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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

Hi all, first of all let me say how excited I am to have found this board! It's comforting to finally not feel so alone with this struggle.

My jaw issues began in June of 2009, and since then I've had flareups about every month. I'll go for a couple weeks where my jaw hurts on the left side and I take painkillers all the time. During these flareups my jaw will hardly open, my face swells up on the left side only (cheek, jawline, swollen glands to the point where I feel like me throat is sore just on the left). When it gets really bad the pain spreads to my left ear and sometimes the right ear. I can't sleep through the night without getting up to take more ibuprofen. I think I clench my jaw in my sleep, but I'm not aware of doing this during the day. My jaw feels best in the morning/early afternoon, and by evening/night it feels its worst, which is surprising if I am a night-time clencher.

After a lot of failed attempts at finding a solution or relief, I finally found a TMJ unit in a hospital near me. They fitted me with a splint this past September. It snaps onto my upper teeth and I've been wearing it all the time, except when eating. The first two months wearing the splint were fantastic! I had 2 full months of relief, which is a long stretch for me. Sadly I still had a flareup in November and again now, and this flareup is the worst I've had and is lasting the longest, too.

I can't tell if my splint is helping or hurting my situation. I notice that it's certainly opened my bite a LOT, I mean, my teeth hardly touch when I take the splint out and I try to close. Anyone know if this is good or bad? Honestly, I don't understand how the splint is supposed to work, I believe I was told it would "help open my bite" which it did. A year ago I had a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist, and at the time (this was before I got the splint) he said I had an open bite and that he'd want to fix that with braces, which I did not buy into... mostly because the doctor seemed like he wanted to make money more than help me (they sat me down to watch a power point about their office!), but now I wonder if anyone has ever heard of braces being helpful for changing the bite to aid the jaw?

I think my next step will be to find a physical therapist or maybe a chiropractor since I'm not sure what to do next... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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