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Old 06-02-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

I suffer from tmj and have pain and ear fullness only on the right side of my face. I also have a deep overbite in which my bottom teeth slightly hit my upper gums. I have been diagnosed with the recommendation phase 1 splint therapy and then phase 2 as either braces or crowns which in either case will cost thousands of dollars.

I wanted to ask if anyone knows of a doctor that has had success correcting a bite just using splint therapy and keeping the cost down. Thanks

 
Old 06-02-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

I too had right ear stuffiness and pain that led to my TMJD diagnosis.

Phase I splint treatment helped my tremendously. When it came time to discuss what to do next, my orthodontist gave me 4 options:
  1. braces/ orthodontics
  2. crowns
  3. keep wearing the repositioning splint
  4. stop wearing the splint and see how I do

I couldn't afford the braces at the time so I chose to keep wearing the splint until I was ready. I'm now in Phase II with braces. I chose to go that route because it was important to me to permanently keep my jaw in a forward position away from my ear. In addition to the stuffiness (my ear didn't pop for over a year) and pain, I ended up with hearing loss. I didn't want to lose any more hearing.

As for choosing braces over crowns, I chose for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to keep my teeth as natural as possible. Second, by adjusting my arch, my bite will be much healthier.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #3
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

Thanks! Do you know what type of splint they gave you? Currently I an have an upper Hawley unloading splint mouth guard u wear at night that prevents the back teeth from touching. Also i notice alot of people seem to suffer from ear clicking on the right side. Do you think it matters which side you lay your head when you sleep? Thanks again great input. They want to charge me $400 in consultation to take a 3D tomography X-ray before getting started. Not sure what to do but hoping maybe like you get a splint made until I can afford the next phase.

 
Old 06-03-2012, 07:06 PM   #4
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

With TMJD, I think it is actually best to sleep on your back. I've been told that sleeping on my stomach was actually the worst position.

I wear an acrylic lower mandibular repositioning splint. I had one that I wore for years from my dentist for the clenching/grinding, but later found out it actually contributed to my TMJD. The lower mandibular repositioning splint is designed to encourage my bite to settle into a "correct" more forward position. I wear it over my lower teeth. It has "bumps" on the top that match up to my upper teeth. In order to bite down, I have to bring my lower jaw a bit forward and to the right for the teeth to align correctly. I've had the splint long enough now that it is now a "natural" bite for me.

I'm certainly no expert and have learned from my own personal experience. Based upon my reasearch, it appears that the Hawley splint is more designed to help with bruxing issues. That is good to help protect your teeth, but it doesn't appear that it actually addresses correction of your TMJD.

I am a severe bruxer. Until I got my braces, at night I also wore a custom nighttime splint designed with a special "wedge" that held my lower jaw forward when I slept and that wouldn't allow me to clench down while I was sleeping.

I found a great book that is fairly inexpensive that gives lots of practical advice you can do on your own to help with your tmjd. It might give you some ideas to help yourself until you can afford further treatment. It is called The TMJ Healing Plan by Cynthia Peterson. It actually discusses correct sleeping positions, amungst other things. It actually had descriptions of proper sleeping positions, types of pillows and proper positioning of pillows. It might be worth looking into.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

Thanks, I will check out that book. Also I have an appointment set up for this wed. They want to do an icat for $380 and then get an upper anterior repositioning splint made for $2,180 with 6 months of visits. They said it will be worn in the evening and a night. You have a lot of history with tmj. Does this seem like typical costs and treatment. Ive never had a repositioning jaw splint. Not sure of the risks. I dont know if i could use this and skip braces. Cant stop my jaw pushing into my right ear.

 
Old 06-04-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

Hi. I typed a nice long response and lost it before I could get it sent. I hate when that happens.

I'm no expert. I just know what I've learned from my own experience and research. There are some things I would encourage you to ask your dentist before making your final decision.

Anterior repositioning splints are fairly common based upon my internet research. Will your upper anterior repositioning splint have a wedge or ramp on it? If so, that will help hold your lower jaw in a forward position while you sleep which is what you want. If not, ask how the splint will help your jaw come forward while you sleep. People naturally have their jaw fall back when they sleep.

A question to ask: Why will you only be wearing a splint at night? Won't your jaw be going back into it's "normal" incorrect bite during the day? Won't your different day positioning "undo" some of the progress you make at night?

Most repositioning splints are worn 24/7 for at least 3 months to get the muscles to loosen and get your lower jaw used to the forward positioning. My dentist wouldn't even let me take the splint off even to eat because he said it would put my jaw into incorrect positioning during that time and that would be detrimental to my progress.

As for cost, based upon my experience your CT cost is much less than mine was but your splint pricing is higher. Overall, it is probably a wash with what I paid in total.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

Maybe I should have shared my total splint treatment.

I have been wearing a lower mandibular repositioning splint for 2 years now. My jaw was in proper positioning and I was ready for braces after about 6 months. I took longer because I had to come up with money for further treatment.

Because of my severe bruxing and my issues with my lower jaw pushing back to my ears, I also got a customized nighttime splint. I switched to it when I went to bed. It had a "beak" on the front that kept my bite in the same positioning as my daytime splint. It also had a wedge in the front that fell behind my lower teeth and kept my lower jaw from falling back. It felt very wierd at first, but I LOVED it because it eventually kept me from bruxing and it kept my jaw forward and helped me with my ear problems. I had a very hard time when I had to give that splint up when I got my upper braces because it worked so very well.
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Tmj, can bite be corrected without braces or crowns

I was diagnosed with TMJ last summer after having a root canal done by a specialist (wish my own dentist had done it). I got an infection from it and was put on antibiotics, after that I had an inner ear ache on my right side. That summer I also had several crowns put on. My dentist said I had TMJ and made a little molded device to wear at night over/between my front teeth to keep from grinding and touching my back teeth. He also told me to get a pad (for you back as it is bigger) that you heat in the microwave and then law on it on the right side (TMJ side), and do it several times a day. It eventually went away, but my dentist said it can come back as he has the same thing.

 
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