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Does anyone suffer from TMJ Disorders?

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Mandarine

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 20, 2006
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Hi everyone!!


I haven''t been on PS forever and recently came back
I hope you are all doing great. I see we even have a whole secion for the Healthy posts! that''s awesome!!!

Anyway I wanted to ask if anyone suffers from TMJ disorders?.

Here is my TMJ history...

I have grinded my teeth at night for as long as I can remember. I''ve had a few mouth/bite guards but end up breaking them, taking them off in the middle of the night, losing them, etc. I also had problems with headaches after sleeping with them....so basically I gave up after a while.

A few years ago a dentist told me my jaw was so "messed up" (I''m sure he used a more appropriate term!) that I was going to end up with arthritis in it
. Fast forward a good 6 years (to a couple of months ago). I started "hearing noises" in my right ear (almost like the sounds of rubbing leather?). I went to Ear Nose and Throat Dr and they couldn''t see anything wrong with my ear (they even did a hearing test!). My ear felt as if it was clogged. The Dr gave me a nasal spray which did nothing at all.

Then a few weeks after the ear incident, I started getting excrutiating pain when I tried to open my mouth (I can no longer enjoy eating a sandwich or stretch into a good yawn!). Sometimes my jaw also locks or cracks (which it did in the past too, now it''s just more often). It hurts!
. I went to the dentist and he said I definitely needed to get a mouth guard ASAP. I guess I can barely open my mouth to half of what "normal" people can. They couldn''t even do the cleaning because I just couldn''t bare to keep my mouth open wide (to the best of my ability) for that long.

I have now been using the mouth/bite guard every night for almost two weeks. The pain is exactly the same. The dentist said within a couple of weeks the muscles should start feeling relaxed....(not in my case!). To top it all off, now the muffled/clogged feeling is in both ears (with the noises still there in the right ear).

I was wondering if anyone ahd similar problems or had any suggestions??

Thanks in advance!


M~
 

Festy

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
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477


I have TMJ to beat the band. (You poor thing, I have experienced so much of what you describe). To make a long, painful story short, I''ve had every kind of mouth guard imaginable. The night of my bachelorette party, I forgot to wear it. Guess what - I woke up the next morning with no pain. It probably helped that I''d also taken a bunch of Advil to ward off a hangover. :) So I stopped wearing it. What I''d always suspected turned out to be true - because I had something to bite down on, I was biting down on it all the time and clenching like crazy! The pain didn''t stay away forever...what I''ve learned is that my bite is constantly changing, which is why these guards don''t work for long in complex cases like mine. However they''re molded might work for a little while until my bite changes again. While I''m not completely pain-free, I can now eat an apple again! (It had gotten to the point where I could barely open wide enough for a banana). Poor DH.


Mandy, does Advil work at all when your jaw is feeling really bad? I''ve found that taking some before bed often helps. Be careful about taking too much, though, especially on an empty stomach. If the pain continues, you might try ditching the mouth guard and see what happens. Are you seeing a dentist who specializes in TMJ?
 

Mandarine

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Hi Festy! See we're so much alike


Well, this got really bad while not wearing a bite guard (didn't wear one for about 6 years). I haven't tried taking advil but I guess I could try that...although it may just be a temporary way to relief the pain. What a pain it is isn't it?. I think unless you have had it you don't really know how bad it is. I think my DH thinks it's not that bad...I wish that was true


I am concerned about how it's going to be a few years from now if it's already this bad!.

The dentist is one of the best when it comes to bite guards but he's not the TMJ expert. He does have a specialist he recommends but he said the first thing the other Dr will ask is if I have been wearing my bite guard!. So he said to give it a try for a few weeks and if the pain continues then go to the specialist.

It wasn't cheap either....the insurance doesn't really cover much so I had to pay over $400 out of pocket for this thing...which I think may be making it worse! Now I not only have pain but I'm going deaf




ETA: And I can't eat bananas either!
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
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6,746
I''ve had TMJ problems since I was about 16. That was my first dental visit ironically enough! Iv''e had the headaches, aural fullness, popping, locking, etc etc. I can only open my mouth so far before I have to slide my jaw to one side and allow it to open up further. It''s been years since I''ve been able to eat an apple on the core. Since I''ve had my wisdom teeth removed it''s better. I never could use a mouth guard but I''m very aware of clenching and grinding. I''ve trained myself to wake up at the first sign of pressure (which of course irritates the TMJ). This has lead to drooling, but c''est la vie!

My point is, I understand, it doesn''t seem to get much better, but with dental treatments you might find some relief. Also, mind over matter is a great tool.
 

Eva17

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
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1,017
oddly both dh and i have been getting this recently.

dentist said to put hot compress on jaw at night when relaxing or watching tv. also he said if it has been a bad day to take the advil when going to bed. the muscles need to relax.

we were told by ENT and dentist, if you can get through this bout of TMJ within a couple of weeks there is a good chance the noise in the ears will go away. but it you don't get it under control, ringing, clicking etc can become more permanent. no gum, sandwiches, steaks, only soft foods for the couple of weeks that you are trying to get the jaw and muscle to relax....

good luck.
 

pavelover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2007
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Hi mandarine, wanted to chime in on tmj- have had sooo many of the symptoms you descrie and I do have a "touch" of arthritis in my joint. I have tried a bunch of stuff. am with a specialist now and have been for a few years. things are much much better. I got a guard that I had to wear 24 hours a day(it was embarassing and hard to get used to). It took away my headaches and clicking - the clicking didn''t stop totally but the headaches imrpoved sooooo much. I went ahead and got braces(again) to improve my bite as it is messed up- Iforget the terms for what is wrong with my bite/jaw. The other hting that helps though is the chiropractor- he does this special "massage" that is totally painful but works- its called art or something like that. if you google score chiropractors you can read about it- see if there is someone who does this technique in your area- my insurance covers chiropractic care- check yours...
also, advil helps, avoiding crunchy, hard foods,and wearing your guard. I hope this is helpful! good luck.
 

sba771

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
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887
I don''t have it but my mom does and I know what it can do to a person so I am sorry you have to deal with it. What our orthodontist did which helped a bit was he injected steroid (cortisone I think?) shots directly into the joints in her jaw. She said the shots were pretty uncomfortable, but helped the movement and reduce some of the pain.
 

laine

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 21, 2006
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696
I mostly clench, and like Festy, the guard often makes it worse, as I bite on it while I''m sleeping (though its great when I''m grinding). I tend to go in cycles--fine for a while, then clench all the time, even while awake. It got really bad when I had my wisdom teeth out. I told the dentist when I went back for the check up a few days later. He said it wasn''t uncommon, and gave me a low dose of Valium to take at night for the next few days. It was amazing! It broke the cycle of clenching (when I clench, it hurts, and when it hurts, I clench, making it hard to stop), and I was fine even after I stopped taking it. I''ve thought about going to the doctor to see if they''ll write me a script for some Valium when it gets really bad, but I worry that if I go ask for it like that, they''ll think I just want it for recreational use or something.
 

Mandarine

Ideal_Rock
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Thank you everyone!!!...not much hope but it is comforting to see that I''m not alone!.
I am definitely going to try using a hot compress and maybe drinking a calming tea or something before bed...we''ll see..
It''s so annoying isn''t it
 

Festy

Shiny_Rock
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Date: 2/10/2009 3:25:32 PM
Author: laine
I mostly clench, and like Festy, the guard often makes it worse, as I bite on it while I''m sleeping (though its great when I''m grinding). I tend to go in cycles--fine for a while, then clench all the time, even while awake. It got really bad when I had my wisdom teeth out. I told the dentist when I went back for the check up a few days later. He said it wasn''t uncommon, and gave me a low dose of Valium to take at night for the next few days. It was amazing! It broke the cycle of clenching (when I clench, it hurts, and when it hurts, I clench, making it hard to stop), and I was fine even after I stopped taking it. I''ve thought about going to the doctor to see if they''ll write me a script for some Valium when it gets really bad, but I worry that if I go ask for it like that, they''ll think I just want it for recreational use or something.
Laine, that''s so awesome that that worked for you! My dentist also prescribed a "muscle relaxer" for me for the same purpose. Same thing as Valium, probably? Anyway, I was afraid to take them for fear of becoming addicted. Fat chance of that! They did nothing but make me feel like I was encased in cement! Didn''t even help me sleep...I''d lie awake feeling semi-paralyzed. It was hysterical.
 

Erin

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2004
Messages
2,783
My orthodontist made me a spacer for my upper and lower teeth - fits inside the mouth behind all the teeth. Each night before I went to bed I put a key in the mechanism and gave it a quarter turn - just enough where I barley noticed it. Over time, my teeth stood up straight and this expanded my jaw. I also now wear a permanent retainer on the back of my lower teeth. I''ve never had an issue ever since.
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,937
Hi Mandarine!
Nice to "see" you. I just got done responding to a thread about how I don''t really read threads based on the poster and then saw your name and clicked on your thread w/o paying much attention to the topic.


Anyway... I''ve been told I have TMJ and have periods of time where I''m in pain. Those periods end up going away, usually lasting a couple of weeks. I''ve also been told to wear a guard but have never done so. I also was told that part of the problem stems from having a tooth removed by my Orthodontist years ago when I had braces. So I''d advise against that to anyone unless it''s crucial! I do grind my teeth and can tell if I have done so by how my jaw feels in the morning. I think I mainly do it when I''m stressed b/c it''s not all the time for me.

I once saw a dr. who gave me jaw exercises to do. This was when I was having some extreme pain. I do think the exercises helped. I wish I remember what they were to share them with you! Sorry! Maybe you can ask your dr. about that. I would suggest going to a specialist b/c I''ve found that your average dentist isn''t very familiar with these issues.

I know that wasn''t very helpful, but I do hope your pain goes away soon!
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jul 13, 2007
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4,918
My daughter was diagnosed with a TMJ type disorder when she was in Grade 7 I think. The orthodonist said she would have to have braces and and expander, or face jaw surgery once she was done growing (after age 18). Of course we went ahead with the braces/expander. She still has the locking/clicking, but doesn''t grind her teeth. She has done an MRI which shows she has chronic mastoiditis, an infection in the bones between the jaw and ear. This makes her have plugged ears and infections much more often than the norm. The options now are shunts in her ears like they give little kids (not appealing at age 21), or surgery to remove the tiny bones, or continuous anti-biotic treatment. She''s just in limbo with it all at the moment. I think it''s a chronic problem (TMJ), with no simple treatment strategies. What was supposed to work only made the problem less severe, but didn''t stop the possibility of surgery. Have you had an MRI done? Surgery might be your answer in the end. My daughter is pretty much ready to just do it, but the specialists keep stalling, waiting for who knows what. She''s frustrated like you are. Take care.
 

Itgirl76

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
176
I Just wanted to commiserate with you and let you know I totally know how you feel. I got TMJ 2 years ago when I got all of my wisdom teeth removed! So basically for me trying to get rid of one problem created another. I was also 30 when I had them done, I waited to long so according to my densit they were in thier pretty good.
I now every couple of months have such bad migraines that I need to take a day off of work because my jaw hurts so much...I take the day off because I do a lot of public speaking for my job and it is kind of hard to speak when you are in pain. I was given 2 viable options...I don''t want surgery. Injecting a kind of steroid in my jaw and or spacers...I think you had some really great ideas and things that I do...I generally don''t really eat things that are chewy...like taffy type consistency items, NO GUM...it makes it worse. amd when I feel a really bad case of it I take advil or alleve and a hot compress are my best friends.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Mandarine, it is so nice to "see" you! How''s married life?

I had TMJ for years, it began when I first had braces put on at age 12, and went away when I had my veneers put on this past May.

I clench my jaw at night, and I tried wearing a mouth guard at night for years. There was not one morning that I woke up with the guard still in my mouth. It seemed that I flung it across my bedroom in my sleep. Weird, I know.

My cosmetic dentist is really incredible, and he did a bite evaluation on me, and then designed my veneers accordingly. (I have veneers on my four front teeth. My "real" teeth are really tiny, it''s just a cosmetic thing.) He shaved down some of my teeth that do not have veneers to complete my new bite.

I''m not sure I''d recommend veneers to fix TMJ, as they''re very expensive, but it was a nice side-effect!
 

deegee

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Apr 27, 2007
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1,577
I have TMJ. I have the little custom mouth piece thingie, but I can''t use it. I pop it in at night and it''s not in my mouth the next morning. I guess it bugs me and I end up pulling it out and throwing it across the room. I never remember taking it out, and I have a hard time finding it the next day so I quit wearing it. Usually when I have a flare up, I take muscle relaxers and anti inflammatory medicine for about a week or two and then it settles back down. The popping sound in my ear never goes away, even when my jaw isn''t hurting. I avoid really chewy foods and apples and I''m able to keep it in control most of the time. One day recently I really messed up and chewed a piece of gum after lunch. The afternoon went by in a blur, and I realized at the end of the day that I had been chewing the same piece of gum for 5 hours! I was barely able to open my mouth at all for the next few days. Stupid of me!!

I''m sorry you''re having problems and I hope you find relief soon. Sometimes a heat compress really helps, or at least it feels good while it''s on there.
 

Mandarine

Ideal_Rock
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Hi Dixie!!!! So nice to see you too!!!!!!!
How are you doing?. I will definitely ask about the exercises! Good idea.

Lyra - I feel for your daughter...it really is a pain!!!. I get concerned about surgery but sometimes it really is the only option!. Thanks for sharing your story

Itgirl - Thank you! You know you pinpointed to something I do..I eat gum not always but I do sometimes. Last year I quit smoking (I used to smoke 1-2 a day only but gave that up!). To help me I chewed fruity gums...and I think this may be the result of that...because my pain has never been this bad before. I don''t chew gum all the time now but did last year for about two months!


Haven - Hi girlieeeeee!!!!!!!! I''m good! Nice to see you too! How are you?. It''s almost been a year for me I can''t believe it!!! Everything is great
. I am glad the veneers had that nice side efft and I''m sure you have a perfect bite and smile now
. Thanks for popping in!!!
 

Mandarine

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 20, 2006
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3,786
Hi deegee!
I used to do the same thing with my mouth guards...throw them all over the place!. This one seems to stay in all night though it''s a little softer (still not soft) but seems to adjust better to my mouth...
Like I said in the post above you guys both pointed to what I think may have trigerred this pain to get so bad...GUM!. I guess it''s something I have to remember not to do!!.
I will also try the hot compresses!!
Thank you
 

risingsun

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I have had TMJ for a number of years. The pain is episodic, but the popping, clicking and occasionally having my mouth get stuck open are regular problems. I''ve tried a night guard and it caused additional problems. When I''m in pain, I go to a pain clinic and have injections into my jaws. It''s not very comfortable, but well worth it to calm both pain and spasms. Upgradeable and I were discussing TMJ on the Fibromyalgia thread. TMJ, for us, seems to be a part of the Fibro syndrome. So are the headaches
 

Gypsy

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Date: 2/12/2009 12:01:59 AM
Author: risingsun
I have had TMJ for a number of years. The pain is episodic, but the popping, clicking and occasionally having my mouth get stuck open are regular problems. I''ve tried a night guard and it caused additional problems. When I''m in pain, I go to a pain clinic and have injections into my jaws. It''s not very comfortable, but well worth it to calm both pain and spasms. Upgradeable and I were discussing TMJ on the Fibromyalgia thread. TMJ, for us, seems to be a part of the Fibro syndrome. So are the headaches
This sounds familiar. I''ve had TMJ since I got my braces off... in my teens. Still dealing with it. And now diagnosed with Fibro... my rhuematologist said TMJ is typical in Fibro.
 

risingsun

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Date: 2/13/2009 12:06:29 AM
Author: Gypsy

Date: 2/12/2009 12:01:59 AM
Author: risingsun
I have had TMJ for a number of years. The pain is episodic, but the popping, clicking and occasionally having my mouth get stuck open are regular problems. I''ve tried a night guard and it caused additional problems. When I''m in pain, I go to a pain clinic and have injections into my jaws. It''s not very comfortable, but well worth it to calm both pain and spasms. Upgradeable and I were discussing TMJ on the Fibromyalgia thread. TMJ, for us, seems to be a part of the Fibro syndrome. So are the headaches
This sounds familiar. I''ve had TMJ since I got my braces off... in my teens. Still dealing with it. And now diagnosed with Fibro... my rhuematologist said TMJ is typical in Fibro.
Well, aren''t we the lucky ones
I''m sorry to hear--err--read that you have it, too.
 

LtlFirecracker

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2008
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4,837
You are not alone. I have it too. My dentist wants me to see a specialist, but with my schedule, I can''t even get in for my routine checks. So I being a bad patient. It hasn''t been that bad over the last year.
 

pronoviasbride

Rough_Rock
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Mar 26, 2009
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Hi Mandarine,
I am trying to find you here: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/calling-mandarine-q-about-your-veil.111022/

Regarding your TMJ syndrome...there are so many things that could be causing your pain. I should first tell you that I am not an expert, but I do know enough to give you sound advice. I know for a fact that dentists make a lot of money selling mouth guards. In some TMJ situations mouth guards may work. However, I am concerned that your dentist did not perform the proper screening to determine the cause and most appropriate treatment for your pain. I also have a hard time believing that any reputable specialist expects a patient to try an expensive custom mouth guards first.

My question is: How do you know if you grind your teeth when you are sleeping?-did someone see you grind your teeth or did your dentist tell you that you grind your teeth and based in on the "wear patterns" on your teeth.

If in fact the pain is caused by teeth grinding, it will cause muscle fatigue and trigger points in the muscles responsible for moving your TMJ-however the mouth guard should have helped reduce some of these symptoms. I hope your dentist palpated the muscles around your jaw to determine if they are sensitive.

Please do some background research on the TMJ expert your dentist recommended. I do think an expert needs to check it out.
www.ratemds.com

Some questions a good TMJ expert should ask or test...
-any locking, clicking or popping?
-pain on clenching?
-pain on jaw distraction or jaw compression? i.e. use your hand to pull your jaw open and put pressure when closed
-pain when yawning
-any malocclusion? (i.e. see if the middle gap of your upper teeth line up with the middle gap of your lower teeth when your jaw is closed
-any history of neck pain, car accidents?
-does your occupation require you to sit at a desk in front of a computer?
-is there pain anywhere else? in front of your ears, temple, neck, eye?
-have you been stressed out lately
-recent cold or infection?
-does one side hurt more than the other?
-how many knuckles can you fit in your mouth?

Good Luck Mandarine I hope it is just muscle strain...then all you need is a nice facial massage
 

stepcutnut

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
2,399
Mandarine-sorry I just saw this. Hope you are getting along well with your TM issues!

I too have suffered from TMJ for a long time-19 years. I have gotten my best relief with a combination of Tx. A very thin flexible custom mouth guard-worn on my bottom teeth, regular chiropratic care, moist heat(when I have a lot of stress) and accupuncture on occasion.

I have a fabulous dentist that has also helped with my occlusion issues. He overall is a fantastic TMJ specialist-gets down to the man issues with my jaw problems, instead of just wanting to mask the symptoms with meds or do surgery like all the MD TMJ specialists I had seen previosly.

Good luck!!! I hope you can find the right Tx combo for yourself :)
 

Mandarine

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
3,786
Thank you guys!!

It has actually gotten better (meaning I can open my mouth wider and the noises in my ear have subsided a bit.

I''ve been wearing the bite guard and sometimes at night I wake my self up because I''m grinding so hard!. I think the bite guard has helped though. I also stopped eating anything chewy (no chewing gum ever again!).

I do want to see a specialist but think they will need to do more x-rays so I think I will wait (since I''m pregnant and it it a bit better now!).

Anyway, thanks a BUNCH for all the tips and comments! It''s good to know I''m not alone and this is actually quite common!

M~
 
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