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  • What is my dentists problem? RANT

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    Old 03-28-2008, 07:52 PM   #1
    TCrockett
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    What is my dentists problem? RANT

    Before I start I want to apologize for the ridiculously long post I'm about to make... please bear with me!

    I went to the doctor today, he mentioned the possibility of TMJ before I did and sent me for x-rays. I asked him who usually does the referral to a specialist and he said that it's usuallly the dentist who handles that. I'm not even sure if the x-rays are useful in diagnosing TMJ or who he's going to send them to.

    My dentists office is right next door to my doctor, so on my way out I stopped there to see if she had a minute to talk about this. I told her everything that's been going on, the ear infections and continuing pain, the sinus infections and continuing sinus headaches... the clenching and face pain. She said that although I have a serious bite problem that she doubts my problems are related to TMJ, infact she said "your ear and sinus problems are just that..EAR and SINUS problems". She went on to say that TMJ would not cause an ear infection because TMJ is NOT an infection. She said that proof of that was in the fact that antibiotics clear up my ear infections and discounted the fact that they continuously return.

    When I was a kid I had repeated ear infections, the ear/nose/throat doctor sent me to an orthodontist who put pegs on my back molars to try to straighten out my bite... the infections stopped. So I KNOW that jaw misalignment can cause all sorts of other problems.

    I was born missing some adult teeth and by the time I was 19 I was sick of the crooked teeth and never being able to smile... so I made the rash decision to get a partial. My dentist at the time pulled healthy front teeth to do this. (I still regret this)

    Since then my bite changed and in my mid twenties I was told I had an open bite. My partial always looked like hell, but in addition it was completely lacking function. I couldn't bite into anything without them breaking... which was horrifying.

    I recently decided to get a full upper. My dentist took extra care and multiple impressions to get them to look as good as they do. They do look better, I have no complaints there, you would never even be able to tell that I have an open bite by looking at me... which is a feat. But it was a long process because of my bite and they still aren't completely functional because my teeth don't close in the front. Only my last two molars meet. I can't bite into anything.

    I've been told for the last 5 or 6 years that the only way to straighten out my bite is to go for surgery... because my top and bottom jaw didn't grow evenly. I never did it because I was never in any pain or discomfort because of it. .. in fact it never occurred to me that it would ever cause me problems. And now, when I'm having problems, my dentist is discounting that it could be my jaw. I can't go handle all these antibiotics and I don't want to depend on all the drugs they're giving me.... I don't WANT surgery, but if it will help I'll do it.

    I don't understand why she'll tell me that my bite is placing alot of pressure on my jaw, but not consider that maybe it's causing all these other problems too.

    Is she right? Can the x-ray prove whether TMJ is the problem one way or the other? Geez. I live in a VERY small town, I'd have to travel 3 hours to see a different dentist... I just sort of need to hear that I wouldn't be crazy to do that. Has anyone else had a problem like this with their regular dentist?

    T

     
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    Old 03-29-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
    Thelma-Louise
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    Re: What is my dentists problem? RANT

    I can really relate to your story and I know how frustrating this can be.

    With regards to your dentist and drs in general both medical and dental - we tend to think they should know "everything" but the truth is they are only human and can not possibly know it all (although some think they do) - their knowledge is limited to training and experience. It is frustrating though when their ignorance intereferes with helping people resolve health issues. Your dentist is right (in the strictest sense) that tmj would not cause an infection but what it does do is cause inflamation and the inflamation contricts the ear canals and sinuses and allows the possibility of an infection to develop since the passage way of both the ears and nose are not able to cleanse themselves as freely and regularly as they normally would do.

    Since your dentist recognizes your severe bite problem did she suggest or recommend how it could be corrected - is she trained in such things? If she can correct your bite problem then you could just overlook this difference in opinion of whether tmj can induce sinus infections and other symptoms and proceed from there - however my guess is she is not.

    Who told you you needed surgery to correct the open bite - is that someone you could go to to discuss your current problems? Do you have an orthodontist in town or nearby - they can sometimes help with this type of problem as well.

    What type of xray was done? Ususally a tomorgram, MRI or CT scan is used to check for abnormalities indicating that your symptoms may be due to tmj - but if your tmj is muscular in nature it really can't be seen in xrays of any type and often a diagnosis is made on symptoms alone. Even if you have the right tests or xrays done, they are worthless if the person reviewing them is not trained or experienced enough to know what to look for.

    There are many of us that have traveld great distances to seek help with this crazy thing called tmj - some travel to other countries in fact - so you wouldn't be the first "crazy" person to do it nor the last, beleive me. You are in good company!

    I do have one suggestion if I may with regards to your ear and sinsus problems, you may want to try using a neti pot and irrigating the sinuses on a regular basis - this may help keep the ear and nose passage ways clear reducing the incidence of infection and the need of anitbiotics.

     
    Old 03-30-2008, 11:40 PM   #3
    legallyblondied
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    Re: What is my dentists problem? RANT

    Thelma-Louise...I have a question for you...you mentioned that TMJ pain could be muscular in nature....explain please. I have sinus problems and infections also and they are usually
    seasonal due to allergies. I had bells palsy on one side of my
    face and it took a year to recover. Other muscles have taken
    over on the side affected and so my bite is off as well as smile
    etc. I have felt pain in the good side lately when i open my
    mouth all of the way....i usually pop my ears open since i have sinus problems in the eustachion tubes....ears pop open
    and close.....have had this for years...use saline solution since
    the bell's side does not drain properly...It feels like it is not
    the Mandible but the muscles behind it and i have got up with a stiff neck lately.....I work for a dentist but would
    rather ask you and i could get a night guard made....as well
    as we have the best bite discluder...i just have not had this
    problem before.....karen

     
    Old 03-31-2008, 01:58 AM   #4
    TCrockett
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    Re: What is my dentists problem? RANT

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Thelma-Louise View Post
    I can really relate to your story and I know how frustrating this can be.

    With regards to your dentist and drs in general both medical and dental - we tend to think they should know "everything" but the truth is they are only human and can not possibly know it all (although some think they do) - their knowledge is limited to training and experience. It is frustrating though when their ignorance intereferes with helping people resolve health issues. Your dentist is right (in the strictest sense) that tmj would not cause an infection but what it does do is cause inflamation and the inflamation contricts the ear canals and sinuses and allows the possibility of an infection to develop since the passage way of both the ears and nose are not able to cleanse themselves as freely and regularly as they normally would do.

    Since your dentist recognizes your severe bite problem did she suggest or recommend how it could be corrected - is she trained in such things? If she can correct your bite problem then you could just overlook this difference in opinion of whether tmj can induce sinus infections and other symptoms and proceed from there - however my guess is she is not.

    Who told you you needed surgery to correct the open bite - is that someone you could go to to discuss your current problems? Do you have an orthodontist in town or nearby - they can sometimes help with this type of problem as well.

    What type of xray was done? Ususally a tomorgram, MRI or CT scan is used to check for abnormalities indicating that your symptoms may be due to tmj - but if your tmj is muscular in nature it really can't be seen in xrays of any type and often a diagnosis is made on symptoms alone. Even if you have the right tests or xrays done, they are worthless if the person reviewing them is not trained or experienced enough to know what to look for.

    There are many of us that have traveld great distances to seek help with this crazy thing called tmj - some travel to other countries in fact - so you wouldn't be the first "crazy" person to do it nor the last, beleive me. You are in good company!

    I do have one suggestion if I may with regards to your ear and sinsus problems, you may want to try using a neti pot and irrigating the sinuses on a regular basis - this may help keep the ear and nose passage ways clear reducing the incidence of infection and the need of anitbiotics.
    Thanks for your patience and for your reply. On my last visit my dentist told me that short of surgery my bite couldn't be fixed.. and she's not the first one to have told me that. I think it's time to insist on a referral to someone who's more knowledgable in this particular area.... although, I'm not sure what kind of doctor. Would that be an orthodontist? If I can't get my referral through her, I'll have to see another dentist.

    I'm not sure what type of x-ray it was... it was just done at a regular lab using the same machine they use to x-ray chests and such. I had an x-ray of my face done not long ago as well to elimate the possibility of an abcess in my sinus.... at the same place (the only place here) with the same machine. When I see the doctor again I'll definately ask who reviewed my x-rays and if he can do the referral himself.

    You are the second person in 2 days to suggest a neti pot! Thank you for that, tomorrow I'll head out and see if I can find one in this tiny town. I know something has to change, I can't keep going like this. Between the antibiotics and the pain meds and the lack of sleep... I'm becoming a disaster. I own a clothing store, and it seems I'm there less and less.... it's just no good.

    Thank you so much for your help! Take care!

    T

     
    Old 03-31-2008, 10:05 AM   #5
    Thelma-Louise
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    Re: What is my dentists problem? RANT

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by legallyblondied View Post
    Thelma-Louise...I have a question for you...you mentioned that TMJ pain could be muscular in nature....explain please. I have sinus problems and infections also and they are usually
    seasonal due to allergies. I had bells palsy on one side of my
    face and it took a year to recover. Other muscles have taken
    over on the side affected and so my bite is off as well as smile
    etc. I have felt pain in the good side lately when i open my
    mouth all of the way....i usually pop my ears open since i have sinus problems in the eustachion tubes....ears pop open
    and close.....have had this for years...use saline solution since
    the bell's side does not drain properly...It feels like it is not
    the Mandible but the muscles behind it and i have got up with a stiff neck lately.....I work for a dentist but would
    rather ask you and i could get a night guard made....as well
    as we have the best bite discluder...i just have not had this
    problem before.....karen
    Gee I started with what looked like Bells Palsy about a year before my tmj went into high drive. The lower left side of my mouth felt like it was being pulled down and I felt like I was drooling a bit and the outer corner of my right eye kept twitching. However I attributed these symptoms to the anterior replacement bridges being too large for my mouth and therefore over working and stretching my facial muscles. I too woke up one morning with a stiff neck about week before I got my first facial spasm and 2 weeks after my last appt with my regular dentist in which he did a filling and adjusted the lower bridge.

    TMJ being muscular in nature pretty much means the components (joints and condyles) of the jaws are in tact and capable or functioning however the muscles used to control function (chewing, speaking, swallowing, smiling,) can not do their job properly and either work against each other or over work. This is sometimes due to the lower jaw being mispositioned (too far back, too far forward, underdeveloped, overdeveloped, etc), or ill-fitting prosthetics that interefere with the tongue or cause facial muscles to over stretch to accomodate or get around them, loss of vertical dimension in the mouth or too much vertical dimension to name a few.

    Wearing a guard or discluder may help the problem but they need to be made by someone who can determine what the problem actually is so they are made to correct the problem. Its kind like having a friend who knows a bit about auto mechanics work on your car instead of taking it to a seasoned mechanic. If either don't know what they are doing things could get worse.

    The problem on the left side can affect the right side and vice versa as you may know since both sides need to function cohesively and in unison which is why if left untreated many people will eventually start to see facial changes and experience more advanced or pronounced symptoms such as with the neck, swallowing, facial tics or spasms, uncontrollable tongue movement, etc.

    If you like and trust the dentist you work for you may want to discuss this with him/her- they may be able to refer you to someone if they feel it is out of their area of expertise. Has he treated other patients with similar complaints? Also seeing a chiro may help - your neck is obviously feeling the strain of the dysfunction and may be slowly being forced out of alignment.

     
    Old 03-31-2008, 10:18 AM   #6
    Thelma-Louise
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    Re: What is my dentists problem? RANT

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TCrockett View Post
    Thanks for your patience and for your reply. On my last visit my dentist told me that short of surgery my bite couldn't be fixed.. and she's not the first one to have told me that. I think it's time to insist on a referral to someone who's more knowledgable in this particular area.... although, I'm not sure what kind of doctor. Would that be an orthodontist? If I can't get my referral through her, I'll have to see another dentist.

    I'm not sure what type of x-ray it was... it was just done at a regular lab using the same machine they use to x-ray chests and such. I had an x-ray of my face done not long ago as well to elimate the possibility of an abcess in my sinus.... at the same place (the only place here) with the same machine. When I see the doctor again I'll definately ask who reviewed my x-rays and if he can do the referral himself.

    You are the second person in 2 days to suggest a neti pot! Thank you for that, tomorrow I'll head out and see if I can find one in this tiny town. I know something has to change, I can't keep going like this. Between the antibiotics and the pain meds and the lack of sleep... I'm becoming a disaster. I own a clothing store, and it seems I'm there less and less.... it's just no good.

    Thank you so much for your help! Take care!

    T
    You could start with the ortho - he may work with an oral surgeon and refer you there.

    You probably had a general head xray - my PCP ordered that when I first went to him. The ortho or OS will probably request more appropriate testing.

    Also, since you work in "clothing", you may want to invest in a air purification or filtering system - I believe there are some less expensive and portable systems out there now - I am sure the air borne lint, dust and clothing fibers do little to help your sinsus problems. If you are noticing that your nasal passages are very dry by the end of the day you might even want to possibly consider a small humidifier as well.

     
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