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  • 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

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    Old 08-21-2016, 01:19 PM   #1
    austinbobcat
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    5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hello, I got diagnosed with TMJ about a 13 months. My front teeth were not touching, and I felt my molars hitting too close. My back, neck, and ears were hurting, and I felt pressure behind my right ear. I asked my dentist for an MRI, and the MRI showed that I have mild bilateral anterior meniscal dislocation with recapture upon jaw opening. I have a stretched ligament on the right side of my face. It took me a while though to find a doctor that would be able to help me. I had a consultation with an oral surgeon (maxillofacial), and he did x-rays and ct scans. After reviewing these and my MRI, he said I did not need surgery, but I needed to wear a splint. I was seeing a TMJ dentist, but I switched because he was not very optimistic with the outcome of splint therapy. He told me that I need joint surgery! I talked to the oral surgeon that had seen me earlier and asked him for a recommendation for a different TMJ specialist. Then I had a different consultation with an oral maxillofacial surgeon to review my MRI and ask him about my new TMJ specialist. He said he as a good one. He also agreed that I did not need joint surgery. Well I'm seeing a different TMJ specialist, and I got my orthotic appliance ($4,300.00) in March and I am feeling about 60% better. I was taking 600 mg Ibuprofen 3 times a day, and I am down to 200 mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day. I also take .5 mg of Klonopin to get by. He thinks that by October I may be able to move into phase 2. The only thing that I am worried is that my right ear is very sensitive to sound. I talked to him about this, and he said that my eardrum is sensitive because everything that is healing is close to my eardrum. I taught for 8 years and had to quit my job. I'm currently looking for a job that does not require me to talk too much. Hopefully, they'll overlook my orthotic and hire me because of my qualifications. God Bless You All!! TMJ sucks!!! Sorry for venting

     
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    Old 08-21-2016, 06:06 PM   #2
    MountainReader
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    I wore a TMJ orthotic for about 17 months I had relief in about 3 months and was close to 'normal' in 6 months. I had quite a few adjustments to the orthotic in the early months.

    My symptoms manifested as ear problems. I was told there are only a few mm between the ear and the TMJ. Part of my pain was the jaw being 'pushed' back towards my ear due to the slipped disk. The other part was the constant muscle spasm I was in since the muscles were trying to compensate for the jaw being out of place.

    I highly recommend having some PT or craniosacral work during the time you are in the splint. Having some gentle manual work on the face/neck/shoulders done regularly, also helps 'loosen' the muscles to allow the jaw to be in a more natural positioning. I found the splint therapy much more effective when I started in with therapy a couple times a week.

    My treatment was slower because of the expense, but I was back to being in a fairly normal place after about 4.5 years after treatment started. Treatment 'ended' about 3 years ago. I still have to watch for when the muscles start tightening back up and be aggressive in treating it so I don't relapse. Still, after so very long in intense pain, I'm very happy now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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    Old 08-22-2016, 11:23 AM   #3
    austinbobcat
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Thank you Mountain Reader! I am so happy you are doing better! I am doing much better with my splint. But I still have to take Ibuprofen 3 times a day because of my ear discomfort. I had an appointment with and ENT last year and said ears were fine. I just hope my disc goes back in place. My TMJ specialist said he was confident that I would be ready for phase II in October. All of my teeth are now touching the orthotic, and he said that was a good sign of my jaw reaching optimum position. I told him I was feeling better, but that I still had a bit of pain. I'm currently looking for a job. So once I get one, I'll have insurance and money to pay for physical therapy (: Never in my life did I see this coming. I'm glad you replied to my post. It's great to hear success stories (: Have a blessed day!

     
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    Old 08-25-2016, 09:38 PM   #4
    keepindafaith
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hey, good to hear you're feeling good. I got my orthotic back in June after about a year of suffering, at first it was uncomfortable and I had little hope that it would work so I didn't wear it much but then started wearing it mainly nights and got some relief, anyways, I went back and got an adjustment now it doesn't feel comfortable, and my jaw kind of hurts with it in? I told them about it and I guess they're going to look into it next week, have you ever had anything happen like this? Is it supposed to be somewhat of a great discomfort at times?

     
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    Old 08-27-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    When you say 60% better do you get painfree periods or is it that the intensity has decreased. Do you have to be totally painfree to go to phase 2

     
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    Old 09-07-2016, 02:58 PM   #6
    austinbobcat
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hi Keepinthefaith, I've been wearing orthotic for 5 months, and my pain has subsided. I'm not pain free -- I take ibuprofen (200 mg 3 X day and klonopin .5mg once a day). My tmj specialist and oral surgeon said the endpoint of splint therapy would be when my lower teeth evenly contact the splint as my jaw is closed and my TMJs have stable hinge axis movements. My lower teeth are now evenly contacting the splint, but my right ear is still sensitive to sound. I'm due to go see my tmj specialist soon. Before splint therapy my pain was bad. I could barely make it out of my bed to work. I wasn't able to sleep, I missed quite a few days at work, and had several doctors appointments to find out what was wrong with me. I diagnosed myself when I googled all of my symptoms!! Now, I think I'm getting better at a slow rate. I'm currently looking for a job where I'm not required to talk too much. I had to resign my teaching job. God Bless!

     
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    Old 09-07-2016, 03:57 PM   #7
    austinbobcat
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hi Coconanna, the intensity of pain has decreased. I feel hopeful I won't have to file for disability. Last year, I was in so much pain I did not feel like existing. I got depressed because of my chronic pain. I finished the school year teaching with ibuprofen and klonopin. I did not find relief until I got my orthotic. I am still not pain free, but my pain has subsided. My neck, upper shoulders, and upper back do not bother me as much. I'm able to lay down in my bed and not feel the pain. Before the orthotic, I couldn't find any position that would give me some relief. I had to quit my teaching job, and I'm now looking for one that is not so stressful and does not require too much talking. My TMJ specialist thinks I should be ready for phase II in October, but I don't think I am because I still have ear symptoms in my right ear. I am also seeing a different Oral Surgeon Maxillofacial in a couple of weeks that is also interested in my case. He's also a Medical Doctor and I have heard really good things about him. I pray to God that my health is in the hands of the best and knowledgeable doctors. God Bless!

     
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    Old 09-14-2016, 04:38 PM   #8
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hello Austinbobcat! I'm glad to hear you are experiencing relief, that is amazing.

    I was curious about your orthotic and had a few questions if that is ok?

    It is a neuromuscular orthotic?
    How often do you wear it?
    Is it flat or does it have ridges?
    Worn on upper or bottom?

    I like that your oral surgeon and your TMJ specialist are working together, it makes sense to me that multiple professionals should be involved in this process, although that seems to be rare.

    My situation is similar to Mountainreader's in that most of my TMJ symptoms have been ear related. I was told maybe 1-2 years ago that my random instances of extreme ear pain were TMJ, but only to stop chewing my cheeks and not chew gum. No warning that it could get worse over time. After an iCAT scan, I found out that it has indeed been getting worse over time without my knowledge. My left condyle now looks like a "dog leg" in shape and has been slowly flattening out.

    A recent root canal made everything worse, and now I'm pretty sure my discs have slipped and the left may be anteriorly displaced with a possible lock :/

    I am terrified of progressing to the point of chronic pain, so I'm trying to get ahead of this and take action while I still have the functionality to make an informed choice.

    Mountainreader and Austinbobcat, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm very tired of being stuck between doctors who can't agree on one safe way to treat this TMJ beast. It's us who end up suffering because of it!

    Thank you!

     
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    Old 09-16-2016, 01:23 PM   #9
    austinbobcat
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Hi RA1745, I have been wearing my TMJ orthotic for about 6 months now. I wear my splint on my upper teeth, and the lower teeth are now evenly contacting the splint. Which is a good sign because my pain has subsided. I don't have the upper back and neck pain that I had 6 months ago. My splint is clear and has ridges and wraps all of my upper teeth. With the splint I am creating an ideal bite where my front teeth touch and not my molars. About a year ago my bite changed where my molars were touching and not my front teeth. My TMJ specialist had to make adjustments to my splint a couple a days ago, and I had to leave the splint in his lab overnight. I was really nervous about doing this, but when I removed it my pain did not come back and I noticed that my molars were not hitting too much in the back. The next day when I went back I told him about this and he said my discs were slipping back to their place. My discs recapture when I open my jaw. I wore my TMJ orthotic 24/7 for 6 months, and I'm still wearing it. He thinks I'll be ready for braces soon. I also see another Oral Surgeon Maxillofacial here in Austin (2nd opinion) to see what he says. He's a top doctor and he has taken an interest in my case. He wants to schedule another MRI to see where my discs are before I go into phase II. I've also been told my TMJ specialist, Oral surgeon maxillofacial #1, and oral surgeon maxillofacial #2 that I made need to do jaw realignment. They can't tell right now until I get my braces on. I know what you are talking about. It took me months to finds doctors that actually understood my disorder. I currently have a super sensitive eardrum that I can not wait to get rid off. It's gotten a bit better, but it's frustrating and I am afraid of loosing my hearing on my right ear. I have an appointment with oral surgeon #2 this Thursday and I'll ask him if there's any medication that can help my ear. He's also a medical doctor, so I'm hoping he can shed some light on this. I already went to an ENT and he said my ears were fine. In addition, I went to a hearing doctor and she also said my hearing was fine. TMJ is hard to live with, but I think I'm finally having some relief. My TMJ specialist also made an adjustment to splint because he realized that I was hitting hard on my right side. I'll be seeing him in two weeks to check on my right ear. Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Last year I was at the point of not wanting to exist. I have three kids that are my inspiration and keep me moving forward.

    My TMJ got really bad in January and February that I was having a really hard time opening my mouth. I felt that my mouth was literally closing down every day. After I got the TMJ orthotic I noticed that I my range of motion started to get better.

    God Bless you!!!

     
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    Old 01-05-2022, 08:36 AM   #10
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    Re: 5 months of wearing TMJ orthotic appliance

    Iím trying to understand you said you felt close to normal after 6 months but then said you didnít feel completely normal until 4.5 years after treatment began. please elaborate on this as Iím 3 months in with my orthotic.

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    Originally Posted by MountainReader View Post
    I wore a TMJ orthotic for about 17 months I had relief in about 3 months and was close to 'normal' in 6 months. I had quite a few adjustments to the orthotic in the early months.

     
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