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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index

New TMJ Patient
Nov 28, 2014
Hi all... I wanted to use this forum to document my TMJ, and potentially help others in the future who encounter similar symptoms. I am a 37 year old male. About six months ago, I awoke with my left jaw popping as I ate breakfast. Soon after eating, the popping went away so I didn't think anything of it. This happened maybe once a week for the next four months... always disappearing after breakfast. About a month ago, everything changed. One day the popping didn't go away... It was there during lunch, dinner... all day. It never went away...and it got worse. It got louder and started to get painful, after having been painless to start. Then all within the same week...neck pain, back pain, ear fullness/pain and tinnitus all came on seemingly at once. I knew I had an issue so I googled the symptoms and self diagnosed myself with TMJ. Fortunately for me, their was a respected NM dentist who specialized in TMJ mere miles from my house. I quickly got an appointment and my diagnosis was confirmed. My bite was off, partially because of the orthodontics I had as a teen. I was born without lateral incisors and my orthodontist brought my cuspids in to help fill in the gap. Unfortunately this altered my bite to a degree...and left my tongue with little room as evidenced by the scalloping present on my tongue. Bite tests revealed most of the pressure on the back molars with the bicuspids and first molars not even contacting. In the front, the pressure was uneven from right to left. CT scans revealed that my condoyle ends were slightly mishapen, but still mainly rounded as they should be. My doctor recommended Phase 1 treatment with splint therapy, and even though the cost was very high... I didn't hesitate. The day after my initial jaw locked. I could only open 38mm, or just barely 2 fingers. It stayed like this for 10 days, and then just unlocked one morning when I woke up. I could now open to 55mm (over three fingers) but i was living with constant jaw pain, neck pain, back pain, ear fullness/pain, and tinnitus. I was also not sleeping well any longer as I was constantly worried my jaw would lock again. About 2 weeks after it unlocked, this Tuesday 11/25/14, my splints were ready...and I was ecstatic to start hopefully getting some relief. Along with the splints, I was to receive physical therapy including massage and cold laser treatment. I have two splints... A daytime lower splint that evens my bite and helps keep my jaw forward... and a nighttime anterior reposition splint that helps keep the mandible forward during sleep. I've only been wearing the splints for three days but can already tell a difference. The jaw popping has fallen off considerably... In the last 24 hours it has popped only a few times while eating... I no longer fear I will fall back into intermittent closed lock. The neck pain also seems to have subsided somewhat, but the difference is negligible. The ear fullness and tinnitus are no better yet, but I feel like once my muscles are out of spasm... these symptoms will improve too. The CT scans revealed that my condoyles were positioned way to far back... pressing against the ears. I have physical therapy every Tuesday for the next 6 weeks... I believe this will help too. I know it is a long road ahead, but I believe I will recover fully and put this behind me. My dentist does not want to discuss Phase 2, as he says only 30% of his patients require it. But it is an option if Phase 1 doesn't hold after weaning off the lower splint. The upper splint I will likely need permanently. I will continue to post updates on my progress here. My prayers and God's blessing are with all of you who are also going through this.

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