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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

Yes I know what dragon ball z is lol glad to know you're a fellow nerd!

You're at 8 months of this already?
Usually regular doctors say 3-6 months conservative treatment (in my experience) and I find that fishy to begin with when they don't bother to scan/diagnose you to see if that would make it worse or actually help.

I think you're at the point where you should consider seeking out a specialist, if you're comfortable with that and find it necessary.

A lot of TMJ specialists are in fact dentists, so don't rule them out necessarily. You need AT MINUMUM these things usually to achieve an actual diagnosis. No TMJ case is exactly the same and it can be complicated to diagnose because the symptoms can be numerous and people have varying amounts of them, in varying degrees of severity. (here's what I personally experienced when I found a good doctor who actually examined me):
-mouth exam: teeth/tongue/tonsils/gums/cheeks (they should be able to tell if you're a grinder, if you have a cross bite, if you might have sleep apnea, if you're biting your tongue or cheeks, etc.)
-muscle palpation test: face, jaw joints, head, neck, and shoulders (they're looking for pressure or trigger points and to gauge your level of pain/sensitivity in certain areas)
-Posture: (they check for forward head posture, how you walk or stand, etc.)
-a very thorough medical history report, a long TMJ questionnaire, and a sleep apnea questionnaire
-an iCAT scan. This is a 3D X-ray that will be able to show them the status of your condyles, your jaw position, your sinuses, etc...they should go over it thoroughly with you to explain what is happening and why.

For example, when I had mine done, the doctor pointed out that in my case, I have a slightly deviated septum, my condyles are flattening out and are way too close to my ear canals (in both cases worse on the left side), and the left condyle has formed into a "dog leg" type of shape over the course of a year because of its wrong positioning since my symptoms first started. (Originally my TMJ presented as rare instances of extreme ear pain on left side. I was never scanned, the ENT said I chew my cheeks and to stop chewing gum. No warning it could get worse.) Essentially every time I used my jaw I was making it worse, and the recent root canal simply made my current situation happen faster.

She was also able to tell me that the first 2 discs in my cervical spine were being slightly displaced backward because of my jaw being in too backward of a position, which is consequently impinging on my airway and blood supply in that area.
None of this sounds great or positive, but now I KNOW what is happening in my body.

A TMJ MRI is really the only definitive way to know what is happening with your discs, but not many specialists request that it is done, which I find frustrating and odd. There are other ways to indicate what is happening with the discs, but the MRI is the best way, when read by someone who knows what to look for and how to do the scan right. (This based on what I've read, asking my doctor, and talking to other people with TMJ.)

One thing this experience has taught me is that TMJ can definitely progress over time and get worse. It was happening to me and I didn't even know it. It's a sneak attack disorder. It starts as annoying and then something you just deal with occasionally, and then bam it's a daily dysfunction and/or pain issue.

No it's not fatal, but it's also not well regulated; no standard of care, no definitive diagnosis method, no insurance coverage, no doctor/dentist "TMJ specialist" title recognition or certification. Anyone can call themselves a TMJ specialist, which why hunting for the right doctor who has years of continuing education and experience is so frustrating and necessary.

It's your body and it's up to you how you manage it, but I know for me personally it has been extremely helpful knowing what is actually happening to cause what I am going through.

I have gotten better about the obsessive research stuff, but I've also been pretty busy the last few days, so yay distractions! Haha

Also just had a very revealing talk with my sister, who revealed that she also has weird jaw symptoms. We came to the realization that she may have TMJ as well. She put together a bunch of seemingly random things she experiences daily that suddenly connected when she considered what I was going through.
Her jaw gets "stuck" at a certain point and she has to push her jaw forward and "click" it open so she can open wide again. She gets neck/shoulder aches a lot. She gets a headache and nausea at least 4-5 times a week. Her hands are always cold and get occasionally numb. Her hearing on both sides will be randomly affected, the volume lowering for no apparent reason. And a few other things.

She just dealt with this stuff on a daily basis and didn't even think most of them were odd until I was like "normal people don't do/feel all of that" lol

These things seem so random, but over time they build if not connected and addressed. So we're going to have her examined too. We both had the same orthodontist, so I guess we shouldn't have been so surprised, but we were.

Anyway. I hope you're doing ok and that any of this long message was at all helpful. I'm happy to hear you've improved your diet, that really does help a lot, along with the supplements/vitamins.

the person who diagnosed you with TMJ, what did she suggest you do? I'm curious. Seems like most just say "live with it", or "calm your anxiety" (like that's at all easy when you're freaking out and in pain)

Bye for now!

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