3.5 months into my repositioning splint, and I have started popping again! Very exciting after being locked. But, I have some questions on other ppl's experiences.
(1) Sometimes I hear a cracking/grinding noise when I open wide. My dentist says this can happen, and it is the bones hitting since my disc is only partially recaptured. I never had this prior to treatment (well, I was locked so it was a whole different ball game). Anyway, I'm worried that eventually the bones will grind down and I'll end up with more problems than I already have now. My dentist seems to think that the joint noises are a lot better than where I was (locked jaw), so in my case, joint noises are a good thing and not to worry. But obviously, I'm worried. Should I go see a surgeon and see if they will refer me for a MRI so I can see what is going on? Or is that overkill?
(2) I am wondering if I will ever stop popping. I pop at about 30mm when I open. From the research I've done, this is kind of a mid-way popping, as opposed to an early or late click. Sometimes I have a reciprocal click when I close my mouth. Experiences? What are the chances of the disc stabilizing?
(3) Still some joint pain... trying to be patient here and thankful I can open my mouth... how long until your joint pain disappeared? Or do you have good days and bad days?
A lot of these are questions that you need to ask your dentist.
Personally, I haven't had any joint noises with my repositioning splint. I wore mine for about 26 months. While I found relief in the first several months, it was about 6 months before my muscles really released from their constant spasm and became happy with the forward position of the splint.
My Functional Orthodontist actually referred me for my MRI. In fact, he had only one imaging center he even trusted to do a good TMJ MRI and I had to travel a ways to get it done. If it is just an MRI you need, you might not need to see a surgeon. If you feel your TMJD issues warrant it, then I would seek out a surgical opinion.
I will share that I don't think my splint therapy would have been nearly as successful without the PT that I had in conjunction. It really made all the difference in the world. It helped my muscles loosen and allowed the splint to do its job better.
Thank you Mountain Reader! I don't see myself going for surgery anytime soon, if at all. My TMJ specialist doesn't think I would need it, and the thought of surgery really frightens me. So, if I got an MRI, what would I do with it? Probably nothing. I might ask my TMJ specialist what he thinks. He's out of network, so the problem is if he referred me, I doubt my insurance would cover it.
I am actually seeing a PT tomorrow for the first time! I am convinced that my body is out of alignment since a year ago when my daughter was born. Like, one hip is higher than the other? They work with TMJ patients so I am hopeful they can give me some pointers on things I can do to get better.
My PT regularly worked on my alignment as well. She also talked to me about how common it is for tmj to affect alignment and alignment to impact tmjd. For me, I needed adjustments to my neck, first rib, back and hips. (My PT recently left the practice and I'm seriously concerned because I haven't been able to find someone else trained like she was.)
For me, the MRI confirmed that my discs had slipped. Since I had ear symptoms and not jaw/teeth symptoms so it was important to confirm this. I needed to make sure I was seeking proper treatment. I don't think MRI's are absolutely necessary though if you have other obvious signs. Neither my health or dental insurance covered my TMJ stuff, but insurance did allow for the MRI and some PT for Cervicalgia and Myofascial pain (muscle spasms).
There is a good book that came out a little over a year ago. It covers tons of stuff that I had to learn the hard way before it was published. It has lots of information on a variety of topics from things you can do for yourself to types of questions you might want to ask to types of treatments that are available. It is written by a PT who specializes in TMJD. You might find it helpful. It is called: The TMJ Healing Plan: Ten steps to relieving headaches, neck pain and jaw disorders by Cynthia Peterson.
Ok - totally bizarre but follows exactly what you said, Mountain Reader. PT looked at my leg length, hips, ribs, shoulders, and explained to me how I was out of alignment. I did some exercises with her for my hips and I already feel better. How strange!!! Going once a week to see her for the next few weeks. She explained (like yours did) how alignment of the spine can impact TMJ problems.
Anyway, thank you mountain reader! I never would have thought about going to see a PT until reading a few of your posts on the TMJ Forum.