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  • First time issue/bite off

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    Old 12-10-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
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    First time issue/bite off

    Hi everyone! Okay, so I have to say first that I'm not sure I have TMJ Disorder. I don't seem to have many symptoms of it, but I do have a problem which certainly seems to match up with many experiences I am reading about here.

    I am a lifelong teeth clencher/grinder. I usually do this when I'm stressed, and I have gotten much better at handling it in my adult years (meditation before sleep helps alleviate my tendency to do it). I haven't had a problem doing it again until recently, as I've been under a rather extreme amount of stress.

    My jaw had been feeling very tired and tight for days and I did some research online and saw some suggestions to do some stretching exercises. I tried them one evening, went to bed and when I woke up - it was all wrong. I was in an extreme amount of pain and my bite was completely off. It hurt to close my mouth or open it. It seems that the stretches actually exacerbated the problem and I think it's possible that something on the right side of my jaw is out of place.

    I babied my jaw for days - took muscle relaxers at night as well as anti-inflammatories, was careful not to talk or chew, used heat treatments. It started to improve. By the second week, I was not in constant pain and my bite was back in place on the left side, but not completely on the right. It was off just a small sliver in the back on the right. The weird part is - when I eat, it goes back into place! And when I sleep it goes back into place - I wake up with my bite in alignment, but it goes back off within about 20 minutes of being awake. Or about 5 minutes after eating.

    Last night I found some self-massage techniques used for TMJ Disorder and after only doing it last night and this morning, my remaining pain is all but gone. But still.... the bite is not quite right. It will go back when I eat still, but not stay that way.

    I must stress that I cannot afford to go see a dentist or a TMJ specialist (my aforementioned extreme stress has a lot to do with a bad financial situation). Is there anything I can do for myself to help my bite? Any ideas on why it goes back into place when I eat and sleep?

    Any help would be so greatly appreciated, thank you.

    I should also mention - I have NEVER had this issue before. I've experienced jaw tension and aching from teeth clenching but nothing else. Certainly not the bite problem and certainly not pain like this or for this long. I'm just baffled.

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    Old 12-12-2013, 08:54 AM   #2
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    Re: First time issue/bite off

    As an update - after posting the first post, I had dinner and as always - my bite went back into place after eating. However, this time, it did not go back off. It stayed in place and has been in place since then. But now I have a new problem. The bite is aligned but my jaw on the right side (the side that has had all the issues) is "locked" I can barely open my mouth and when attempting to chew anything, it feels like my jaw is being held tightly shut with rubberbands on that side. There isn't much pain, just discomfort and a "tight" feeling.

    I'm fairly upset that this problem keeps up and it's very frustrating to not be able to move your jaw properly, I honestly just feel like crying right now. I've been reading up on various massages to do when your jaw is locked but I don't know if that's going to help or not. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thank you for your time!

    Old 12-13-2013, 06:36 AM   #3
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    Re: First time issue/bite off

    I know you said you can't afford to go to a dentist but if you are a life long clencher/grinder you should be wearing a custom night gaurd at night to reduce the impact of the force clenching/grinding puts on your jaw - over time this leads to osteoarthitis in the TMJ Joint. I clench - never felt I was that severe a clencher but now at 48 years old I am told I need bi-lateral total joint replacement - I can't open my mouth more than a 1 finger width; I can't chew anything; am restricted to a diet of mush and very soft food and in chronic facial and neck pain - in short order my jaw is a mess. I don't mean to scare you but that is the risk you face if you don't deal with things now.

    If you can afford to do one thing - go to a dentist and get a custom night gaurd made - flat plane -wear it relgiously at night or during the day when you feel yourself clenching - it relieves some of the force clenching puts on your joint. Don't wear an over the counter one - it can create more issues if doesn't fit properly (which it likely won't since all jaws are different). Other than that - stick to soft foods; alternate hot and cold packs. Try over counter muscle relaxants and anti inflammatories if things get really bad.

    Good luck and take care.

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    bite, jaw, tmj

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