OK, so I finally went to an NM dentist and invested the $3000 for treatment. The first $600 was the consult and CT scan which confirmed that I do indeed have TMJ. We did impressions and I finally received my splint last tuesday. It's a hard acrylic splint that fits over the top teeth.
I hate it. I wore it for like the first day and then took it out and haven't worn it since. I cannot talk with it in at all. I'm completely lisping and sound ridiculous. I have a professional job in which I need to talk with people all day long and I also have to do a lot of trainings/public speaking. How on earth am I going to do this? The NM dentist says I will get used to it and it will get better. It's a little hard to believe this listening to the way I sound right now. I also have to add that it's highly unattractive and very noticeable. Right now, I'm not happy I invested all this money to not be wearing it. Any advice out there?
in a week or two of wearing it you forget its in. If the pain is not bad enough for you to keep it in then you can't be in that much pain. I'm in sales and marketing and talk to peole all day but don't care. The pain was too much, I took a day off plus the weekend to get used to it. After a week you are talking close to normal.
I will say mine is on the bottom though which makes it less obvious.
I got a sleep guard about 5 years ago. Cost $400 from dentist. I warned him about my gag response, told him it better be small. He said I would get used to it. It was huge, I couldn't even get it in place, every time I tried I gagged myself. Since then I have bought a couple in the sport dept. Tried cutting them smaller, still never worked for me.
I suggest trying a cheap one before spending the big bucks to anyone I talk to about it.
My acrylic splint is lower vs. your upper. It has a "bubble" that takes up extra room on my tongue side. My family and co-workers teased me for a couple weeks because of my lisping with the splint at first. It did get much better though. My orthodontist cautioned me to practice reading the newspaper out loud for a while until I became more comfortable talking. I think singing along with music helps as well.
I will say that I notice the splint much more than others do. Many people I'm around never even realize I have the splint. It has been the same since I started wearing braces as well.
Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. I've been wearing my splint at night and around the house, but must admit that it's out more than it's in. I'm getting bad headaches in my temples which I wasn't having before. When I wake up in the morning, the muscles in my face feel tense and tired. Am I doing more damage by taking this thing in and out instead of wearing it 24/7 like I'm supposed to? Not talking any better with it by the way. It's too big for my mouth and I sound like my mouth is full of food or something.
Also, wanted to ask about the braces. Why is this stage 2? If braces reposition the bite, why can't they just go directly to the braces and forget the whole splint thing? Does everyone end up needing the braces or does the splint resolve the TMJ for some people?
If the splint really is a well fitting repositioning splint you do need to wear it 24/7. You need to have your jaw in that position throughout the entire day. Taking it out allows your jaw to go back to the "incorrect" positioning.
During phase I, you are getting your muscles loosened up and used to your jaw being in the "correct" position. You are also seeing how well you do in that position. Your jaw and bite should be much "happier" after phase I before starting phase II. At this point, things are reversable if it doesn't help or work for you.
Phase II is permenant. With all the pain I was in, looking back, I know I would have regretted it if I went directly to Phase II. I was much better able to cope with the changes the braces have made in my bite with my muscles "happy" to start with. While I get a bit of resistance from the muscles during the treatment at times, they aren't working against the adjustments the braces are making like they would have before.
If you think the splint really is incorrect for you, go see your dentist to see if they can make adjustments. My dentist took 3D x-rays with the splint in to make sure things were in alignment with the splint in.
Also, it hurt when I started wearing the splint. My muscles were not happy and were fighting things. They were in a bad place before and it took a while to get them that unhappy so it stood to reason it would take a long time to adjust to a "correct" position. My sessions with my PT, receiving orofacial trigger point releases and ultrasound from my dentist were all part of my treatment as I started wearing the splint. Please don't discount the importance of supplementary therapy as part of your splint treatment. You need help to get through this. Also, when the muscle spasms were at their very worst, my ENT would prescribe short courses of low-dose anti-spasmotics to help me get through things as well.
Not everyone needs to go to Phase II after splint therapy. I had 4 choices that were presented to me as my phase I treatment was coming to an end. 1: stop wearing the splint and see how things went. 2: continue wearing the splint for as long as I wanted/needed. 3. Caps on all of my molars and other tooth adjustments as determined by my need. 4. Braces to help establish my bite into better positioning. I chose braces because I felt it would be the best option for me in the long run. It did take me quite a while to come up with the money for braces so I wore the splint for much longer than necessary for the phase I treatment.