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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board


TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index


:wave: Hello fellow TMJD sufferers.....you're in my thoughts as you go through your own personal ordeals with TMJ treatment.

To goosebeavis - yes, I was left with the same type of anterior/open bite you now have...only my last molar on the right touched the lower tooth. People who don't have this problem have NO idea how hard it can be to eat anything that you have to bite off with your front teeth...every time I put food in my mouth, or bit off something (like a sandwich, banana, meat, etc), I could no longer use my front teeth to tear off pieces of food....I had to use the side of my mouth toward my first molars. So the act of chewing, swallowing, biting all becomes new and different when you've been wearing a splint for so long only to have it removed. My bite did close somewhat with braces, but was never "normal" again....of course, my bite was always slightly open/anterior anyway, and in the process of wearing a splint, it was discovered that my mandible was much smaller than my maxilla, and therefore over time, had pulled forward out of the socket in the body's attempt to align both upper/lower jaws. The braces I'm wearing are only to align my teeth prior to surgery....nothing but surgery will close my bite and align my upper/lower jaws to the best position. I will never be "cured" from TMJD...I already have bone loss and joint wear on both sides of my head, but splint, braces and maxilla/mandibular surgery will hopefully save what I have left and give me the best fit for upper/lower jaw alignment. I asked my ortho for a small splint to wear at night even during braces....because some of my pain symptoms returned. I went through 2 months of PT to improve range of motion for my neck, shoulders, and relax the muscles in the face & jaws...trigger point therapy was VERY painful at first, but did ultimately help with reducing my pain symptoms. I also had to consciously pay attention to myself during the day and not clench under stress. I also found myself waking up in a slightly open mouth position, which was good too. Be very aware of your mouth in rest position. The lips should touch gently; the tongue will rest against the roof of your mouth, maybe the tip will touch the ridge behind your upper teeth, and the teeth WILL NOT be touching....that is the best position for closed mouth/rest position and if you can "train" yourself to be in that position during the day, your body may naturally stay that way at night when you're sleeping. But don't hesitate to ask for a splint for night-time wear. Even with braces, you're possibly going to need extra protection from clenching/grinding as your teeth/jaws start shifting again. It's only natural for your open bite to close somewhat during orthodontia. I started braces in Dec. '04 and will most likely be in them until the end of 2007, so I know exactly what you're feeling right now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, believe me, and if I can help you during this phase of treatment, let me know. Also, try to find other means of muscle relaxation to help your jaws...i.e. warm, moist heat, massage, muscle relaxers if needed. I still take quite a bit of Motrin to help with TMJD pain too. Try to avoid situations (or at least be aware of them) that cause you to clench....even things like heavy lifting, pushing heavy things, straining, etc. can cause us to clench our jaws in order to provide more muscle force in certain activities.

To iluvmydog66 - your oral surgeon is incorrect if he says a splint cannot change your bite....of course, it can!!! And you've already seen many posters reporting bite changes with the splint. That's partly what a splint is for...it's not just to protect the teeth, it holds the upper/lower teeth apart, and allows the lower jaw to reposition itself in a more physiologically correct position. Splint therapy is how my ortho decides whether a person is a candidate for braces + surgery, or braces alone. If the jaw shifts with the splint and the TMJD symptoms go away with the splint, then it's a matter of orthodontia for proper tooth alignment paired with oral surgery to realign the jaws. You need to find a different specialist if your ortho and oral surgeon don't have the same philosophy on treatment for TMJ. My ortho + oral surgeon work very closely together...not geographically, but in principle and treatment beliefs, and therefore, understand and respect each other's part of the treatment program.

And My2:30 - everyone on this site has varying degrees of severity of TMJD, and so crowns and splint therapy may be your best option. I too had limited oral opening - 26mm for me initially and after splint therapy, my oral opening is now 41mm. Most likely your jaws are not in correct alignment which contributes to your limited opening. However, please be sure that your dentist has training and experience with TMJD and the use of splint therapy. Capping/crowning teeth after splint therapy is a conservative method that woks for some who's tooth/jaw alignment issues are not very severe. However, you don't say whether your dentist did X-rays of the jaws or teeth, made your splint from actual molds/impressions of your mouth/teeth, or whether any other types of measurements/testing were conducted to determine the severity and extent of your TMJ problems. Splint therapy is NOT one size fits all, and there are different splints for different types of TMJ problems. My splint was an upper one 24/7; as I've gone into the final stage of braces and prior to surgery, I'm wearing an upper splint again, but it's more of a NTI type splint called a "deprogrammer". Some people wear lower splints. So I would be very careful to just accept a splint from your dentist without knowing how much training, knowledge or experience she/he has with treatment of oral/maxilla disorders. My dentist fabricated a night splint for me years ago, but once my TMJD became severe and the pain was constant, she then referred me to an orthodontist for continued treatment, who then has me seeing an oral surgeon as well. Many professionals may be involved in your treatment, but if your dentist did not fit your splint to you specificially or does not monitor your progress with the splint on a monthly basis, then you need to find a professional who understands the various treatment options for TMJD.

Good luck to all of you!
Katie G





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