I'm not sure if I have exactly what you're describing, but I certainly experience something very similar. My jaw deviates to the left no matter what I'm doing, but it's much worse in the middle of the night and in the morning. Also, I'm a side sleeper, so if I sleep on my left side, my deviation sort of gets pushed, and I get this terrible pinching feeling in my left joint. And if I sleep on my right, it pushes my jaw even more towards the left, making the pressure/deviation even worse.
When I had my very first surgery two years ago (I've had three surgeries total now, I'm about to have my fourth), I slept on my lazy boy in my family room so that I could sleep comfortably on my back; if I were to sleep on my sides, I would be lying down on the sore surgical area. Since then, I've realized that sleeping on my back on that lazy boy is so much more comfortable for my jaw joints because of the side-sleeping issue/jaw hanging (I always sleep better when I sleep on the lazy boy vs. sleeping in my bed). That tugging on your joints the hanging causes is just so painful, but because we're the only ones who see the hanging when we're up in pain during the night, it's hard for other people to understand what we're going through!
my jaw deviates to the left too, all the time. tmj225, mine is like yours, no matter what side i sleep on it does this as well as it does it all day long, when i am standing, sitting, etc. when i am given a flat plane appliance it deviates even worse. i almost feel like for me to get any relief that i need to be locked in to an appliance to get this to stop. actually, someone did this once and all my spasms and pain went away. haven't been able to duplicate it since.
tmj 225, i live in your area. you recommended dr. mintz to me. what does he say about your deviation? he is a very popular tmj doc in the area so i was wondering what he says about this, or is it from your surgeries? Mine has done this since I had my wisdom tooth removed and my open bite developed. One doctor told me I have no support on the left side that deviates. how do your teeth fit together on that side? i wonder if it has something to do with that or the joint itself?
Just tilting my head to the left makes my jaw (I'd say from my chin to my lips, but I feel it up to my joints) swing/deviate more to the left. Or if I'm just sitting somewhere and start relaxing and my mouth is ever so slightly open, it's more like it's hanging to the left. Dr. Mintz hasn't commented much on my deviation ever since I became a surgical patient. My teeth don't touch...when I bite down only by my very back left molars touch each other, the rest of my teeth don't meet (so when my jaw is closed, it looks like I'm opening my mouth a little bit if I smile or something). My bite changes surgery to surgery, so for the most part, I'm sure it's the surgeries that have messed with my bite.
Lately, I've been getting locks where not only does my jaw lock, but it locks very deviated to the left and it's extremely painful. I've had one of those locks for 1 1/2 weeks; the pain has been excruciating. I'm overdue for Botox and we're just going to do it as part of my surgery on Dec. 21 (I'm having both of my discs removed and fat grafts...biggest surgery yet!), so my jaw has been worse lately because the muscles are spasming and tightening. They've basically told me to I'll just have to stick it out with this lock until the surgery.
I'd be curious to know what Dr. Mintz thinks about this pulling we're having. My guess would be that it's coming from the joints, result of surgery or something else, but it's really frustrating. Next time I see him to have my splints adjusted, I'll definitely ask.
my jaw does the exact same thing. if i am concentrating on something though it tends to do this less, as my jaw tends to drop open. as soon as i am done concentrating and just sitting, relaxing, laying, etc. my jaw pulls and deviates to the left again. i am convinced if someone could stop this left sided pull my spasms and pain would diminish greatly as it has done so before.
My bite is similar to yours except when I bite down i am only hitting on my second molars, one moreso than the other. But my bite change was due to the first splint I wore which severely opened my bite, then the last dentist i saw tried to close it by shaving slightly my back molars. now i am only hitting on my two back molars, and my right canine. when my left molar touches the opposing tooth even slightly it gives me referral pain from my trapezius up to my scm, to my masseter, eye, and temple. my whole left side tightens up and goes into spasm. i have been told that this is because i have no other teeth touching on that left side except my back molar therefore there is no support from keeping it deviating to the left. plus, i have some flattening of my condyle on that side and my disc is slightly displaced. all of this could contribute to the slide but i have been told with the proper supported splint the slide should stop. mine never has and it has been almost 5 years. yes, you have an open bite like i do.
will you end up having to have braces at some point? i am sorry for all the surgeries you have had to have and the upcoming ones too. i will keep you in my thoughts. this is no fun to have this condition. it is very frustrating. how are you doing with your splints? what are the purpose of your splints at this point? to give you a bite, support your joints? do you ever feel like you have high spots that bother you or is dr. mintz pretty good at adjusting your appliances? does the night one feel different than the day one? i guess i am asking if it takes you time to adjust to them when you change from one to another? i am seeing dr. mintz this week. i have consulted with him in the past though one time, 2 years ago but decided to go with a DC guy instead at the time. i read your posts and it seems you saw him as well. lots of fancy neuromuscular testing and lots of money out the window. poor choice on my part.
i am sorry you are in alot of pain. i wish someone could do something for that. i know how it is. i get very scared being in pain and nothing i do helps it. i am sure you feel the same way. hang in there and i hope things get better for you real soon. you can talk to me anytime.
I was reading the post here about the jaws deviating to one side or the other. When I open, mine is like a corkscrew and then it ends up deviating to the right. Also, when I went for the impressions for my new mouth guard a few weeks back, the gal got mad during part of the appt. because she told me to KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT! Which leads me to this question. It was then, that I First noticed that my mouth just automatically opens a bit now. What causes this? I have to concentrate to keep my mouth closed. Is this ME, from months of practicing to keep my jaw relaxed or is this my disk displacement causing this?
I also do much better sleeping on my back, with my mouth guard in. I MISS sleeping on my side. My neck is so bad as well, that I also need neck support. Gosh I miss the days of just flopping around the bed any which way I wanted too!
Last edited by Madison104; 11-30-2009 at 12:50 AM.
Stormy1966 - my bite sounds EXACTLY like yours. I don't think I could have described it any better. It's never quite closed, and because I only touch on I guess what would be my left second molars, my bite has absolutely no support. I'm so, so glad that you are seeing Dr. Mintz. I too waisted thousands of dollars at a TMJ specialist in D.C. who did a bunch of pointless x-rays, neuromuscular-type of tests and freaky treatments before seeing Dr. Mintz. Going from the triple-booking type of practice to Dr. Mintz's office was a breath of fresh air, and I feel so lucky to have him as my doctor. I could go on and on about him; I honestly don't know what I would do without him. So to answer your questions about my splints:
1. We have not discussed braces. I actually had braces - typically teenager ones - when this happened, but in order to wear a splint, the braces had to be removed a few months before they were supposed to be. Dr. Hoffman has said that he can completely fix my bite during the joint replacement surgery, which is likely in my near future. He made it sound like it's a very easy thing to do during the surgery.
2. I'd say the purpose of my splints is to give me a bite and support my joints/take pressure off of them. Because Dr. Mintz shaves it down so that it feels even on each side (it gives me the feeling that I can touch evenly on both sides), it helps my bite in that way. But then, having something for my teeth to rest on takes a lot of pressure off of my joints and makes my muscles feel better. I really like the splints. My day splint is very wearable - I can talk clearly in it, it's hardly noticeable by other people and it even has acted as a retainer to maintain the work my braces did.
3. I've never had spots on my splints that bother me, but that has to be because Dr. Mintz meticulously shaves them down. He uses these little pieces of blue paper for me to "tap tap" and "rub rub" on, and even if I feel like the splint has perfectly evened out my bite by that point (or feels good enough), he'll notice a blue marking somewhere and correct it. Or, if my splint needs a lot of adjusting, those blue marks give him an idea of what I'm describing. Even though he uses the blue paper technique, he's always asking me how it feels and that's what he really cares about. He also makes sure that there aren't any spots pinching me or digging into my gums, which I've never experienced with his splints.
4. The night splint is very different than the day splint. My day splint is very typical...basically a very thin, hard and durable mouth guard that I wear on my upper teeth. My night splint is a bit more fancy. It's also a top splint, but on the bottom part has a ramp that starts at the front teeth and gets taller until a certain point, where it squares down. The point of the ramp is to keep my low jaw from going far back when I lean my head back to sleep, because that can cause locking. The night splint is also thicker (between the ramp and thickness, I have a nice lisp when I try to talk in it), but because the thickness means I have more support, it feels really good. Dr. Mintz also adjusts that splint very carefully so that it gives me the "even bite" feeling.
5. I don't know if it necessarily takes me time to adjust from day to night splint, but there's an obvious difference. I guess the adjustment is positive...I like my night splint better because it's thicker (but would never be able to wear it during the day because of the ramp; that ramp is a speech killer).
Madison104, I have the same thing as you where I can't keep my mouth from opening. I even drool!!! I think it's from a combination of things...for me obviously, surgery and Botox, but also, I'm sure it's displaced discs, muscle tightness/spasms and like what you said, training yourself to relax your jaw (because they train you to slightly open your mouth, now it's so frustrating that we can't shut them!). So we're not alone at least with mourning our side-sleeping days. I still have sleepless nights when I try to sleep in my bed because of the side-sleeping problems. It's SO frustrating!