Originally Posted by Memory39
I have tmj that is muscular in nature. It doesn't
Hurt bad but aches around my jaw and I get tension headaches constantly. I have had it for 3 years!
My dentist who is great made me a night guard that I wear religiously, and it has helped a lot but still my bite is not completely stable. He has recommended seeing an orthodontist to help align my bite properly and end it forever potentially.
Does anyone have experience getting braces to help alleviate tmj issues. I'm a bit worried because I have heard it can make it worse. I just want to get rid of it completely. It is a constant annoying ache!
I have done many physical therapy attempts, acupuncture ect, nothing works permanently. I work on computer a lot, but have taken time off and still is there.
I'm sort of hoping that the orthodontics will actually help...
Any advice or related experience is greatly appreciated.
I'm in braces right now for TMJD. It is part of Phase II of my orthodontic treatment.
It is really important to see an orthodontist who has a lot of training in TMJ treatment and who really understands the function of a bite. The average orthodontist really doesn't have the training you really need. At a minimum, I recommend that you find a good Functional Orthodontist or a Neuromuscular Orthodontist.
I wouldn't recommend starting straight with braces for treatment. You really need to get your muscles loosened up and much "happier" before your start braces.
I had a dentist who made me a night guard that I wore for years. I thought I was doing the right thing. By the time I developed my TMJD issues and found a properly trained orthodontist, I found out that while the guard was protecting my teeth it was also throwing my jaw a bit off while I was sleeping by pushing my lower jaw back a bit.
My orthodontist fitted me with a lower mandibular repositioning splint. It is designed to be worn 24/7. It has "bumps" on top which align with your top teeth. The splint encourages you to find your proper bite. As you become accustomed to the proper bite, your muscles will loosen up. I also did some PT with orofacial trigger point releases which supplemented the splint.
After some months in the lower splint, when my bite was in better positioning naturally, I discussed my options with my orthodontist. Braces were one of the options we discussed and they were the best option for me I believe. In my case, my lower discs had slipped forward resulting in my lower jaw being pushed back and causing me major ear pain/stuffiness/hearing loss and muscular issues in my face, neck and shoulder. The goal of my braces is to help me establish my bite in a permenant forward jaw position to keep me from having those former problems. So far, I'm finding my treatment appears to be working well. I'm 14 months into a 2 year treatment. I actually wore my lower splint for 11 months with my upper braces while my upper arch was getting into position. I was so comfortable with it that it was a major adjustment to live without it. I'm getting there though.
There are a variety of braces out there as well. I'm in self-ligating braces. They have doors in them that allow the wires to be positioned and hold it in place without ligs. They apply forces different than traditional braces. My particular brand are called Damon and they now come in clear for upper and lower if that is a concern for you.
There is a great book out there on TMJD and strategies to help that I highly recommend also. It is called The TMJ Healing Plan
by Cynthia Peterson, PT. It gives you a lot of information on what more you can do on your own in addition to information to help you through your journey in seeking treatment.