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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

I wanted to add to the discussion of teeth and their impact on our symptoms. For some reason I can remember particular changes to my teeth that resulted from dental appts and as I follow the history of these changes it kind of points to what happened with me and back to the points made about cuspids and the plane of teeth.

First of all I just want to mention I had the 1st premolars or bi-cuspids removed on each side for braces (so now I only have one premolar/ bicuspid on each side) and that my braces left me with more of a 3 sided rectangle so the fronts didn't curve the way pictures often depict and not like this curved horshoe dentists are fond of. And I had what Stillhope refers to as the sloping plane especially around the central molars and was quite comfortable.

So one day the lower right bicuspid breaks during the filling of a cavity and the dentist rebuilds it using amalgam and it felt too low - but I just put up with it - I notice I tend to push my jaw up on that side now though when I go to a resting or relaxed position - but no big deal, I eventually got used to it.

A few years later I do the implants and the dentist needs to use the bicuspids on the bottom as anchors for a fixed brdige so he has to file them down - this time however the right lower bicsupid ends up being much higher and when I ask him to lower it he said he had to put a post in it to lenghten it to hold the crown plus my bite showed it was too short to begin with. Fair enough b/c I recalled it did feel short after the filling some time ago. I start getting ear aches and developed a tight knot in front of my right ear. The dentist tried to lower the crown but this made it flat and didn't help with the ear aches plus now I felt like my lower left side was feeling lower or being pushed down and the right was pushing further up. The dentist who did the implants and this work also had to crown my canines or cusps to use as anchors for the bridge and he too said if they are not done right you can end up with tmj - so I said well then do them right please. Eventually my symptoms start to subside after a bout of stiff necks and ear aches I am relatively ok and functioning normally.

Now along comes the need to replace the bridge due to a chip exposing an implant and the next dentist insists the lower cuspids need to be changed to accomodate his bridge - we argued about it b/c I felt like I was wasting money on something unnecessary but eventually give in. Now the problem I inititally had is reveresed - the right lower cuspid is shorter and has nice groves and edges to it and the right side of my face feels so relaxed - but the lefts cuspid starts feelling higher and higher that I start to gnaw it with the canine above. Now this dr insisted on changing my canines/cuspids too - only he did something to the left upper cuspid/canine since it suddenly felt like it changed direction and I was having problems opening my mouth on the left side. He said he never heard of such a thing - that cuspids can't have such an impact. I told him my cuspids used to feel like door hinges - since my teeth were in this rectangle position - the cuspids connected the front and side teeth as a hinge and the hinge was not working now. Plus my cuspids used to feel like they were positioned more along the same linear line of my molars and now felt like they were outside of that line. The rest is just history as my facial muscles and jaw movement just started to decline over a 4 year period until I went back one more time to have a cavity filled and I guess the guy was tired of me complaining - he filed down my lower left bicuspid (crown) and left it flat - and that night I slipped off my teeth on the elft side while sleeping.

I guess the points I am trying to make is that canines/cuspids do give direction - I think they tell your tongue where it is and have an impact on your back teeth and how they move when opening and closing and that bicuspids/pre-molars have more of a balancing role to play since that is where each side of your bite comes to rest - if your left u/l bicuspids do not meet at the same time your right u/l bicuspids meet the jaw will become unbalanced. Plus the flatness of teeth and splints in general will allow you to slip off the sloped plane since the bicuspids/premolars should act as breaks and prevent your upper jaw from overextending when in a resting position. And I think my previous experience with changes made to these teeth support this theory. What do you guys think?

LTC - yes I did shovel snow, didn't want to spend another $40 for a plow for 4 more inches of snow so that could have caused the return of my symptoms. It wasn't heavy and I didn't really lift it - just pushed it off the driveway but nonetheless it could have wrenched my neck - especially since I can't bite down anywhere - which leaves the neck and those muscles pretty vulnerable.

Yes - I have seen some posts in the dental problem forum and dentist do still remove premolars for crowded mouths. Yet on one site I found they cite this as being the no 2 or 3 cause of tmj later on.

I would do implants again assuming I ever get symptom free and return to normal functiong and find a job to pay for them. The implants designed nowadays are much different than what I had done 15 yrs ago - they don't even make the ones I had anymore. I didn't have any trouble with mine but from what I unerstand anterior implants are eaier and less problematic since there are less nerves in the front than in the back where the molars are plus anterior implants are easier to maintain and keep clean.

I guess we should shoot for this spring as our goal [I]AGAIN[/I] and put this year behind us. I think I am going to do what you are doing and start going out and getting other opinions too.

I wish there was a place we could go to, too - part of the problem is we really need a dentist to give us a good week or 2 of undivided attention - no interruptions, just keep at it until one side feels good and then the other.

I think I am going to spring for those cosmetic teeth I keep seeing in catalogs - you mold them over your existing teeth and let it set or harden - you can't use them to chew with so you have to take them out - but I thought if I could get them comfortable enough - I could show my dentist and tell him "do this" .

Stillhope - I think the beginning part of my post answers your question of having one side of my jaw push up - and yes - the left side pushed up and I had sciatica on my right side - plus the condyle on my left side is flattened.

I have no appt at this time with my dentist as he is sending out new models to the lab - he is out on vacation until the 3rd of Jan though. His office will call me when the splint/overdentures are back from the lab and usually get me in wihtin a couple days of that at night so he can spend a good 1-2 hrs on me undisturbed.

I have trouble with my eyes too - I can't focus most days and feel crossed eyed - the last splint/overdenture caused me to lose the peripheral vision on the right side which is not fun. I often notice my eyebrows move around too - one day my right eyebrow will be way up - my sister calls it the cocked eyebrow - a sign of being cranky or in a bad mood - and some days my left eyebrow is high up - and every once in a while one eyebrow will lose its curve or arch and look like its straight across my brow. I never know how to pluck them anymore.

You know what i have noticed that is part of my problem - on my lower right side - of the 3 teeth there - 2 molars and one premolar/bicuspid - the last tooth is higher than the first tooth on that side. On my left side I am just the opposite. The last tooth is mcuh lower than the first tooth on that side. So when you compare the lower teeth from side to side - the last left molar is lower than the right last molar and the first left premolar is higher than the right one - talk about imbalance - this is why I feel like I have bike pedals in my mouth - I always feel like one side is up and side is down.

To both: Well I am having my younger sister and her husband and my neice and her boyfriend over for Xmas Eve dinner. We usually go out for dinner but decided this year to stay home - not that I eat much as you can imagine I am sure and face the same problem. So I will be cooking (God help them - LOL). And for Xmas day I am going over to older sisters house for the day - she has 4 kids - all adults - and one of them has 3 kids under the age of 5 - plus she has her inlaws and her kids' inlaws over - so there is like 30-35 people there. So its easy for me to just find a cozy corner somewhere and "chill out". I usually end up falling asleep inbetween dinner courses and desert and then beg my younger sister to leave after few hours - we live within a couple mins of each other and she will drive since my driving is erratic these days.

What do you guys have planned - anything?

Oh - LTC - if you want - it may be time to start a new thread since this one is quite long - maybe Aplliance Fitting Part 3 or another name if you prefer.

Can you believe I am still wrestling with my darn xmas tree - I wasn't going to put one up but then when we decided to stay in and have dinner over my house xmas eve and I felt like scrooge - but now I can't it to light and the stand won't rotate - I feel like leaving it there undecorated with the top off and just calling it a day.
Thank you both for the detailed messages and for sharing about the payments to these robbers. I will reply to some of it.
LTC, thanks for the comments on my last doc. I am final now that I am not going to see him again and moreover will fax him a formal letter asking why he needed a second consult when I didn't ask for it and instead of making me comfy, as he planned; will ask for a partial refund. This won't work but I'll vent out my emotions.

Oh, TL, what is "cosmetic teeth" that they advertise? Never heard about it. I have ordered some dental supply today. After your story with the horseshoes and all our posts I decided to stop relying on someone who can quickly fix my mouth b/c "he knows better". Will see my local dentist to redo just the pair of last molars on one side b/c I basically have only half of the upper crown left and lost the cap on the bottom (all due to dental work). He confirmed that "these four" (last molars and caspids) are like road-blocks to the jaw movement.
TL, he was also shaking his head from side to side when I told him that I found an "occlusion pal" who is in the same boat starting with the front braces, etc. Actually there is a special nerve connection in the brain which fires when the caspids touch something: it tells the jaw to relax and drop down. That’s why they use cotton rolls.

TL, your sharing and theory are very interesting for me. Premolars do not normally stop the jaw from going forward (and causing ear pain), this is the function of "anterior stops"-- contacts on the fronts. Originally I had it only on caspids and on one-two central teeth, but when they did veneers it all was messed up. I wish I knew the theory back then!! There should be contacts on some or all fronts when we bite; if not (like in the open bite) the jaw goes forward until it will "find them", overstretching the ligaments, pulling the disks out, tearing them, etc. Some people learn to keep the tongue there but again this must be functional and is not a recipe for everyone. If there is not enough room it won't work either. I learned it all the hard way, was in both situations.

TL and LTC, I was thinking about your situations today. Here is what I recalled I did sometime to confirm my feel about the bite and my plane.
I stood up straight for a while in front of the mirror and relaxed my jaw and the body. Then I checked my lower plane. Just make sure your eyes are really horizontal (I bought a $3 small level at Home Depot-- love it!!) and the head is not tilted to one side. As TL has, I had the “rails” of which one goes up and the other goes down towards the back. Then I placed a small flat wooden party "toothpick" on the side where it was lower to imitate the height to the "horizon" on that side, and started biting. It felt so good! My jaw didn't want to slide to my left side and lift up any more! The face looked so straight. I played with this many times until I basically could see where I really need my teeth to be higher to level out the plane and stop twisting my jaw, neck, head, spine, etc.

I am glad you clarified a bit about your premolars. But if the upper ones were pulled out then how come you are only missing four fronts? You have caspids and then another gap?

You know, you said "no big deal, I'll get used to that shift of the jaw". When a dentist articulated my models to my pain-free bite and saw the mismatch on the last molars he said: how could you lived with this for 16 (well, now more) years? I have tears in my eyes thinking about you. He took a photo to teach his students.

[I guess the points I am trying to make is that canines/cuspids do give direction - I think they tell your tongue where it is and have an impact on your back teeth and how they move when opening and closing].
Besides that signal to the brain to relax I think it's more mechanical. There should be matching inclined surfaces on the pairs of upper and lower and matching to your jaw structure too.
What about that dentist who did good canines for you long ago? Can you go back to him? Doing the canines right is a GOOD sign! (not just talking about it as they all do!)

Me too, I count the years by seasons: now next Spring!
I tried "going to a place for a week" !! Had two almost identical nightmare stories. I was left in real emergencies and could not do much. They say afterward: "you need someone locally to work with you for a long time". This is it!! Was just a big waste of energy and money to say the least.
TL, I hope you will not try again after all to get used to something uncomfy and loose your uppers for nothing. If the contacts are not right this can cause damage not only to the jaw but to gums, bones, etc. (I had all that as well), so I trust more the "marshmallow theory". And I wasn’t biting apples since college b/c of a small filling, this is an easy part.

I hope that the eye problems will be mostly reversed if and WHEN we get out bites!! I noticed that if I bring my head on top I can see much better when I read (if of course, the teeth are not on the way to this position!)

[this is why I feel like I have bike pedals in my mouth - I always feel like one side is up and side is down.] -- Same here!!:(

I might just stay at home for the holidays, maybe my daughter will come in for a while.
Have really nothing since September to go out in; tried few times for a very short time but had so much pain afterward…

[it may be time to start a new thread since this one is quite long - maybe Aplliance Fitting Part 3 or another name if you prefer. ]
I was going to suggest it too. Wanted something like "Is your occlusion lost too?" Maybe will start tomorrow.

[Can you believe I am still wrestling with my darn xmas tree ...]
Wow! I forgot to bring my little tree from the basement!! No memory left.

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