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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

Cathyk...2 in. of popsicle sticks!??

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Old 05-19-2003, 04:47 PM   #1
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Red face Cathyk...2 in. of popsicle sticks!??


I read your post to Tiffany regarding your experiance through the MRI machine. You said they had to put 2 inches of popsicle sticks in your mouth to force it open. Well, I checked my ruler just to see how much or wide that would be in my gosh...I can't see how they will put 2 inches of that much sticks in my mouth because I can only get two finger width (barely)in my mouth. I am thinking it will probably be some discomfort in this position...what was your situation like? I would like some feedback on this, because I am planning on a MRI test soon...this thing sounds very uncomforable.

Would love to hear from you, and you have a good evening.


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Old 05-19-2003, 05:58 PM   #2
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Hi Sandi:
I think the only difference in the MRIs done is what method each facility uses. The facility I went to used the syringes where others use popsicle sticks or other methods to keep the mouth open. I am able to get my mouth open fairly wide but it is very difficult for me to keep it open for any length of time. The part where my mouth had to be open was about 15 minutes. It was uncomfortable but I kept thinking how much the MRI would assist my dentist in forming my treatment and that helped keep me focused. I might suggest you ask your dentist or doctor for some valium or something to sedate you during the procedure. I could have used it but it was Sunday and I knew it would be difficult to get ahold of my doctor and I just wanted to get it done.

Old 05-20-2003, 01:10 AM   #3
Cymy Sue
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Red face


2 inches is roughly 50 mm. That's considered a normal opening. I don't know many TMJD patients who can "Physically" manage this and if they can, it has to be terribly painful.

The pop-cycle stick or tongue depressor technique has been used since the 80's when they first used MRI's for TMJD diagnosis.

They do have to see your joint in an open position, usually. However, they can do this with whatever opening you can manage. Sometimes these people don't understand the "Opening Problem" and you may have to educate them.

I've had many MRI's in preparation for surgeries, with less than an inch opening. (19 to 24 mm) and this was a painful stretch. My surgeon always sent a note with the orders, "NOT" to force my mouth open wider than I could manage.

They can get the pictures they need with this small of an opening. Don't let them hurt you by forcing more than you can do.

Cymy Sue

Old 05-20-2003, 12:24 PM   #4
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cathyk HB User

hi sandi - the popsicle stick technique has been used for a number of years. I had my MRI done before anything was done to my TMJ - I was a newbie and trusted they knew exactly what they were doing. It hurt like heck afterwards for days with a major tension headache. (I didn't share that part with you Tiffany as I figured you may worry about your own upcoming MRI!) The tech messed up - it wasn't suppose to be a forced opening to that width as it would have produced the same results with a much smaller opening. I told my doc never again.....

Thanks Cymy Sue for explaining that 2" = 50 mm - I never knew and have never asked. My opening is getting better and my jaw stronger all the time - I can open to almost 2-1/2 fingers wide - whatever that is! For many years I had no pain and could fit 4 fingers in easily - little did I know what was going to happen in the distant future - lots of pain from the lax ligaments a displaced/deteriorated disc and limited opening.

I agree with Tiffany and Cymy Sue - make sure they follow the docs orders and take a mild sedative if you get nervous.

The MRI's results only help the doc get you better......

[This message has been edited by cathyk (edited 05-20-2003).]

Old 05-21-2003, 09:20 PM   #5
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sandra1 HB User

Thanks to Cathyk, Tiffany, and Cymy Sue,

I will remember all the good tips and information you guys have given for me regarding getting a MRI test done. I will discuss this with my new dentist about this and also check out the MRI machines around here.

Thanks to everybody again, and you all have a great evening!



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