I've recently been looking around and joining a few boards to gain a better understanding of this condition.
I'm 20 years old and from the US. I've had TMJ since high school and was able to manage pretty well with just the clicking and popping sounds. When I finally talked to my dentist about it all he said was to watch what I eat. Everything was going ok.
My junior year of high school, I got braces. They were hell - my orthodontist said I was one of his most sensitive and difficult patients ever - but the braces, though I hated them, seemed to help. Once they were off and it was up to me to maintain the alignment, things didn't go as planned. I suffer from very frequent canker sores, sometimes more than one at a time and they last for weeks, which made it extremely hard to wear my retainers. Needless to say, a few of my teeth have shifted again.
Last year, my dentist told me to get my wisdom teeth out - that it might help my TMJ problems that had started to flare up again. 5 days before Christmas, I had the surgery. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be. However, my TMJ has been worse since then.
In the past couple months, my jaw locks up in the morning more than before, on several occasions, my jaw has dislocated or slipped out of place for days at a time, and a couple days ago I started with the ear problems. I am in constant pain. My muscles tense up and it feels like my neck is swollen. I've drastically modified my diet and routine. I can no longer sleep on my sides as I've found that my jaw locks up after. I've been sleeping on my back and slightly propped up, which has made a noticeable difference, but I cannot get a good nights sleep in this position.
My dentist seems pretty much clueless anymore and I don't have anywhere else to go. I'm at a stand still. My mother thinks that it's all stress-related and psychosomatic. It's so hard to cope when no one else understands or even believes the pain and discomfort you're in.
Would it be worth the time and energy to try and see a general practitioner to see if they can refer anyone? What are some other ways to cope with the pain and discomfort? I currently have no prescriptions for pain killers or muscle relaxers. I'm at a loss as to what to do next.