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  • Can Someone Please, Please Help a Newbie?

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    Old 08-31-2003, 08:03 AM   #1
    looney's Avatar
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    looney HB User
    Question Can Someone Please, Please Help a Newbie?

    Dear all,

    I am brand new to TMJD and this site. Apparently I've had TMJ for about 9 months now. I know I need help because I'm in moderate to severe pain daily. I've just skimmed through a few posts, and I can see that this group has acquired a lot of knowledge and support through this site.

    I have been predisposed to having TMJ my whole life, as I have a decent overbite and I've been a night grinder since a child. I'm now 31. Anyway, about 9 months I came off a benzodiazapine medication that caused a severe withdrawal. I experienced bad muscle tightness, spasm, and cramping all over my whole body. Since then, I've had so much muscle tightness in my jaw, it's unbelievable.

    I made an appointment at a neuromuscular dentist and he seems knowledgeable, although I have my doubts after reading the posts here. He says both my discs are dislocated (or pulled over the condoyle).

    My symptoms are severe tension headache, upper neck pain at the base of my skull, jaw tightness, clicking, and difficulty opening. I also have extremely severe auditory problems, which I also believe originated with the benzo withdrawal including tinnitus and hyperacusis. The tinnitus and hyperacusis are very, very severe, and it has devastated my life at the moment. Because of the severe sound sensitivity, which can get worse permanently from being exposed to even moderately loud sounds, I will not get a tomogram. The tomogram machine screeches when the chair is repositioned and I cannot tolerate it and it's not worth it to get it done if it's going to ruin my quality of life by wrecking my auditory system even more. An MRI I had done when I thought I had a bad neck problem, not realizing it could be TMJ, made me descend even deeper into the auditory stuff because the machine was SO loud.

    Can anyone please, please give advice to a newbie as far as what to watch for in getting fitted for a splint, and what does the splint help? For example, do you think the splint will help the muscle spasm in my head, face, neck, and jaw? What about the tinnitus (ringing - severe in my ears)? Will the splint help that? Are there certain kinds of splints that are better than others? How do I know I'm doing the right thing?

    I also do not want TENS treatment because I don't want nerve stimulation due to the protracted nervous system damage I've had from the withdrawal as well as my auditory problems. Stimulation supposedly makes it worse in terms of hyperacusis (sound sensitivity) and tinnitus.

    So right now, because of my various health problems, I'm looking at just getting a splint made and doing physical therapy. I won't take any medications because I'm so sensitive to them.

    If you can please give me your thoughts on how helpful splints are and how to go about getting one made right, I'd really appreciate it. I hope that not getting a tomogram done will still allow me to get a splint made. What do you all think about "neuromuscular dentists" and TENS treatment, etc.? Also, how long does it take to get relief with the splint and what do I do about the muscle spasm in the meantime?

    Oh, please help. I'm really suffering with this, and I hope 9 months isn't too long to have let this condition go. I'm trying to find more information and I'm so frustrated.

    Thank you,


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    Old 08-31-2003, 08:53 AM   #2
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    Good morning Looney -
    Oh Looney, I am so sorry you having to deal with TMD. :0(
    I am going to work backwards first.
    Looney, the Tens unit that most neuromuscular dentists use is made by Myotronics. Looney, it is not like a regular tens unit. It does NOT stimulate the nerves, it stimulates the muscles. It is so different. I had a friend who had a regular nerve tens unit and she put it on my face... I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO SCREAM! I ripped it off my face. It was AWFUL! The Myotronic tens unit, works with the muscles, pushing out the lactic acid and pushing in fresh oxygen and blood to the oxygen starved muscles. Be sure and ask they are using a Myotronic unit before they put it on your face. Most have 3 leads, however Myotronics is now designing a unit that would exercise both the trapieus and face muscles at the sametime.

    Looney, there are alot of dentists calling themselves "neuromuscular" dentists, they may have only taken one course, or their approach may be more cosmetic then TMJD. It is very important to ask them how many courses they have taken and is their focus TMJD or cosmetic/restorative. Very important.
    Who did you see? It is okay to share Dentists/Drs names.
    My "neuromuscular" dentist is far, far beyond just that. He has education is extensive in regard to TMJD and that is what he wants to do in his practice is TMJD treatment.

    My condoyles are flattened, which basically means they are worn down on one side Looney. Thus, I have displaced discs because of it. He is so helping me with my TMJD. I am just getting ready to go into my repositioning splint, after being in a stabilizing splint for 2 months, to help get the muscles out of spasm.
    Might I suggest you speak with this dentist, ask if you can come in and try out the tens unit... as long as it is a Myotronic. I do not know of any other tens unit on the market that does what the Myo does.
    Also, then ask him/her what their education is in TMJD. How many courses, where at, etc etc.

    I hope this helps,

    Old 08-31-2003, 02:45 PM   #3
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    Dear looney, I'm not sure how much I can help you with but I do know that if you were to be fitted for a splint, and whenever you started wearing it, you should start seeing results within the first few weeks,at most to a month. I,m not saying a miracle that you will be pain free, but you probably will start to notice some differences in your pain level. And when I had my splint made( any one of the three) I never had a tomogram. I don't know anything about tens, and I have never seen a neuromuscular dentist. although I have probably seen all the other specialties, that is that will deal with tmj...

    What I can tell you about my splint is this, it helps some.. And it helps now more than it did before I had my surgeries. I too had Arteriorly displaced disk without reduction. I know the story all too well. They tryed the splint before and after my surgeries. and the splint helps a little now, but it wasn't helpful at all to me before.

    But just because that was the case for me does not mean that that will be the case for you.I wish you the best of luck with your tmj. Cally22.

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