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Old 11-14-2009, 04:13 PM   #1
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batzany HB User
New here & need a TMJ specialist

Hi everyone, I'm Sherri & 39 yrs old. I have a long & strange medical history that I'll try to get out of the way as quickly as possible. I had a stroke at age 10. The stroke effected my right side but I fully recovered. I developed extreme generalized anxiety pretty much immediately after the stroke that remains to this day. The anxiety causes me me to clench my jaw while awake & grind my teeth while sleeping. I started getting sinus infections at age 20. I got adult chicken pox at age 24. I had 3 impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed at age 28, and the guy almost broke my jaw. My reg DDS had me open & close my mouth & said it was TMJ, that was that. After about 6 months, I could manage to eat oatmeal without pain. After about a year, I would have TMJ flare ups but ibuprofen usually made them tolerable. Then I lost my only brother, who was 42 yrs old, in May 2007 & my mom, who was 61, in July 2008. They both passed from sudden heart attacks. Which left just me & my dad, whose had 2 heart attacks as well. So my docs, after my brothers death, started a myriad of tests to check my cardiovasular system. After my mom's death my anxiety went through the roof & my TMJ flared up with avengance, but this time nothing was making it better. My Docs weren't listening to me so I switched to all new docs. My new doc put me in physical therapy, in April 2009, for muscle/skeletal issues I've developed from my stroke. He also gave me vicodin for all the pain I was in & Valium for muscle tension, which helped my TMJ. And ran even more tests on my cardio vascular system, and these tests showed that I had a hole in my heart (PFO). I had the hole closed July 2009. I developed another sinus infection so he gave me some antibiotics & Allegra D 12 hr on 10/20/09. My TMJ started really killing me on 10/21/09 & didn't let up. Then I started having sudden & serious visual disturbances on 10/27/09 (strobing zigzags, strobing lights, orbs of light in my vision). I thought I was going blind until my doc sent me to an opthamologist on 11/02/09, who told me I was having ocular migraines. He was asking about any new stressors in my life. Which made no sense b/c I'd never experienced anything more stressful than losing my mom & brother, and I didn't have any ocular migraines then. So he told me to keep a journal and to come back 12/01/09.

So I'd been keeping this journal until 11/08/09 when I had an epiphany. Since I had the hole in my heart closed, I hadn't taken any meds like Allegra D which contains pseudoephedrine. In the past Allegra D would make me feel tense, but now I was feeling real tense: clenching my teeth all day & grinding my teeth real bad while asleep (according to hubby). On 11/08/09, I woke up having to pop my jaw back into place, and my head was killing. I took 750mg vicodin, 5mg valium, & 800mg ibuprofen & the pain starting easing up. An hour later, b/c of pressure in my & behind my eyes, I took my Allegra D 12 hr med. The pain came back & got even worse. The Allegra D was the stressor, it was triggering TMJ migraines, the TMJ migraines were triggering my ocular migraines. I haven't taken the Allegra D since the 8th. The daily ocular migraines finally went away on 11/10/09.

But my TMJ is still just as bad. My doc thinks that all the clenching & teeth grinding more than likely irritated the joints to a point that I probably need to see a TMJ specialist. He told me to try a bite guard 1st & if that didn't work, then go to a TMJ specialist. I went to my physical therapist the same day & he told me that the bite guard would only irritate it further b/c I would be biting/clenching down on it all night. He can treat the TMJ but wants me to be properly diagnosed before doing anything with my jaw. My doc doesn't know of any TMJ specialists to refer me to. He told me to ask my dentist, but my dentist sent me to the oral surgeon that almost broke my jaw. I Love my dentist, just don't know if I want to trust his referrals after that.

I'm in Waterford, Michigan which is close to Pontiac & bloomfield Hills (metro Detroit area). I read through the TMJ specialist post & found 2 in my state, but both doctors are well over an hour away from my home & from my work. Between my work hours, doc apps, & physical therapy, I need to find a good specialist that's much closer. If anyone can recommend a specialist that would be closer, or a reputable site I could go to to find one on my own, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thank you for taking the time to read this extremely long post & thanks in advance for your help

 
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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Re: New here & need a TMJ specialist

Quote:
Originally Posted by batzany View Post
Hi everyone, I'm Sherri & 39 yrs old. I have a long & strange medical history that I'll try to get out of the way as quickly as possible. I had a stroke at age 10. The stroke effected my right side but I fully recovered. I developed extreme generalized anxiety pretty much immediately after the stroke that remains to this day. The anxiety causes me me to clench my jaw while awake & grind my teeth while sleeping. I started getting sinus infections at age 20. I got adult chicken pox at age 24. I had 3 impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed at age 28, and the guy almost broke my jaw. My reg DDS had me open & close my mouth & said it was TMJ, that was that. After about 6 months, I could manage to eat oatmeal without pain. After about a year, I would have TMJ flare ups but ibuprofen usually made them tolerable. Then I lost my only brother, who was 42 yrs old, in May 2007 & my mom, who was 61, in July 2008. They both passed from sudden heart attacks. Which left just me & my dad, whose had 2 heart attacks as well. So my docs, after my brothers death, started a myriad of tests to check my cardiovasular system. After my mom's death my anxiety went through the roof & my TMJ flared up with avengance, but this time nothing was making it better. My Docs weren't listening to me so I switched to all new docs. My new doc put me in physical therapy, in April 2009, for muscle/skeletal issues I've developed from my stroke. He also gave me vicodin for all the pain I was in & Valium for muscle tension, which helped my TMJ. And ran even more tests on my cardio vascular system, and these tests showed that I had a hole in my heart (PFO). I had the hole closed July 2009. I developed another sinus infection so he gave me some antibiotics & Allegra D 12 hr on 10/20/09. My TMJ started really killing me on 10/21/09 & didn't let up. Then I started having sudden & serious visual disturbances on 10/27/09 (strobing zigzags, strobing lights, orbs of light in my vision). I thought I was going blind until my doc sent me to an opthamologist on 11/02/09, who told me I was having ocular migraines. He was asking about any new stressors in my life. Which made no sense b/c I'd never experienced anything more stressful than losing my mom & brother, and I didn't have any ocular migraines then. So he told me to keep a journal and to come back 12/01/09.

So I'd been keeping this journal until 11/08/09 when I had an epiphany. Since I had the hole in my heart closed, I hadn't taken any meds like Allegra D which contains pseudoephedrine. In the past Allegra D would make me feel tense, but now I was feeling real tense: clenching my teeth all day & grinding my teeth real bad while asleep (according to hubby). On 11/08/09, I woke up having to pop my jaw back into place, and my head was killing. I took 750mg vicodin, 5mg valium, & 800mg ibuprofen & the pain starting easing up. An hour later, b/c of pressure in my & behind my eyes, I took my Allegra D 12 hr med. The pain came back & got even worse. The Allegra D was the stressor, it was triggering TMJ migraines, the TMJ migraines were triggering my ocular migraines. I haven't taken the Allegra D since the 8th. The daily ocular migraines finally went away on 11/10/09.

But my TMJ is still just as bad. My doc thinks that all the clenching & teeth grinding more than likely irritated the joints to a point that I probably need to see a TMJ specialist. He told me to try a bite guard 1st & if that didn't work, then go to a TMJ specialist. I went to my physical therapist the same day & he told me that the bite guard would only irritate it further b/c I would be biting/clenching down on it all night. He can treat the TMJ but wants me to be properly diagnosed before doing anything with my jaw. My doc doesn't know of any TMJ specialists to refer me to. He told me to ask my dentist, but my dentist sent me to the oral surgeon that almost broke my jaw. I Love my dentist, just don't know if I want to trust his referrals after that.

I'm in Waterford, Michigan which is close to Pontiac & bloomfield Hills (metro Detroit area). I read through the TMJ specialist post & found 2 in my state, but both doctors are well over an hour away from my home & from my work. Between my work hours, doc apps, & physical therapy, I need to find a good specialist that's much closer. If anyone can recommend a specialist that would be closer, or a reputable site I could go to to find one on my own, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thank you for taking the time to read this extremely long post & thanks in advance for your help
HI---wow--sorry to hear about all you have gone through. It's not easy at all to find a good tmjd specialist. Unfortunately, you may need to drive to locate a good one. Not everyone knows how to treat tmjd effectively. Many of us on here have been to doctor after doctor, and are still in treatment, or still looking for a good specialist. I'm in splint therapy right now if you have any questions, let me know. As far as locating a good tmjd specialist, in my opinion,the ones that practice neuromuscular dentistry, and incorporate Functional Jaw Orthodontics into their practice are the ones to see. You can look under the ICCMO, and see who is possible in your area. What you will need to do then, is call and see if they are LVI trained, Las Vegas Institute---and are also a Functional Jaw Orthodontist as well. This is critical for case finishing, usually called "phase two" of your treatment. Make sure that they've practiced tmjd treatment for at least 10-13yrs...and that at least 40% of their practice is tmj related. It took me almost 5 mo. to find my doctor, so interview carefully, and look at the list of questions I will move up for you on the posts regarding "what should I ask a specialist" ---it was under Silverwings back in June. Look for the post to be @ the top of the discussion list. Let me know if you have any questions! Good luck..J.

 
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