Had an appointment with a TMJ specialist today....UPDATED WITH PICS! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-22-2010, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had problems with my jaw ever since I got my wisdom teeth out back in 1999. I had a TMJ arthroscopy back in 2001. Between 1999 and 2001 I tried a bite guard and it left me in excrutiating pain. I take no pain medications on a regular basis. I can't eat super chewy foods or foods that make me open my mouth too far. My jaw crunches when I open it. It's beyond painful. And this was way TMI to tell the dentist, but this also affects my marriage because I've never been able to.....er....you can imagine with my DH.

So I finally caved and went for a K7 records appointment. It's a 2 hour appointment and they do x-rays, take imprints, do a muscle test thing with the electrodes on the face. An it's $500.00.

So I finish my appointment and come out with a whole list of what is wrong with my mouth/jaw. On my left jaw joint, the ball part of my joint is almost square shaped and has a bone spur coming off of it. The ball also has no space between it and the socket. The ball is up in the tissue. So in the sonogram it detected the grinding sound I've been hearing. So whenever I open my mouth the bone spur grinds into the tissue in the joint. Then the dentist measured my jaw and then the pallet depth. He said that my upper jaw is very small and that the lower jaw is bending inwards to keep in line with upper jaw. I could actually see my back teeth bending inwards in the photos. And my pallet is VERY high.

I go back on thursday to go over treatment options but the one option mentioned to me today is an orthotic device which is $3,000.00 and is NOT covered by dental. I couldn't even afford a $500.00 device. So I'm happy that I'm finally getting some answers as to why my jaw hurts so darn much....but I'm sad and depressed that I can't do a thing about it.

The only time I haven't had a problem with my jaw is when I consumed a complete liquid diet. I've tried a soft food diet and because there was still chewing involved, it still hurt.

I don't know what to do. I've gone to my doctor and she can't do anything, she tells me to go see a dentist. I've seen 3 other dentists and they won't do anything because I had surgery with another dentist.
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#2 of 14 Old 03-23-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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If you have a dental school in your area I would suggest checking with them. They have 1st year dentists doing the work but supervised by an experienced instructor dentist. It takes longer because of all the oversight, but you will save 30 to 50% or more on most procedures. I just checked into veneers and I can get them at 1/2 price of a regular practice.
Good luck with your problems, I might get to that point soon too.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-23-2010, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No dental school. This is also the only clinic that deals specifically with TMJD. They have taken a LOT of training on it. The other dentists just know about TMJD from their general dentistry courses. The last doctor I saw about my jaw was from Vancouver which is an 8 hour drive one way. And he won't see me anymore because he says there's nothing more he can do (did an arthroscopy). He's also the one who pulled my wisdom teeth which caused the problem!
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#4 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in excrutiating pain! I've instructed my kids to ask me questions that can be answered with "uh huh" or "nuh uh" because it hurts so bad even to talk. I've taken tylonol every 4 hours with no help. I've tried IBuprophen ever 4 hours, nothing. I do have a percoset left over from a surgery last year...but can't take it with me being alone with the kids (it acts like a horse tranqualizer for me!).

So I had my 2nd consult last thursday and of course they recommend the $3,000.00 orthotic. It's not covered by medical or dental, I even called. They do NOT offer financing, all $3,000 has to be paid up front which we do not have. The dentist and tmj specialist aren't sure the splint would even help. They are 75% sure it would take the edge off, but they are a bit stumped at my test results.

The condyles are shaped like "bird beeks". So everytime I open my mouth, the bird beek/bone spur scrapes the tissues. My jaw also deviates to the left. The muscles appeared extremely fatigued when looking at the results of the muscle test. During the sonogram, sound can be heard in the left joint upon closing.

Other things pointed out during the test:

-bicuspid drop off
-bone loss
-very high paletal vault
-narrow lower vault
-overbite
-very limited opening (today I can't fit one finger in....on a good day I'm almost at 2)

Test results:

Clenching on my natural teeth vs clenching on a cotton roll

Muscle fatigue with 10 second clench

Muscles at rest

Panoramic x-ray

Range of motion

Muscles at rest vs touching


Sonogram



X-ray of TMJ


X-ray of airway
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#5 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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I just wanted to ask you if you have been to a good chiro that deals with TMJ patients, acupuncture (I have not done this but my chiro said alot of people see change with this too), I do yoga along with these too.
I use to be in extreme pain with migraines until I started seeing a WONDERFUL chiro and it has changed my life. I could not fit 2 fingers in my mouth and now I can very comfortably with room to spare, almost 3 at this point. I have to see him about 1 time a month and I am 98% pain free, if I start getting headaches or feel tight around my head or if I am feeling stressed I get an appt ASAP. I also do yoga which has seemed to make a huge difference. I just wanted to share this with you all as I know how awful this pain is and it can really consume you, I was so scared that I would feel like that forever.
Please feel free to ask me anything. HUGE hugs to you.
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#6 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend is a chiropractor who has tmj herself. I see her a couple of times a month.....but have found no relief. I've done accupuncture (done by the physiotherapist). I've done yoga for weight loss....but I'm sure it's a bit different than yoga for relaxation.
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#7 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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Has she ever done the massage inside the mouth? I am unsure of what it would be called.
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#8 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 07:45 PM
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I read once that TMJ problems can be helped by better posture. And a great way to work on posture is to sit on a chair that has a back but no sides, and straddle the chair like you're on a horse.

My TMJ has gotten somewhat better by sitting this way frequently.

Also, if I have to yawn, I hold my fingers on my jaw joints on both sides and apply counterpressure so my jaw won't pop while I'm yawning.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#9 of 14 Old 03-28-2010, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by doriansmummy View Post
Has she ever done the massage inside the mouth? I am unsure of what it would be called.
Chiro has never done massage inside the mouth, but physiotherapist did and it hurt like hell.

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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I read once that TMJ problems can be helped by better posture. And a great way to work on posture is to sit on a chair that has a back but no sides, and straddle the chair like you're on a horse.

My TMJ has gotten somewhat better by sitting this way frequently.

Also, if I have to yawn, I hold my fingers on my jaw joints on both sides and apply counterpressure so my jaw won't pop while I'm yawning.
My posture has improved a LOT since my breast reduction last May. I always hold my jaw when I yawn or else it's instant migrane. Have been doing that for years. Blah.
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#10 of 14 Old 03-29-2010, 02:07 AM
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My posture has improved a LOT since my breast reduction last May.
Good. But just try the "straddling a chair like you're on a horse" thing for maybe 15 minutes a day. It has made a difference in my TMJ problems (they're not totally gone, but they're better.) And I was at the "almost willing to spend three or four thousand I don't have" point, too.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#11 of 14 Old 03-29-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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Your TMJ sounds a lot more complex than mine, but have you ever tried a good magnesium supplement? This is the only thing that got me to stop grinding and clenching. I take one called "Triple Mag" and I have to take 500 mg before bed or else I grind. I also take calcium supplements in the morning, and this seems to make the magnesium more of a sure thing.
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#12 of 14 Old 03-29-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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I can't believe you are in so much pain and dental won't cover the only appliance they are recommending to you Is there anything that can be done medically? Can you try a different dr, maybe who specializes in what you are going through? If it's your actual jaw bone, it's not teeth so I would think you should be able to get help

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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#13 of 14 Old 03-29-2010, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Good. But just try the "straddling a chair like you're on a horse" thing for maybe 15 minutes a day. It has made a difference in my TMJ problems (they're not totally gone, but they're better.) And I was at the "almost willing to spend three or four thousand I don't have" point, too.
I'll try that. I remember reading your thread in frugality and finances about the orthotic you were possibly going to get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebemommy View Post
Your TMJ sounds a lot more complex than mine, but have you ever tried a good magnesium supplement? This is the only thing that got me to stop grinding and clenching. I take one called "Triple Mag" and I have to take 500 mg before bed or else I grind. I also take calcium supplements in the morning, and this seems to make the magnesium more of a sure thing.
I do, I take natural calm. I've tried taking plain mag and even cal/mag and I get an upset stomach.

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Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post
I can't believe you are in so much pain and dental won't cover the only appliance they are recommending to you Is there anything that can be done medically? Can you try a different dr, maybe who specializes in what you are going through? If it's your actual jaw bone, it's not teeth so I would think you should be able to get help
Surgery is covered! I can go and get endless amounts of arthroscopys done in Vancouver and insurance will cover my hotel, gas, and food....but they will NOT cover an appliance for TMJ. There is a doctor in a town 4 hours from here who specializes in TMJ and they will cover the visit, but not the gas or any recommendations that he suggests because it's TMJ. TMJ is NOT covered under our medical and dental plan. So much for our wonderful universal health care in BC.
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#14 of 14 Old 03-29-2010, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I ended up going to get some muscle relaxants from the doctor. So I took one 10 mg tablet, plus 600 mg of ibuprophen. My face muscles feels better, but the sharp stabbing pain in the joint is still there. And I feel stoned.

Doctor said pretty much that since I've tried all other venues, I'm probably going to be stuck taking muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories for life. Say it ain't so!
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