Re: Splint or Braces?
I agree that a previous nightguard could have cause you problems. That was what happened to me.
Every dentist seems to take different approaches to treating TMJ problems. I'd ask about what specific training your dentists have for treating TMJD and functional orthodontics. That may help you decide who you feel more confident in treating you. You need someone who will help you ensure your jaw in functional order. Many good TMJ dentists also have neuromuscular training as well.
If you do some internet research you will see that many typical TMJD treatments have 2 phases. Phase I typically involves use of a repositioning splint 24/7. This splint is typically worn until your muscles relax and your bite is in correct positioning. This typically takes at least 6 months. Phase II involves "permanant" changes in your bite. Sometimes it involves crowns or other tooth adjustments, but frequently it involves braces. During this phase, they are establishing a "permanently" correct bite for you.
I've worn a lower repositioning splint since June of 2010. I was very unusual in that until recently I wore the repositioning splint during the day and a special customized upper splint at night that addressed my bruxism and jaw positioning issues both while I was sleeping. It took me about a year, but my muscles became "happy" and I was ready for Phase II. I'm now 4 months into treatment with self-ligating braces on my upper teeth and the repositioning splint on my lower teeth. When my upper teeth are in correct position in about 3 months, I'll be getting my lower braces. At the end of treatment, I'll be evaluated to see if I need some caps on my molars since they are worn down from bruxing for so many years.
I highly recommend doing some more internet research on the phases of TMJD treatment. I think you might actually want to explore treatment that involves a combination of what has been recommended to you.
I also highly recommend having some physical therapy to help you loosen those jaw and probably neck muscles as part of your therapy as well.
Asthma, Allergies, severe LPR/GERD, Anemia, TMJD, Hearing Loss, Ulnar Impaction Syndrome, Shoulder Impingement--both shoulders, Benign Joint Hypermobility, possible Ehlers Danlos Syndrome