I was recently diagnosed with TMJ. This is a direct result of having intubation for surgery to remove my gall bladder on July 11 of this year. I can only open my mouth part way, and many times have popping, cracking, etc., in my jaw. If anyone has this problem, I would appreciate you sharing how you deal with everything. Please share your thoughts and solutions with me.
Last edited by moderator2; 09-23-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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Welcome to the boards! I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your jaw. If you are experiencing a lot of clicking within your jaw joint you most likely have a displaced disc. This just means the disc has moved from its proper position within the joint space. The clicking is when the disc moves in and out of its correct position. The disc can be injured/displaced in many ways but some include direct injury to the head/face, whiplash from car accidents, and bad dental work.
Please try and make an appointment with a tmj specialist. They will need to do x rays and an mri of your jaw joints to really get a picture of what has happened to your joint/discs. This should be your first step.
Please remember to avoid surgery at all costs. Surgery has a very high fail rate due to the complexity of the joint and the numerous nerves in the joint space and surrounding areas. You can read on these boards from people who have undergone surgery and had negative results.
Once you have the imaging done and have a clear picture of what has happened to your joints see what your doctor suggests for treatment. Be sure to ask TONS of questions and arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can. You may want to consult with a few other specialists in your area and get other opinions. You may find you like one specialist more than the others. Just remember there is not one standard of treatment for jaw issues and you will find doctors have very different treatment methods.
While waiting for your appointment with a specialist try to use moist heat on your jaw and eat very soft foods. An anti-inflammatory medicine will also help reduce some of the inflammation.
Please also understand that when there is damage to the tmj joint on either side, this is a degenerative condition and will become worse over time without proper treatment. I just don't want you to wait on looking for treatment in hopes it will heal on its own. In most cases the discomfort and pain will get worse. I have had this condition for 7 years now and it has only recently become very painful, and I have years to go until I get it fully resolved.
Wishing you the best,
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Thank you for your response! I know that mine came from intubation when I had surgery in July of this year. My dentist told me that TMJ is my problem and was caused as a direct result of intubation. Also my oral surgeon has told me the same thing. Both have advised me not to have an operation on my jaw, and that sometimes the best course of action is perhaps to do nothing at all. Night guard did not help me. Heating pad works for me, as does a tylenol. The cracking and popping has let up considerably since I have been applying heat.
I can not afford to have any MRI's or other tests as my insurance does not cover for things like TMJ. There is a doctor that has a clinic for TMJ disorder near me and I am going to see if they can help me. I understand that they use massage therapy. I belong to a support group for TMJ disorder and they have given me many helpful suggestions. I know that I will have this problem the rest of my life. I have to learn to live with it.
I just don't like the fact that my mouth only opens part way. That is pretty disheartening, to say the least.
Thank you - I hope to have some more responses from anyone out there. I appreciate it more than you know.
Last edited by moderator2; 09-24-2012 at 06:07 PM.
My TMJ specialist told me that he thought intubation had been the trigger for my TMJ as well. I had 2 surgeries in the year my TMJ symptoms appeared. It took me a lot of months to figure out my diagnosis.
Massage and trigger point releases can be a tremendous too. That in combination with a lower repositioning splint really helped me.
If you don't mind my asking, what is the splint and how does it work. I am interested in everything and anything and I appreciate it so much. No one understands unless they have the condition themselves. Some days are horrible, other days are so good it is hard to believe you have the condition. That has been my experience anyway. We have a TMJ clinic that has opened up in the next town from where I live. I am going to call them today and make an appointment to see if they can help me. Thank you for your your input!
If you don't mind my asking, what is the splint and how does it work. I am interested in everything and anything and I appreciate it so much. No one understands unless they have the condition themselves. Some days are horrible, other days are so good it is hard to believe you have the condition. That has been my experience anyway. We have a TMJ clinic that has opened up in the next town from where I live. I am going to call them today and make an appointment to see if they can help me. Thank you for your your input! I welcome all hints and thoughts. I never realized how many people had this disorder, and really never knew what it was until I woke up one morning about a month after my operation and there it was.
Splint therapy can vary from specialist to specialist. There are different types of splints out there and as you can see from the other postings on this board, people receive differing kinds of splints. For many of us with TMJD, splint therapy is part of Phase I treatment.
Most common appears to be a mandibular repositioning splint, some people have upper ones. Mine was a lower one. The official name was a lower mandibular repositioning splint. The orthodontist took molds and designed the splint to put my jower jaw into a "correct" position. It has "bumps" on the top of the splint that align with my upper teeth when I bit down. In my case, I had to bring my jaw a bit forward and to the right in order to be in correct positioning. As my TMJ muscles (facial muscles) loosened from their constant spasm, the bite became more "natural".
I was a bit unusual in that I wore 2 splints during the first phase of my treatment. I also had a splint I wore at night that had a wedge that came down behind my lower teeth to keep my jaw from falling back when I slept.
Reading through the multitude of threads on these boards should answer some questions for you, help you think of all of the questions you may have and help you see what did and didn't work for the various board members. You have found a good resource.
The best book I found that provides great information on everything TMJ is called The TMJ Healing Plan by Cynthia Peterson. You might find it a good resource as well.