TMJ has affected my life in many debilitating ways for a number of years now. Anyways, I am only beginning to address this issue, and trying to take the first step is admittedly very very intimidating..
To get to my point, however..! My TMJD stems from misaligned bite (I have an overbite), bad posture, and bruxism. I am trying to address it by going directly to functional orthodontist, bypassing a splint therapy. The primary reason for this thinking is time issue. Ideally, I would like to take as much time as necessary to combat TMJD, but I cannot be tied down to a single place for years (school, job, etc.).
Would it be too dangerous to skip the NM splint therapy and go directly to an orthodontist?
Last edited by Administrator; 08-27-2012 at 05:39 PM.
That is certainly something to talk to your orthodontist about. It was my orthodontist who actually did my Phase I splint before I moved to braces. Honestly, I wouldn't have trusted a regular dentist to make a splint for me unless they were highly trained in tmjd treatment.
There is a reason they have braces as one of the options for Phase II of TMJ treatment though.
With splint therapy, you are able get the muscles in the jaw/face loosened up and allow your bite to adjust to a more natural "correct" positioning first. This phase is not permanent. Depending on your needs, the repositioning splint may not take all that long. Some people are ready to move to Phase II in as soon as 3 months. I think an average is about 6 months. This phase helped me get my TMJD symptoms under control.
My braces treatment would have been much more painful and difficult without first having the splint first.
Hi. I'm no expert, but I would say that going straight into orthodontics is not a good idea.
The idea of wearing an NM splint (phase 1) is to stabilize and reposition your jaw. If you become pain free after wearing the splint after a few months, then you know one thing: this is the correct position that you want your jaw in - the same position as the splint.
However, if you don't find relief with the splint after several months, then you'll know that this position is not working for you. You can then stop the treatment, and your jaw should more or less go back to its original position. In short, phase 1 is reversible.
If you skip this step and go straight into braces (phase 2), you're going to start moving your teeth without knowing if this is going to work!
Hi MountainReader and Missy. Thank you so much for your answers to my post (as well as to all the other posts..!). I appreciate your input.
Let me ask you all one more question. What kind of doctor perform both splint therapy and orthodontic treatments? The only NM doc I've seen does splint but not ortho. I'd imagine it's better if I can do both under the same doctor.
Last edited by Administrator; 11-27-2013 at 03:36 AM.
I find it strange that your NM dentist does splint therapy but not orthodontics. So what is his plan for you after your Phase 1 splint therapy? There are other ways to do Phase 2, but orthodontics seems to be a common choice. It does make sense to have the same dentist do both Phase 1 and Phase 2. So you might want to clarify this with him first.
About your question: "What kind of doctor performs both splint therapy and orthodontic treatments?" The short and not very helpful answer would be "a dentist" or "an orthodontist". Sad but true, because any dentist can make a splint for you, and any orthodontist can do braces for you. But will they help or will they make things worse? I personally went through 3 splints from different dentists previously that only made things worse.
The key is finding the correct person to treat you, like what MountainReader said, someone who is highly trained in TMJD. This is not easy and I would spend a lot time doing research. I previously kept on going to different general dentists and lots of dental specialists blindly, spending lots of money and not getting anything helpful at all. Most of them were genuinely nice people, but they just didn't know what to do with me besides prescribe me medication, or refer me to another specialist.
I'm not sure if the sticky on the top of the page called Great TMJ Doctors Thread will help you, but you could take a look.
Last edited by Administrator; 08-27-2012 at 05:42 PM.