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abby320 06-10-2003 02:09 PM

Dislocated Joints
I saw an oral surgeon and based on the symptoms I have he said he thinks my joints are dislocated and that the ONLY thing that will help me is surgery? Is that true? Is that the only thing that can fix dislocated disks? I'm having an MRI done next week to see if this is the case.

TiffanyAnn 06-10-2003 05:13 PM

Hi Abby:
I am dealing with this very same question right now. Only my left disc is displaced but I have done alot of research and asked alot of questions and from what I have learned it appears that there are a great number of people who live all their lives with displaced discs. If there is no pain, heacaches, etc. then it's possible to live with displaced discs. If it were me I would be EXTREMELY cautious of anyone who wants to rush into surgery without trying conservative treatment first. Has this dentist even suggested splint therapy? You might want to consult another dentist first. The problem with going to any surgeon is that surgery is what they do and most often they don't even try anything else but instead rush into doing surgery. I have had TMJ for about 23 years so it's possible that I won't be able to recapture my disc with splint therapy but if I can get out of pain with splint therapy then I consider braces to re-adjust my bite but I'm not interested in surgery and at this point I refuse to consider it until I have given splint therapy a chance to work. So, maybe you should consult another dentist for a second opinion.

joseph martin 06-10-2003 06:08 PM

[quote]Originally posted by abby320:
[b]I saw an oral surgeon and based on the symptoms I have he said he thinks my joints are dislocated and that the ONLY thing that will help me is surgery? Is that true? Is that the only thing that can fix dislocated disks? I'm having an MRI done next week to see if this is the case. [/b][/quote]

HI ABBY,surgery is not the only thing, a great tmj/orthodontist/dentist, can move the lower jaw with bitesplints,an braces to put the molors in the right place,WILL take the prussure off the TMJOINT, i know this because i'm 45 an going this way now, after messed up MRI'S an my first bad orthodontist, an ton's of money to surgeons that only want to cut on you for the money, i'm PAIN FREE , yes splints an braces done right do work, i have torn ligaments an cartlage, an disk out of place it does work, don't give up to surgeons yet


Jill J 06-10-2003 06:47 PM

I am in the same boat as you and Tiffany. Marlene was too and her's was recaptured with splint/braces therapy. My OS mentioned surgery but was unsure and won't suggest it until he sees a MRI (which I haven't been able to make it through the test). I am hoping I can go the way Marlene went and avoid surgery, but............the splint/braces are not covered whereas surgery is. I think for me it will come down to dollar and cents.......which is sad.......Best of luck to you, Jill

abby320 06-10-2003 07:05 PM

Thank you for the replies. It blew me away when the OS said that was my only option. I plan on getting a second opinion after I have the MRI done.

Stacie212 06-11-2003 02:43 AM

Jill, don't let money be the deciding factor here - TMJ surgery has a very low success rate and once the joint is touched it is never the same again. Try the splint first - you can probably have one made for $500.
I also have displaced discs and am now starting splint therapy - so far the splint isnt helping at all. we'll see but I don't think I will every really consider surgery after hearing everyones horror stories here.

Jill J 06-11-2003 07:13 AM

Hi Stacie,

I have been under splint therapy since 9/02 that's why they are saying surgery might be my next option. I just have to wait to get the MRI and take it from there. I have sooo much invested at this point plus needing another $6,000 worth of dental does become a factor (single mom too)....Thanks, Jill

OHJELJ 06-11-2003 08:45 AM

OK all, I've been lying low as of late, but I have to disagree with some of the comments. There is NOT a low success rate for all TMJ surgeries! I have had two very successful arthroscopies on both sides and am now completely pain free and chewing like a maniac! I had my teeth cleaned on Monday and didn't even have a flinch of pain...prior to my surgery in March I couldn't even eat oatmeal without pain.

SO, with that being said, do not discount surgery in the case of dislocated discs. I had splint therapy both times and it made my condition much WAS MY only recourse.

My joints are weaker than prior to surgery, but if I live my life remembering that and eating carefully and continuing with my stretches keep the muscles longer, I won't have a problem!

Please research all angles of this type of condition. Sometimes the splints work, and sometimes they don't. I wouldn't jump into anything, but I would definitely look at surgery as ONE of your options!

Good luck!

abby320 06-11-2003 09:50 AM


I'm a little new at this - to clarify - did you have surgery that actually put your joints back where they belong? What type of doctor did you go to?

OHJELJ 06-11-2003 12:58 PM


That's the procedure I had done. It's call arthroscopy and is done on the outside for the jaw in front of your ear with scopes and tiny little instruments. I barely have scars and have had it done twice in 13 years. The first surgery was done 12 years ago in Atlanta by an Oral Max. Surgeon and the second was done in March in Cleveland by a different OMS.

They both were excellent. My main problem is with muscle problems. My grinding at night causes the muscles to spasm and pull the disks out of's very painful for some and others can just live with a limited opening. Prior to surgery I was at a 9 mm opening and now after surgery and PT for 3 months, I'm at a 40mm opening.

It's almost an outpatient surgery with only a 23 hour stay in the hospital for most. The recovery the first time was a breeze. This time, I had scar tissue and adhesions that made the surgery more physical and that led to a slower recovery....

I really feel great doubt that both the specialist that I see for general dentistry (Master Dentist & TMJ Guru) and my surgeon made the correct call for surgery a second time. I got my life back...I wear a bite plate at night so I can't damage my teeth anymore...

That's my story! Let me know if you need any other info!


kata 06-12-2003 07:53 PM


Great story. I like to hear success stories.
I too had a good surgery in 1985 and was fine till 2000. Now I have an implant due to a bone spur on condyle. I was doing fine with the implant (full left jaw) till a car accident. (dont want to repeat my post).

I have read some court documents on the internet where doctors have said it was in the approach they took with surgery or splints (in what ever they were doing). But they were admitting that it was because they did not have allot of experience. Some doctors have little experience and others are very experienced.

I hear people complain that jaw implants are the worst thing and they have to be replaced every 7-15 yrs. I had no choice. But just to add - isnt that the same for kneee implants?

Hope everyone is feeling better today.

Isew4work 06-12-2003 08:18 PM

Been wondering about you. I am so glad you have had success again. It seemed like your recovery was taking so long that I was worried it had not been successful. You need to tell people your side of things as well. We all need to hear a success. I am curious how long those disks will stay in place. I hope that what ever is causing the disks to displace will have been repaired also by your stretches and such. Best of luck,

cfreund 06-13-2003 09:16 AM

My disc is dislocated forward on my right side and has been for a year and a half. I was scheduled for surgery and then found this board (thank GOD) and cancelled it.

Splint therapy worked wonders for me. My bite is not perfect, but so much better and pain free!! I can live with this easily, and my disc is still dislocated. My doctor told me that many, many people are walking around with dislocated discs and do JUST FINE.

Good luck!

abby320 06-13-2003 04:51 PM


Since the disk is still dislocated do you have limited opening?

TiffanyAnn 06-13-2003 05:53 PM

Hi Abby:
My left disc is dislocated and I don't have limited opening. I am going to be starting splint therapy and if I can get out of pain and get rid of these killer headaches then I will consider myself lucky. I don't care if the disc is dislocated as long as I'm not in pain.

abby320 06-13-2003 07:12 PM

That makes sense to me. I'm hoping that the MRI will reveal that they are not dislocated but if so - as long as I can live pain free they can stay that way for all I care. It's really strange - after going to physical therapy for the past 4 weeks I'm no longer in that "acute" pain but many days I am so tight (real limited opening - a tight two fingers width) and so sore but other days I don't have any pain (although the tight opening is consistent). Anyone else have good days and bad days?

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