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Splint joint damage and ear symptoms

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Old 01-31-2003, 07:12 AM   #1
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Al4 HB User
Question Splint joint damage and ear symptoms

I very reluctantly wore occlusal splint (heavy and thick transparent mouth guard) on my upper teeth at night and day after my doctor convinced me to give it a try for ear symptoms. I did not have any jaw symptoms. I read the splint could cause problems, but they convinced me that it would not, because they would adjust it if it does not feel right. I started with ear ringing, ear pressure and vertigo, and NO jaw or joint symptoms at all. Now, in addition to the ear symptoms which have not improved, the splint seem to have caused bad TM joint problems, including jaw clicking and other noises, sore and painful jaw muscles, temple pain, uncomfortable bite that does not fit, tender teeth and gums. Most of the damage must have been done at night, because it started with loud clicking noise when I woke up. For those who have tried splints, what kind has helped you? I am thinking of an NTI splint that fits on the front teeth only to ry to reverse the symptoms I got from the occlusal splint. Has anybody tried the NTI splint and did it work for you? What else has worked for you? Thank you for any info or help you may provide.


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Old 02-01-2003, 01:34 AM   #2
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Allusivepond HB User


I have an occlusional splint, which sits on my top teeth and is clear, i got it not for jaw problems but because my ears had constant ringing, and i felt nauseous all the time.

I have also noticed that my jaw clicks but only when i move it anti-clockwise.

I have had mine for about 6 months now with only slight inprovement, but that because I dont wear it enough.

Do you grind your teeth at night as this may be a reason why it seems to move and feel uncomfortable. Have you had it refitted since you got it.

Old 02-01-2003, 09:06 AM   #3
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Al4 HB User


Yes, I had it adjusted a few times. They tell me it is well adjusted for now. Most of the joint and jaw symptoms started soon after I began to wear the splint. They started on one side, and then moved to the other side after one of the adjustments. I think it was difficult to relax my jaw muscles with the bulky and thick splint in my mouth. I probably clinched on it very hard at night too as I grind my teeth (dentist opinion). I now wear it every two to three days. I am trying to find out whether a different kind of splint may be better for me. I hope you have better success with yours.

Old 02-01-2003, 02:09 PM   #4
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What is the name the very thin guard that fits over your bottom teeth. I may need to try something thin rather than my thick, bulky splint I now wear on my top teeth. I know what you mean about diagnosis. The guy that started these damn ear symptoms after doing dental surgery on my tooth is adamant they are TMJ-related. My ENT dismissed TMJ. I personally think it is the oto-toxic medication the surgical dentist prescribed that ruined my ears. Anyway, I end up going from the ear symptoms only before the splint therapy, to having all these jaw symptoms after wearing the splint. Now I am in a catch 22; whether to continue wearing my splint, try a different one, or stop altogether. I have read doing nothing for jaw symptoms may cause things to get worse. Thatís what happens when these dental surgeons are running from one patient to another and doing several procedures at the same time to maximize profits, instead of making sure they spend enough time with each patient and understand their individual cases.

Old 02-01-2003, 07:37 PM   #5
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Marlene HB UserMarlene HB UserMarlene HB UserMarlene HB User

Hi Al4,

Perhaps instead of a splint worn on your upper teeth, you may need one on your lower teeth instead? That's what happened to me!


Old 03-17-2003, 07:19 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2003
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pcal HB User

I am new to this message board, but find the information quite helpful. I too wore and occlusal
splint (reluctantly). I was assured that the results
would not cause permanent changes to my bite. I did
not wear it 24 x 7, as instructed. I could never get
comfortable wearing it for that long. Instead I wore
it for short blocks of time. The net result is that
it has cause the problem to worsen-- clicking in both
jaws now and occassional pain and tinnitis in the right ear. Worse is that my bottom teeth some are sometimes projected forward (further forward than my front teeth). I don't really know what to do next. I am now too scared and skeptical of dentist who appear to have all the answers (at least on the front-end). Anyone having similar
problems. Feedback greatly appreciated.

Old 03-18-2003, 07:31 AM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 213

Hey AI4,

Not sure if you can rule out TMJ! About 13 years ago, I woke up one morning and kept falling over. I went to an ENT and they mis-diagnosed me with Meniere's Disease (vertigo attacks)...I had a 40% hearing loss in my right ear and 35% in my left ear. I had no balance and a terrible ringing in my ears....felt like I was underwater most of the time too. It was miserable. My doc was pathetic in that he never looked anywhere else in my head to see what else was going on.

I went to the Dentist for my annual check-up and I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to clean my teeth...tada! I had lockjaw on both sides and had to have arthroscopy to correct the problem. After the joint calmed down post-surgery, the ringing stopped, the vertigo went away and my hearing now rivals a dog's.

So, in a nutshell, TMJ/joint issues affect your entire head...not just your jaw! It could make you congested feeling, cause tinitus etc....please get checked out with an MRI to make sure what's going on....the splint therapy will go a long way to calming things down!

Good luck!

Old 03-30-2003, 03:46 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 9
candicecat HB User

Regarding the oral splint, I have a negative story
to tell about an oral splint. My close friend
had TMJ pain and the dentist said she couldn't open her mouth as wide as she should. She finally had some money to go to a TMJ specialist who had an MRI done
which showed my friend had a damaged jaw joint and she had the start of wear to the other joint on the other side. He made her up a splint and then
one day (after about 2 months of wearing the splint often), she couldn't clench her teeth. This was very traumatic. Worse was yet to come. She stopped wearing
the splint and her jaw dislocated about 4 times since then and now she has an appointment to see an oral
surgeon. She didn't have the jaw dislocate before she wore the splint and I am really worried the splint
caused further damage to the jaw joints. The other thing I have been told by an alternative therapist (who I phoned) is that a high percentage of nerves go through or near the jaw joint. So one should try to avoid surgery. I wish my friend had never seen the specialist and had never got the splint. She is too young to have these awful problems (she is under 21).

Old 03-30-2003, 05:42 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 153
Michelle99 HB User

Hi Al,

I have been using NTI for a little over a year, and for the most part, my pain is under control. It's been kind of a long road. I wasn't one of those overnight success stories I read about. It took many follow up visits with my dentist to get to this point.

If you go with NTI, it's really important to communicate any changes in symptoms to your dentist and to work together to try to get improvement. When I first started using it, I felt worse. I was close to telling my dentist I didn't want to do it anymore. I'm glad I didn't, because I'm much better off now.

I use it every night, and I pop it in for a while during the day if I feel myself clenching, or if I am starting to feel pain. It really helps me.

Sometimes NTI users find that their bite changes as their condyles settle into a more stable position. My bite has become more open in the anterior. I have to decide if I want to do anything about that. Right now, I don't.

Good luck to you.

Old 03-30-2003, 08:23 PM   #10
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TiffanyAnn HB User

My first splint was one I wore on my top teeth. It was also one of those thick, clunky splints that I wore 24/7 and it made my TMJ much worse. The second splint was a tiny one which went on my top teeth, on the front 4 teeth. This one I wore only at night. That splint was awful and it was also dangerous. I woke up choking several times from nearly swallowing the splint. The one I have now goes over the bottom teeth. It is thinner and easier to use. It hasn't helped my TMJ much but I continue to wear it in hopes. I wear it only at night too.

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