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  • 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

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    Old 04-29-2006, 04:21 PM   #1
    gindarling
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    Unhappy 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    After being diagnosed with medial and anterior displacement of the discs in my jaw, I am thinking about splint therapy (and perhaps surgery down the road). Could anyone tell me how upper and lower splints worn 24/7 for an entire year could affect me? The upper is made of stainless steel and gold and looks as if it would wrap behind and in front of the upper teeth. The lower is stainless steel and hard plastic covering the tops of the teeth. I assume these splints would prevent my teeth from touching.

    Do splints like these cause major changes in speech and appearance? Do they make the nighttime clenching go away??? I clench so much, my teeth feel like they are going to fall out of my head, and I cannot eat hard foods. (Not to mention the daily headaches, bloodshot eyes, and poor sleep)

    ANY help you could share would be much appreciated. I am in the process of getting a second opinion after having an MRI and surgery talks with my first doctor . ugh. THANK YOU!

     
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    Old 05-01-2006, 09:29 AM   #2
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    I wore splints for two years - ended up having surgery as the splints didn't work. The first week or so was hard getting used to talking, eating, etc. and my speech was definitely altered. But, I got so used to wearing them, I didn't feel right without them after awhile. The splints altered my bite a great deal and following surgery had to wear braces for two years.

    The splints are really not a big deal once you get used to them. Mine were both clear plastic, so my appearance wasn't really altered at all. They definitely helped with my clenching as well.

    Good luck.

    Last edited by lfr; 05-01-2006 at 09:30 AM.

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 09:43 AM   #3
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    Thanks so much for your reply... now if I could bother you once more?

    My doc told me I might need braces after all is said and done (my teeth are pretty straight right now)... it makes me sad (and tired!) to think after splints, possibly surgery and braces, I have a chance of still having TMJ problems. (The doc gave me a 50/50 chance of success) I know you don't have my MRI in front of you & aren't a doctor, but after your experience, would you recommend the splints before jumping into surgery? If they will help me to stop clenching, then they will help save my teeth, I suppose. (I've had two root canals and gum surgery from all the clenching damage.) But would I possibly skip the braces stage if I could skip the spints?

    I can use all the advice I can get, as I'm leery of the intentions of my dentists/specialists for various reasons.

    Thank you so much!

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    I've been wearing a lower splint for 8 months now. I feel so much better. It's helped alot. It was hard to get use to, but eventually you don't even notice it.
    It has definitely straightened my jaw and I feel comfortable not wearing it on the weekends now. I may always wear it, but I don't care if it means avoiding surgery.
    I alos sleep much better. No more grinding and clenching until my teeth feel loose and my head is pounding!

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 04:35 PM   #5
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    Hello,

    Im also wearing a lower splint 24/7. It doesnt really alter you look b/c its clear and you get used to it very quickly..for me it took like 3 days and I was used to it. It helped my opening a little, and I'll try anything to avoid surgery. I dont know that I would get surgery no matter what, unless I just absolutely had to. I think id rather live with limted opening if this splint didnt work, based on the stuff i've heard about surgery to the tmjs.

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 07:33 PM   #6
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    That's a tough question to answer about the surgery - when I look back, it's frustrating to have gone through all the splints and then still have to have the surgery and go through the orthodontics. My teeth were fine - I had braces as a teen and certainly never thought I'd need them again. Looking back, I wish I would have just done the surgery. Then I could have skipped 4 years of splints and braces plus the medical costs which were all out of pocket expenses. BUT, that's with knowing my results. I believed at the time the the splints were worth wearing to try to avoid the surgery at all costs.....I still believe that.

    My surgery was 10 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long) - so I don't know how it's changed over the years...but for me, I couldn't eat for 10 weeks following the surgery - plus I had a 9 month old at the time to care for. Definitely worth trying to wear the splints first.

    Hope this was helpful. Good luck.

    Last edited by lfr; 05-01-2006 at 07:36 PM.

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 07:42 PM   #7
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    ljrfrm... Thanks for that info. It scares me, but I needed to hear it! Could you tell me what your original joint issues were? I have a left TM joint with anterior and medial displacement & no reduction in the open mouth position, and a right TM joint with medial displacement with partial reduction in the open mouth position. (not sure what this tells you) Anyway, it would be interesting to know if your displacements were more or less severe than mine, just to get even more of an idea of the odds. I know everyone is different, but I am kinda freaked out about the possibilities down the road.

    Thanks so much for your advice and input!

     
    Old 05-01-2006, 08:08 PM   #8
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    You know what - it's been so long ago - I'm trying to remember. I landed on this TMJ board by accident....meant to go to thyroid disorders, as I just had my thyroid out last week. So, I have to put on my thinking cap to remember what I had

    I had both the right and left side displaced....I was in a car accident, hit from behind by a dump truck. I started having headaches, face pain, clicking and popping, and then neck problems. I had MRI's like you did, and was diagnosed with TMJ on both sides...I believe it was both anterior and medial displacements but not sure.

    My advice is that if you're symptomatic and in pain - find treatment. I went through a lot of hard times - but found relief. I still have some popping and my jaw muscles tire easily....but no pain. It's so nice to live without chronic headaches all the time. Get a second opinion if you can - I was lucky to have a top rated TMJ expert that works not too far from here.....so once I got a second opinion from him, I liked him so much I stayed with him for treatment.

    Hope it works out for you. Deciding on treatment or which treatment was the hardest part of it all.....

    Last edited by lfr; 05-01-2006 at 08:10 PM.

     
    Old 05-02-2006, 05:21 AM   #9
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    You are so right about just deciding on what treatment is best being the hardest part! THANK YOU so much for your info. I've been suffering from daily headaches every morning (that linger throughout the day) for the past two years, but the tooth pain has finally pushed me over the edge. I don't think a 33 year old should give up eating raw veggies just yet! It really scares me to think that perhaps I could avoid all of this if I could just "chill out" at night with the clenching. The root canals and gum surgery that have resulted from my clenching haven't been much fun though either. I just need to find that second opinion somewhere in the D.C. metro area and get on with making my decision. My two little ones need a mom who can function like a normal person.

    Do you happen to know what people do if the splints offer enough relief from the pain? Do they ever continue to use the splints and not need braces? This is, of course, something I will ask my doc, but thought you might know.

    Thanks again for your help. I hope you have good luck with your thyroid treatment. That's probably up next for me too! My Mom has dealt with a hypothyroid for years, and knowing it's hereditary... ah well! One thing at a time... ha ha.

     
    Old 05-02-2006, 07:33 AM   #10
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    I actually live in the DC area and my specialist is in Vienna. Am I allowed to post his name for you? Maybe that's who you are already seeing??

    As for me - I could have skipped the braces ONLY if I continued to wear the splints forever...my bite was altered so much that I couldn't go without the splints. Some people don't mind the splints - but since I had the surgery and didn't need the splints anymore (I was never a clencher) I thought it was silly to wear them forever just to avoid the braces. Honestly, the braces weren't all that bad - just frustrating to need them again.

    Last edited by lfr; 05-02-2006 at 07:35 AM.

     
    Old 05-02-2006, 08:20 AM   #11
    gindarling
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    ljrfrm,

    I'm pretty sure we can share the name of our doc... as long as we don't say anything considered slanderous. It seems you really liked yours? If that's the case, I'd LOVE to know his name! That's what these boards are for--to help each other out and to COPE, right? My doc is in Vienna too... so I'm assuming we both know Dr. Stack? He seems to have helped thousands in his 40 years of practice!

    So I guess I'll just need to decide if I want to wear splints forever, or just bite the bullet (ha ha) and get braces. One more question, and then I'll stop hounding you... Did your teeth separate and look different after the splints and pre-braces? Or were they straight enough and just had to be kept in place? I have a friend's wedding I'm looking forward to being in (in about a year) and I don't want to look like I need braces. How vain is that? But I must be honest. Just as long as I'm prepared, I can handle it, I think.

     
    Old 05-02-2006, 08:29 AM   #12
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    Yep, Brendan Stack. I used him for both the splints and braces. I used his referral for the surgeon he works with for the surgery itself. Dr. Stack is wonderful and people travel from all over to come see him - as well as his travels around the world presenting on this topic.

    My teeth never became crooked or looked different. It was the bite itself that changed....I developed an underbite...with the splints he pulls your lower jaw out a bit - I was worried that I would look "weird" with my lower jaw jutting out - but you really couldn't tell.

    Don't worry about bothering me - it keeps me busy. I'm off work recovering from my thyroid surgery so just playing around on the laptop in bed. Hope it all works out for you.

     
    Old 06-05-2006, 12:44 PM   #13
    gindarling
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    ljrfrm... not sure if you will ever check this board again, but wanted to ask for your help... AGAIN!!!! I'm in a bit of a crisis.

    Thanks in advance if you get this!

    Ginny

     
    Old 06-05-2006, 03:25 PM   #14
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    Re: 24/7 upper and lower splints... Can anyone tell me how they affect your life??

    Im going to the dentist RE my TMJ. I went to the doctor thinking it was something wrong with my ears but apparantely not. He says when I close my mouth I bite to the right which is odd. Ive had TMJ before a splint helped maybe ill need one again. I hope I dont need braces

     
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