowns larger or smaller.
It seems like every day my bite is different. My tongue just won't stop checking out all those sharp/rough spots on it.
Apparently, its alot thinner than some people's, so the wires that stabilize it also rub my tongue.

I wear a cpap mask every night, so I know what its like to get accustomed to something uncomfortable........but I honestly don't think I can do this.
I'm depressed and anxious all the time because of this big honking, sharp/rough thing in my mouth. The dentist said "Its only for 6 months". I have a rough time making it through each day!

One of the dental assistants said in the 11 years she's worked there, nobody quit the treatment. How is that possible? Surely I'm not the only one who is driven crazy by this huge thing in their mouth?

I think putting up with the pain when I chew would be easy now, compared to this.
Any insights/suggestions?
I am totally bummed.
HI--I"m so sorry to hear what you are going through. If I can put my 2 cents in, I think whoever told you that no one has quit splint therapy in her 11 yrs. of working is full of BS. That's just not reality. Splint therapy is necessary, but very horrendous to go through. I'm in it right now. What I can tell you is it takes at least 2 weeks for an adult to get used to a repositional splint. In my case, almost 3. Are you still locked closed? I wish your tmj specialist would have told you right away to gag yourself hard, this recaptures the disc in many patients. I'm living proof that this works, over and over again. If you are still locked, you might want to try it. It's a hard gag, bringing your mandible in a forward and down position. As far as your splint being bumpy, that you need to try to get used to. But I caution you, if it feels very high or "off" in some spots causing major muscle spasms, it needs to be adjusted more correctly, and you absolutely should not be feeling "sharp" spots on it. I urge you to get a second, maybe a 3rd opinion from another tmjd specialist. Look under the ICCMO website, and see who's in your area, make sure that they do neuromuscular dentistry, and hopefully are a Functional Jaw Orthodontist as well. If you need help finding one, let me know. How are you getting all this covered? If you have dental tmj coverage, that's great. Otherwise, if you go to another tmj specialist for a consult, see if they can billl everything under Mayofacial Pain disorder, MPD. Many do and will work with you on this. Ask them point blank. Hang in there, in my opinion, if this new splint is causing you more pain, is sharp, and you are getting much worse, let them know right away, and go get yourself another doctor asap. Good Luck, and let me know if you have any questions. -------J.

 
Old 11-01-2009, 12:22 PM   #4
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Papyrus4 HB User
Re: I don't think I can do this

Thanks J and Stormy,

I'm a strange person. I always have been. I'm hypersensitive physically to alot of things. I notice things that most people don't. So maybe I'm feeling all sorts of things on this splint, that most people just ignore?? I don't know. But I can only be me.
I've never heard of the gag maneuver, but its good to know.
I don't think my jaw is still locked, but its sore and I can't open it as wide as I used to.
Is it your experience that many times after this treatment, people have to have their teeth changed to accommodate the new bite?

I have an appointment with her tomorrow and will ask lots of questions. I'll make her look at and feel my appliance.....although usually the technicians see me first, and adjust the appliance. Mine is so thin.
I don't have any muscle spasms. But there's no way on earth I can eat with this in. I honestly don't think its a matter of adjusting to chewing with it. I think I'll break some of my top teeth if I try to chew much more.

I just want them to be honest with me and not make it sound like its a cake walk.
I'll give it another week, but I will tell her that she might get Plan B ready for me.
Like I said, I only had this one symptom. I've never had any facial/ear/spasms/headaches from it. I fear that I should have started more slowly, instead of going straight to this appliance. But this is her specialty so maybe this is all she has to offer.
Sort of like when you go see a surgeon, he only wants to operate.
Thanks for your help!

 
Old 11-01-2009, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: I don't think I can do this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papyrus4 View Post
Thanks J and Stormy,

I'm a strange person. I always have been. I'm hypersensitive physically to alot of things. I notice things that most people don't. So maybe I'm feeling all sorts of things on this splint, that most people just ignore?? I don't know. But I can only be me.
I've never heard of the gag maneuver, but its good to know.
I don't think my jaw is still locked, but its sore and I can't open it as wide as I used to.
Is it your experience that many times after this treatment, people have to have their teeth changed to accommodate the new bite?

I have an appointment with her tomorrow and will ask lots of questions. I'll make her look at and feel my appliance.....although usually the technicians see me first, and adjust the appliance. Mine is so thin.
I don't have any muscle spasms. But there's no way on earth I can eat with this in. I honestly don't think its a matter of adjusting to chewing with it. I think I'll break some of my top teeth if I try to chew much more.

I just want them to be honest with me and not make it sound like its a cake walk.
I'll give it another week, but I will tell her that she might get Plan B ready for me.
Like I said, I only had this one symptom. I've never had any facial/ear/spasms/headaches from it. I fear that I should have started more slowly, instead of going straight to this appliance. But this is her specialty so maybe this is all she has to offer.
Sort of like when you go see a surgeon, he only wants to operate.
Thanks for your help!
Hi again,
Phase 1 treatment usually consists of some sort of splint, that after being used more than 2mo. will usually change your bite permanently, so be aware of that. When your symptoms subside, and the splint has done it's work, be it recapturing discs, calming down muscles, etc. the specialist will do phase 2. Phase 2 usually is equillibration, (shaving down teeth to fix bite), braces, crowns, or a permanent splint. This phase should only be started when your symptoms that brought you into the office have subsided or are almost gone. People should never let a dentist change their bites until phase 1 is done successfully. Also, a repositional splint is supposed to be worn 24.7 usually, all the time, even eating. This part took me a while to grasp. It took about a week for me to get used to eating w-it in. If the splint is designed right, and it is adjusted well you should not have any problems with the feel of it. In your case, if I were you I would request some sort of x-ray to make sure your tmj specialist knows where your discs are. Good luck to you tomorrow! J.

 
Old 11-01-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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Papyrus4 HB User
Re: I don't think I can do this

Thanks J.
I'm having the "big" xrays tomorrow. When I went in the first time, they took the panorax films and some others. Apparently, the ones tomorrow are more detailed. But I was thinking they couldn't see discs on xrays.
Maybe I'm just stubborn and inflexible, but I absolutely refuse to eat with this in, unless they can change it. What I do is take it out for each meal and am careful not to chew hard and then I put it back in within the hour.
My TMJ specialist doesn't do any of the phase 2 stuff. I guess she leaves that up to our own dentist. I have about $13,000 worth of crowns and root canals in my mouth. I really don't care to replace them, as I don't have the best dental coverage.
I'm trying to weigh all the issues here. Could I live with a slipped disc? Would it ever go back on its own? One article I read about repositional splints was that many people who didn't wear them actually resolved the problem in 2-3 months. I guess I won't ever know. I just don't want to have a very involved phase 2, if I might not even have needed phase 1.
I just assumed that it wasn't a good/normal thing to have a locked jaw. I could still eat with it locked, since it would open far enough to eat.
I fear I may not have given it enough time to heal on its own. The TMJ dentist said that, according to my xrays, I'm in a fairly advanced stage, even though I haven't had the other symptoms. But like I said earlier, I fear that she might see everyone as needing treatment.
Think of all the people in the past who have had arthritis in their jaws, and their lives weren't that horrible.
I'm just nervous, since if I continue with this, it may force me into months of dentist visits and tons of money.
Question for you about chewing: How do you feel in your mouth when you chew?
I feel that unless I bring my jaw very forward, I'm banging only on my back teeth.
But even if I bring it forward, because the splint has those high ridges between each tooth, I can't grind at all. Chewing requires grinding and not just straight up and down banging on the food.
The very backs of my splint goes up. I think its supposed to do that. Does your's?

 
Old 11-02-2009, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: I don't think I can do this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papyrus4 View Post
Thanks J.
I'm having the "big" xrays tomorrow. When I went in the first time, they took the panorax films and some others. Apparently, the ones tomorrow are more detailed. But I was thinking they couldn't see discs on xrays.
Maybe I'm just stubborn and inflexible, but I absolutely refuse to eat with this in, unless they can change it. What I do is take it out for each meal and am careful not to chew hard and then I put it back in within the hour.
My TMJ specialist doesn't do any of the phase 2 stuff. I guess she leaves that up to our own dentist. I have about $13,000 worth of crowns and root canals in my mouth. I really don't care to replace them, as I don't have the best dental coverage.
I'm trying to weigh all the issues here. Could I live with a slipped disc? Would it ever go back on its own? One article I read about repositional splints was that many people who didn't wear them actually resolved the problem in 2-3 months. I guess I won't ever know. I just don't want to have a very involved phase 2, if I might not even have needed phase 1.
I just assumed that it wasn't a good/normal thing to have a locked jaw. I could still eat with it locked, since it would open far enough to eat.
I fear I may not have given it enough time to heal on its own. The TMJ dentist said that, according to my xrays, I'm in a fairly advanced stage, even though I haven't had the other symptoms. But like I said earlier, I fear that she might see everyone as needing treatment.
Think of all the people in the past who have had arthritis in their jaws, and their lives weren't that horrible.
I'm just nervous, since if I continue with this, it may force me into months of dentist visits and tons of money.
Question for you about chewing: How do you feel in your mouth when you chew?
I feel that unless I bring my jaw very forward, I'm banging only on my back teeth.
But even if I bring it forward, because the splint has those high ridges between each tooth, I can't grind at all. Chewing requires grinding and not just straight up and down banging on the food.
The very backs of my splint goes up. I think its supposed to do that. Does your's?
HI again--
I'm really concerned that your tmj specialist doesn't handle phase 2 case finishing . That is crucial to do and know how to do well. Make sure you ask for copies of your x-rays, they are yours, you are paying for them. I urge you to try to find a second opinion before too much more time passes. Look on the ICCMO website like I posted earlier and see who does neuromuscular work with Functional jaw appliances and ortho. If you need a referral, I will help you. Also, don't focus on the money aspect of it right now. You need to find someone who knows what they are doing.
As far as x-rays, usually tomograms won't show what is up with your discs, some do, especially in my case, my left disc is clearly gone and thereis no room left. My condyle is sitting way up in the socket. Usually cone beam scans and mri's are the ones too have for soft tissue x-rays.
As for chewing, I'm confident that if you were in the right splint, you would be able to get used to eating w-it in in a matter of a week or 2. I know you could handle it. It's a commitment, but you could do it. Even though you think you wouldn't be able to break up food, your body just learns to adapt to it and mash up the food within a week or so. Obviously I don't eat steak, or chips, but I certainly have learned how to eat soft chicken, bread, etc.
You can post your doctor's name, not the address or website, and I can look at her credentials if youwant. Let me know if you have any questions. Take care, and good luck today. J.

 
Old 11-02-2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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bearsky HB User
Re: I don't think I can do this

Hi, I am in the midle of my own TMJ nightmare. I don't know how to help you-but know you are not alone. Shelley

 
Old 05-25-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Angry Re: I don't think I can do this

I had the same splint and have a warning for all: if you have caps with any posts -DO NOT EAT WITH IT ON! IT SNAPPED MY CAP OFF POST AND ALL WHICH POST WENT DOWN MY THROAT - I STILL HAVE THE BROKEN CAP - After many complaints and "fixes" by my dentist - the splint is broken - the metal clips stick out and gave me sores scratching the inside of my mouth - it also has rust inside the splint - nice huh?----guess what? I am not paying for that splint- the dentist can kiss my !$#^-----thanks to her treatment plan I am now missing 5 teeth from her mini fixes an d oral surgeries and now my insurance won't pay for any more caps - if I want teeth there, my only alternative is getting dental implants which are 3000 per tooth- that is 5 teeth x 3000 -which cost me another 15000 - I am looking into filing a malpractice suit on that dentist - I had way less pain and more teeth before I met her!

Last edited by kgizmocat; 05-25-2010 at 03:04 PM.

 
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