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Old 05-04-2012, 08:09 AM   #1
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How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'?

Hi everyone,

I finally got my NM orthotic, and have been wearing for 4 days now. It's a lower one that I have to wear 24/7, and it was done through the TENSing and K7. I would love to hear from those who have experience with this orthotic, or anything similar.

I have a whole lot of TMJ symptoms but my main concern is the constant swelling and spasms around the right TMJ. When I say spasms, I mean serious, chronic, 24/7 crazy spasms and/or tightness that make me want to just rip my jaw out. There's also a pop everytime I open my mouth.

So my questions are:

1. How long did you wear the orthotic for until your muscles became 'happy'?
MountainReader (an active member on this board who was kind enough to share her story with me) said it took her 6 months, but I'm curious to know about others, as everyone's different.

2. How was your journey like?
Did you see a big improvement very quickly?
Or did you get better gradually?
Did you feel more discomfort first before feeling better?

Thanks in advance.

 
Old 05-04-2012, 08:39 AM   #2
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the ear spasms - I know how insane that can drive a person and for me they are only intermittant! I have had extremely severe TMJ symptoms and am one of the most extreme cases my doctors/dentists have seen. Have experienced intense headaches, muscular pain all over head, jaw, neck shoulders, muscle spasms, light and sound sensitivity...all the other usual suspects as well!

Things were quite bad when I went into my orthotic (a permanent, lower one) almost a year ago and things worse before they got better. It took about 5 to 6 months for me to start to see results. I went in the splint in June and by November, I started to feel better. Although I was feeling much better, things were still a bit rocky and didn't fully stabilize as consistantly better until about 9 to 10 months. I would say the improvement was very slow for me and also very erratic - it's not one consistant slow movement forward. It's more up and down, but the overall trajectory is toward improvement. This can be frustrating because, while you are in it, this can look and feel like healing and improvement isn't happening, but it is.

I just got my braces yesterday and now it looks like I'm in for another rocky period, which is difficult after finally starting to feel good for the first time in ages. At least I now know that this process works for me, which I didn't going into the splint, and that makes all the difference in the world.

I wish you the best in your recovery. If you have a rocky road, try to keep Mountain Reader and I in mind (I know I kept her timeline in mind as I went through my difficult period in the splint and it really helped) and know that you can get there - it may not be the easiest of roads but it can get easier and your health can improve.

Here's to that!

Melissa

Last edited by Administrator; 11-27-2013 at 02:26 AM.

 
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

I'm 5 weeks in and seeing very little improvement. Maybe a little reduction in intensity but still severe facial pain.

While some have gotten some pain relief in a few months, It seems that 6 months is more the norm for significant pain reduction.

I do want to hear from others about their recovery timeline.

 
Old 05-06-2012, 06:54 PM   #4
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Hi Melissa,

Thank you so so so much for sharing your experience with your orthotic, it's so helpful for people like me and jbuilder2 who are just starting out! I have a better idea of what to expect. I could imagine one stopping treatment if improvements are not seen in 2 or 3 months. But after reading yours and MountainReader's experience, I know I'm going to be determined to keep my orthotic on for at least 6 months or more if needed.

Thank you again, and I wish you all the best for your Phase 2 journey!

Others who have gone through this treatment, jbuilder2 and I would love to hear from you!

Last edited by MissyJ; 05-06-2012 at 06:55 PM.

 
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Keep in mind that there are other factors involved in helping get your muscles "happy" while going through splint therapy.

-Your timeline may be quicker if you have a good balanced diet. My Orthodontist stressed this on every visit. He really stresses the importance of spinach. Kind of ironic though since I couldn't chew it at all with the splint in place. Smoothies are a good way to go there.
-My Orthodontist provided referrals to other specialists to support my splint therapy. I couldn't afford everything he recommended, but I knew it woulde have helped progress my treatment faster. Seeing a cranio-sacrial chiropractor is often recommended and has helped several others on this board. I chose to see a physical therapist who was specially trained to work on my neck and shoulder area and who was trained in orofacial trigger point work. The trigger point therapy was a critical support in my treatment. While the releases hurt quite a bit, I know they helped me in my timeline.
-Muscle relaxers may help you get through some of the worst of the spasms.
-Ask your orthodontist what other treatments they offer. Mine offered me ultrasound and trigger point work as part of my treatment. He worked on different trigger points than my PT though. He also offered antioxident testing, biomodulator treatment and ozone/oxygen therapy as well.
-exercise and working on proper posture is also helpful. This one was very difficult for me at times. With the TMJD and muscle spasms, the head often ends up in a forward position. As treatment progresses, working on proper posture can be a good support.

Good luck with your treatment.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:46 AM   #6
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Hi,
Years ago I wore a twin block appliance to advance my mandible and it worked great and totally alleviated my symptoms. But, I couldn't afford to follow it up with any tooth straightening. Now I can but from having problems before, I didn't want to take any chances with having my teeth straightened in a way that would mess up my bite, so I am still doing the TENS/orthotic route.

I absolutely hate the TENS machine, I just don't like any feelings of being out of control. But the orthotic itself is fine. I've had it for three months. I had a lot of trouble speaking clearly with it at first, and even not talking I felt like my tongue had something under it and it made it feel strained and sore. And the teeth apart, lips together thing was totally hard, too. I wasn't used to that much vertical space. I also kept chomping down on my tongue and cheeks. Now it's totally fine. My speech is normal, I can eat anything, and it actually feels good to have it in. The last professional event I went to, I took it out, and didn't like having it out, so I plan to stop taking it out for special things, don't see the need to do so.

I think if someone were experiencing TMJ symptoms when they first got this, it would take longer to adjust because your muscles would already be sore and strained.

 
Old 05-08-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

MountainReader,

Thank you for the suggestions! I have some postural issues as well so I totally understand the importance of supplementary treatments in conjunction with the orthotic. However, I live in Malaysia, and while we have good doctors here for other specialties, I haven't seen anyone who treats or really understands TMD here. Your physical therapist sounds awesome and I wish I could find someone like that to do orofacial trigger point work for me.

I do go to a chiropractor who does the traditional cracking to the neck and hips. While he does a good job with my C3 and C4 (which were badly out of alignment when I first went to him), I would really like to have an AO or NUCCA chiropractor have a look at my atlas (I have a feeling it's not in good shape as well). Unfortunately, non of these are available here.
My chiropractor does some utrasound, dry needling and the kinesio taping sometimes, but I'm not too sure about the effectiveness of those.

I did come across a place here the other day though, something called Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. Tried googling and youtubing to see what it is but I'm still having a hard time trying to really understand how it works. It is something that I want to look into sometime though.

Thanks again, your posts are always so helpful!

Last edited by Administrator; 11-27-2013 at 02:26 AM.

 
Old 05-08-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Hi bobbiesgirl,

Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm 9 days into my orthotic now. Yes the first few days were totally weird, eating and talking with it on. After about 5 days the eating was ok, but I'm still having some trouble speaking with it. There's a gap between the front teeth when I close my mouth, so I can't pronounce the 'S' sounds properly. I will have to ask my dentist to see if this can be adjusted in my next visit.

What were your symptoms? And do you know what caused you to have these symptoms?

So now that you've been wearing your orthotic for three months, what would you say about the progress? Has it made any difference to your symptoms and how? Has the pain level decreased/increased/or stayed the same?

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbiesgirl View Post
Hi,
Years ago I wore a twin block appliance to advance my mandible and it worked great and totally alleviated my symptoms. But, I couldn't afford to follow it up with any tooth straightening. Now I can but from having problems before, I didn't want to take any chances with having my teeth straightened in a way that would mess up my bite, so I am still doing the TENS/orthotic route.

I absolutely hate the TENS machine, I just don't like any feelings of being out of control. But the orthotic itself is fine. I've had it for three months. I had a lot of trouble speaking clearly with it at first, and even not talking I felt like my tongue had something under it and it made it feel strained and sore. And the teeth apart, lips together thing was totally hard, too. I wasn't used to that much vertical space. I also kept chomping down on my tongue and cheeks. Now it's totally fine. My speech is normal, I can eat anything, and it actually feels good to have it in. The last professional event I went to, I took it out, and didn't like having it out, so I plan to stop taking it out for special things, don't see the need to do so.

I think if someone were experiencing TMJ symptoms when they first got this, it would take longer to adjust because your muscles would already be sore and strained.

 
Old 05-09-2012, 06:39 AM   #9
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Well, when I was a teenager, I started having headaches, and I got glasses which made seeing the blackboard a little easier but had nothing to do with my headaches. And it hurt to close my mouth, and chew, and I had lots of clicks and pops. I think what caused it is I wore a retainer thing in grade school that I think was supposed to restrict my upper jaw from growing, but it sort of overdid, and so I had to deliberately kind of suck my lower jaw in to chew, and after a while that got to be sort of "normal" for me, but it wasn't "normal" and didn't hold up. My parents never actually took me to a proper orthodontist and I don't think the dentist who was trying to fix my bite was really qualified to work on me.

The twin block is actually what relieved my symptoms, and loosened stuff up so I could chew with my jaw forward. After I got adjusted to the appliance all the symptoms went away.The only problem really was that I couldn't afford to follow up the twin block treatment, so my teeth never really got lined up, so I didn't have good contacts when I was chewing with my jaw in the comfortable place. I end up chewing on my front teeth a lot, or mooshing things around with my tongue, and this is just a matter of I can afford to get this all finished up now so why not be able to chew properly? Plus I never got the cosmetic aspect of my front teeth addressed.

When I saw the orthodontist she checked my bite and it was really inconsistent, thus the orthotic. It was kind of uncomfortable the first week, but then she made some adjustments and it was fine. I didn't have any jaw or neck soreness after about the first week and a half. I think what I had was caused actually by my tongue feeling so crowded, the effort of speaking clearly, etc. I won't be surprised if we start moving teeth at my next appointment. I'll get cutouts in the orthotic for molar brackets, and brackets on my upper molars, and then my molars will get pulled into contact with the elastics. I have to wear the orthotic through that to protect my teeth that are coming up, and to keep the top teeth from coming down.

 
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:22 AM   #10
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Hi, I just wanted to give an update since we're doing things in a different order now and I don't want to leave inaccurate info hanging out. I have my orthotic still and also yesterday I got an ALF appliance on top. It is also removable, and pretty comfortable, but I sound really funny talking and am a little worried that my speech does not seem to have improved at all. So no pain, just humiliation. But anyway, this is going to bring the top teeth into the right position, and then we'll start bringing the bottom teeth up to match the biting surface.

 
Old 06-28-2012, 07:11 PM   #11
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Thanks for sharing. My doctor wanted me to do ALF therapy when I got my repositioning splint, but I just couldn't afford it. He really believes in its effectiveness.

When I first got my splint it was tough on my speech. I got razzed a lot about it. My dental office told me to read out loud for a while until I could get my speech closer to a normal state. I still have a slight issue with some sounds, but overall I adapted well.

With time and practice, hopefully you will have the same success.
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: How long did you wear your orthotic/splint for before your muscles became 'happy'

Thanks! At least it doesn't distort my vowels like the twin block did. My lower orthotic didn't take long to get used to talking with. Right now my lisp is very pronounced, and I have problems with all the dental consonants and "n". I have figured out how to say them but when I go to put them in actual words and sentences it doesn't work out very well.

 
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