Re: Going for Braces?
I actually had my ortho do my splint therapy before I got braces. Your right, it was hard to find a good one trained in TMJD treatment.
I wore my lower mandibular repositioning splint for over a year before I got my braces. My Ortho did another 3D Cone Beam scan (CT scan) to check on the positioning of my discs/bite in it's 'new' position that I was comfortable with from the splint before we even discussed moving forward with the braces.
Your splint has helped you with the opportunity to get those TMJ and facial muscles loosened up and happier. It isn't a cure, it just helps get most of the symptoms under control. I used a lot of trigger point releases, ultrasound, and therapy throughout my treatment as well. I still use the occassional muscle relaxer if i get a flare as well. Splint therapy doesn't cause any permanant changes.
Phase II treatment, braces for some of us, permanent changes are what you are wanting as a result with your bite in a new 'happier' position.
My orthodontist did a lot of testing and discussion of options with me before I decided on the braces. There are other options available to you as well.
I started with getting my upper braces and continued to wear my lower repositioning splint for the first 11 months while my upper arch developed into better positioning before I moved on from the splint to my lower braces. That was 26 months total in the lower splint. I'm now about 15 months into my braces treatment and so far, very pleased.
While braces and permanent bite changes are very serious and not a good decision for everyone, I've found the decision to be very good in my case.
It might be worth at least finding a couple orthodontists to consult with. I'd make sure they have extra training in treating TMJD. At the least, they should be Functional Orthodontists trained in treating the bite and not just straightening the teeth.
Asthma, Allergies, severe LPR/GERD, Anemia, TMJD, Hearing Loss, Ulnar Impaction Syndrome, Shoulder Impingement--both shoulders, Benign Joint Hypermobility, possible Ehlers Danlos Syndrome