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  • Tooth Extraction & TMJ

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    Old 09-28-2006, 07:50 PM   #1
    tiff101
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    Tooth Extraction & TMJ

    On June 1 of this year I went to the dentist because I had a painful upper wisdom tooth that needed extracted. He said because it was already fully erupted he could take it out himself. Well, he did, but he stretched and pulled REALLY hard at my jaw to do so...I wanted to tell him I couldn't open my jaw that wide but I couldn't talk. Anyway, about a week and a half after the extraction I noticed that my face had started to take on an odd, asymmetrical look. I thought it might be swelling so I went back, but there wasn't an infection. I also started to get a full feeling in my ear and a very tight feeling around my inner cheek and nose. Everytime I swallowed my ear clicked, and I kept having to yawn every couple of minutes to clear my ear. I also had a strange "crawling" sensation. After a month this really started to bother me, so I went to an oral surgeon, who sent me to a neurologist, who said I was fine. I also went to an ENT who said sinus infection, but the antibiotics didn't work. Finally I went to a new dentist who said it was TMJ.

    He measured the motion of my jaw, and I can pull my lower jaw to the left by 11 (mm?) but can only pull it to the right by 5. I also deviate to the left when opening. He said I have loose joints (double jointed in some places), which makes me more prone to that happening, and when the dentist overstretched me he displaced my disc. He said I was a "textbook case" and it would eventually get better on it's own, but to eat soft foods, take NSAIDS and muscle relaxers, and apply moist heat.

    Does this really go away on it's own? He seemed confident it would, but it's already been 4 months! He also said that on the off chance it didn't I could be fitted for a splint, but I don't clench or grind my teeth and I thought thats what the splint was for? I have a really strange case of this TMJ I think, my jaws don't pop or hurt, and I don't get headaches, just earaches.

    The muscle relaxers help with the earache/fullness and tight face, but I have been walking around with this screwed up, lopsided face for a while now, and am started to feel that I will never look normal again. I am starting to feel quite hopeless and depressed, as well as very angry at the careless dentist who did this to me. I have never had any jaw or joint problems before this. I'm only 23.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

     
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    Old 09-28-2006, 10:01 PM   #2
    MaggieMay78
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    Re: Tooth Extraction & TMJ

    tiff,

    First, let me say that I am very sorry this happened to you...nobody deserves this! And I don't blame you for being angry at the dentist, that is perfectly natural! Second, let me say that you are NOT alone...I am in a similar situation. I never had any TMJ problems at all before I had my 4 impacted wisdom teeth extracted. NEVER! But my oral surgeon was incompetent, and took way too long to extract my teeth...and held my jaw wide open that entire time. This is unfortunately a more common situation than you might think.

    I don't want to ramble on about myself, but I have also suffered serious injury in my leg and hip due to major surgical errors. I am only 27. All of this damage to my body at the hands of doctors has been VERY hard to accept. But even though being angry is perfectly normal, it is NOT going to help us get better in the long run. That is one thing you must keep repeating to yourself...worry about getting yourself better and healing--try your best not to focus on the dentist that did this. Healing yourself must be your #1 priority.

    As far as whether this will go away on its own...that is hard to predict. My problems were going away, but when I had another major leg surgery and stress in my marriage, the TMJ problems got worse. So one thing I can recommend is to make sure you manage stress and anxiety. They can truly make TMJ problems worse! Also, if your problems don't resolve soon, you may want to see a TMJ specialist. This should be someone who is very knowledgeable about how to make and adjust splints. Not all splints are created equal--because not all dentists know how to make them properly! Splints are not necessarily just for clenchers/grinders. They can, IF MADE PROPERLY, help to reposition your jaw into a more relaxed position and take some pressure off the joints. Again, you need to find a dentist who knows how to achieve this result by making a good splint!!!

    Hang in there, and let us know how you do...

    Meg

    Last edited by MaggieMay78; 09-28-2006 at 10:04 PM.

     
    Old 10-04-2006, 01:03 PM   #3
    tiff101
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    Re: Tooth Extraction & TMJ

    Thanks for the reply MaggieMay.

    You're right, it isn't helping to stay angry at that dentist. When I think of the quality of life I enjoyed before compared to now, though, it can be very hard. But, in the end I suppose it's useless.

    Did the splints help you with your tmj? I think my new dentist wants to give me an NTI splint if this doesn't go away. I've heard about this making things worse, though, so I'm not sure. I think one of the hardest things, besides the symptoms, is just NOT KNOWING. How can I know how to fix myself if even doctors don't seem to know what to do? I seriously just wish I would have gotten a broken leg or something, then it could be set and dealt with. Also, other people "understand" a broken leg. I don't feel anyone really understands that a dislocated jaw disc is way different than a dislocated disc elsewhere and not only causes pain but also distorts your senses because of its location - it affects your hearing, vision, mouth function, balance, etc. - I feel it impacts you more psychologically than other disorders of this type. I feel like I have been very "foggy" and not as sharp since this happened. Also, I could deal with a scarred or weird looking leg but there really isn't any way I can hide my lopsided face. What a blow to the ego this has been.

    Anyway, thanks for replying and for your helpful advice. Sending healthy wishes your way.

     
    Old 10-04-2006, 09:54 PM   #4
    MaggieMay78
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    Re: Tooth Extraction & TMJ

    "I seriously just wish I would have gotten a broken leg or something, then it could be set and dealt with. Also, other people "understand" a broken leg."

    Hehe I wish that were true! As I mentioned in my post to you before, I have suffered MAJOR surgical errors on my leg and hip. It started with a broken thighbone initially, which is a very serious injury. Then the surgeons put a defective metal rod in my leg when they were trying to fix it...this has resulted in many surgeries for me, severe pain, and more broken bones (one time a surgeon accidentally broke my HIP! and the last time, my thighbone had to broken again on purpose). So, be careful what you wish for LOL...and also, one thing to keep in mind: *Most people do not understand ANY medical problem they haven't personally experienced.* So whether it's a broken leg, dislocated jaw joint, multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc...it doesn't matter. There are SOME people who are better at sympathizing than others...but for the most part, you have to draw on your own strength to get through a medical problem. There are hopefully a few people you can count on, but other than that, most people won't really understand this. Try not to take it personally. You will get through this!

    Also, keep in mind that you probably do have a good chance of getting better. Hang in there. I am going to get a splint this Friday. I had one before but it was poorly designed. As far as an NTI goes, there are many different opinions about that. For some people it works, but for others it doesn't, and that's the way many TMJ treatments are. Your best best is to see a *knowledgeable* TMJ specialist. You may want to find someone who is a member of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Also, just be aware that an NTI can lead to an open bite...I don't think it's that common, but it is a risk you should know about. For now, I definitely recommend seeing a dentist that knows a lot about TMJ issues. If you get a splint, it needs to be made and adjusted properly.

    Good luck!

    Meg

     
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