Post # 1
Bees, I’m looking for some advice &/or solidarity because I am just so miserable at the moment…
I have a dysfunctional TMJ, which has been getting worse in recent months (clicking, ear pain, muscle tension, referred neck pain etc) and recently went and saw a specialised dentist who took scans of the joint, looked in my mouth etc, and got me an advancement splint/mouthguard to wear at night. That was working out ok in that the muscle stuff was getting some relief, but the clicky joint was still an issue.
Last Sunday, I was eating a piece of lebanese bread and my joint clicked out of place. This is not so unusual, and yawning widely usually puts it back in. So I yawned. And instead of clicking back into place, there was a horrible crunch/crack etc, and something terrible happened. Ever since, I haven’t been able to open my jaw more than 2 finger-widths and it hurts to chew.
My dentist wasn’t particularly helpful. My boss (a surgeon) doesn’t have any ideas, other than getting an MRI to see if it’s just inflammation and muscle spasm, or of the disc is truly displaced (which is what I think is going on). My boss and my SO’s father (another doctor) both think that pain relief and anti-inflammatories are the way to go.
Meanwhile, I still cannot open my mouth. I have trouble eating because it hurts and I can’t open my mouth. I can’t even brush my tongue when I’m cleaning my teeth because sticking it out when my mouth is open puts weird stress on the joint. I’m so worried that it’s not going to get any better. Even if the pain settles down, I’m never going to be able to eat a burger again!!
Has anyone been through this? Do you have any advice?? For anyone who’s had an anterior disc displacement… did it get better, did the disc eventually slip back in???
Major sad face. I am so so miserable, and my stash of Valium is running out…
Post # 3
- Wedding: September 2011 - Franciscan Gardens
Oh dear. I’m so sorry. I know this pain, I’ve had TMJD for years…. I would recommend seeing a different specialist. I go to someone who specializes in TMJD, not just a dentist. I’ve had a lot of issues with dentists discounting my pain with a simple “here wear a nightguard, you must be grinding your teeth while you sleep” when in fact, I’ve NEVER ground my teeth, and my molars show NO signs of excessive wear from doing so. I was able to alleviate A LOT of pain by wearing braces, which realligned my bite and allowed me to open and close my mouth with out as much pressure on the joint. My doctor is also considering a surgery where they go in and remove any debris around the joint. I’d holding off on that one though, beuase it would need to be repeated every five years after… My only suggestion for you is to see a different doctor who takes you more seriously. You should not be experiencing so much pain without any help or suggestions from your specialist!! Good luck to you~ I hope you start to feel better soon!
Post # 4
@Miss Marine: Thanks so much for your reply. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one with this stupid clicking jaw. Just once it would be nice to eat a sandwich without the entire room hearing, ya know?? In general, I can deal with the pain, but right now, whatever I’ve actually done to the joint is absolutely killing me.
My teeth do show signs of grinding, and I know I clench during the day. Part of my problem, we think, is that after I had braces as a teenager (and had my wisdom teeth out), my bite position was changed to put too much stress on the joint. The appliance/plate thing is supposed to advance my lower jaw as I sleep and take some of the loading off the joint. All nice in theory, except that since I did whatever I did last Sunday (damn bread!!!), I can’t use the plate because it hurts too much. When I spoke to the dentist about it, he was a bit of a douche actually. Hmmn.
I’ve read about the surgery. It seems really full on, and I’d rather not go down that path unless I absolutely have to (which in Australia means, not until I have private health insurance…)
I’m thinking of going to a physiotherapist who has TMJ training. A friend who is a physio thinks, though she admits she is biased, that it’s better to have someone who is a joint expert dealing with.. a joint.
I work in a medical field and I deal with doctors everyday, so I don’t know why I feel so intimidated and anxious as a patient. Sigh…have to build myself up and go to see someone else…
Post # 5
you are not the only one with this problem!! I actually went to an oral surgeon, who said that I had occlusion problems. I’ve already had braces, but apparently certain teeth still weren’t touching properly in the back. The oral surgeon filed down the enamel (very carefully — just a tiny bit here and there) to make sure that all the teeth were touching evenly. This helped immensely.
I have also heard that stress causes TMJ to be worse. Sometimes tension in your head causes certain muscles in your head/jaw to become tighter than others and exacerbates TMJ.
Another issue is head trauma. I found an article about this online because my TMJ actually started after a head trauma. Has there ever been a time when you hit the side of your head very hard? After I hit my head on a metal door lock (I leaned over and then hit the lock as I stood up), I got a severe headache and certain muscles in my skull region became very tense. I found info online that said that plates in your skull can actually shift. A chiropractor said he could help to readjust them, but I haven’t pursued that route yet because the problem is not severe at this point. It really affects me more during times of stress, though.
Post # 6
I had something similar happen. The cartiledge between my upper and lower jaw slipped out of place. The oral surgeon used gavage to get it back in place. It wasn’t bad at all once it was fixed. Another time he just gave me muscle relaxers to see if it would help (and it did).
Post # 7
@LondonAmericana: I’m curious about this plates shifting thing. What plates in the skull would do this? They all are fused once you are adult.
Post # 8
lol I originally read the title of this post “Sore Jew…anyone with TMJ?” and I was like HEY! Im a Jew with TMJ!! but I digress.
I clench my jaw really hard when I’m stressed. There are times when I wake up and can hardly open my mouth. Yours seems a lot more severe than mine, and I would definitely recommend an MRI or X-Ray to rule out any kind of fracture or inflamation.
I use a mouth guard at night during stressful times (IE finals) which seems to help. Although, sometimes I spit it out just so I can clench and grind in my sleep.
Good luck! It’s no fun 🙁
Post # 9
Hahahahha sore Jew. Hah
Yeah, it’s probably not helping that I have an exam for my masters tomorrow night after work…The annoying thing is that it was all triggered off by a damn PIECE OF BREAD. Man, I’m so over this.
@BoiledPNut: whenyou say gavage, do you mean lavage? Did the surgeon flush the joint out with saline? I’m interested in trying that if it works, but I feel like I’d want to get it done by someone who really knows what they’re doing.
I’ve slept a few nights with my invisalign retainer (which has made things a little more comfy in the AM) because it doesn’t change my bite position, but tends to stop me from clenching because can’t get my teeth to touch. The one night I tried to sleep with the TMJ splint was really bad, and I ended up getting my mouth out of it during the night. It holds my lower jaw forward, which at the moment is the worst position for it to be in.
The thing that’s concerning me at the moment is that this is very different to the normal, chronic pain, issues I get from my TMJ problem. I just want to be able to eat a cookie in peace 🙁
Post # 10
It happened to me after some dental work and the amount of downward pressure used combined with the injection. I swore I had lockjaw and was in severe pain. NSAIDS and heat helped some, but I couldn’t open or chew at all. I was in the middle of seeing a PT for other things, and he managed to get me unlocked by putting hard pressure inside my mouth and pushing on the joint. It hurt a LOT while he was doing it, but it definitely helped.
It also sometimes happens during third molar removal with the amount of downward pressure used for leverage in the extractions, but can pop out of alignment all on its own. Many people live with it, and have been taught how to help themselves; the position is to take both of your index fingers placed on either side of your mouth….put them inside your mouth on the farthest back retromolar pads,push DOWN, and then BACK. You can sometimes get it back in place by yourself, but any decent dentist can do it for you too. I’ll see if I can find you a link that illustrates it.
I can’t find one right now, but I’d call an oral surgeon…oro-maxillofacial one only.
Post # 11
I definitely agree that you should find yourself someone who specializes in TMJ because they have a much larger knowledge base and will more than likely figure out exactly what is causing your pain.
I have had TMJ for over 10 years. There have been times where I have experienced that crunching sound you described and it was like my jaw slipped out of place and then I could barely open my mouth. The only way I was able to fix it myself was I would completely relax (honestly, do NOT try to force your mouth open becuase you are straining it so much more). I would just try really hard not to irritate it and in a couple hours or by the next day it would open again. When it first happened the more I tried to open my mouth the worse it tightened and longer it lasted. I have probably had my jaw lock about 20 times.
ALso, when it did open again it made a crazy pop crunch sound and hurt for a couple days. It definitely sucks. Luckily it hasnt locked on me in a couple years. It was really bad when I was going through a stressful time in my life (as you know stress makes it worse). My TMJ surgeon prescribed some muscle relaxants at night for the days when I was really stressed – big help!!!
Hope you feel better soon!
Post # 12
I’ve never had a lock like this before 🙁 Last year I did something that popped the joint into a funny position and changed my bite, but after 2 weeks I was able to get it back into place myself. This is something altogether different and really feels like a mechanical lock.
@ItWasntMe: my boss has offered to try and reduce the disc for me using the manouever you described, but the thought of it makes me nerrrrvous. I’ll see what he says tomorrow when I’m back at work (yay for today’s public holiday!), and update…
Thanks everyone for your kind words and advice. I really am feeling quite sorry for myself so it’s nice to hear some opinions from people who’ve been there!
Post # 13
@so_said_ellie: Ack! Yes, lavage. Sorry, I hadn’t had my coffee yet. 🙂 I was put to sleep to have it done btw.
Post # 14
I’d let him do it. You’ll be surprised at how much relief you’ll get. I also added another link about some possible treatment options available.
When I was in hygiene school, we had to learn how to do the reposition for patients if they happened to lock in place while we were cleaning their teeth. I’ve never had to do it on anyone, and couldn’t do it on myself!
Didn’t anyone tell you to avoid hard bread and chewing gum or to avoid foods where you have to open wider than normal? Unfortunately, now you know, and I hope you get some relief soon!
Post # 15
I definitely have a jaw issues and not sure what’s going on. My back teeth don’t touch completely (one side does, but not the other) so I rock my jaw back and forth. Because of that, sometimes I cause my jaw to crack. It’s kind of like grinding, I guess. Except I know I do it. And I don’t think I do it at night. I have had my jaw “lock” about 3 or 4 times, and in every case, I just took pain killers and kept my mouth relatively closed. After a few days, it goes back to normal. But don’t try and stretch it, it will not help and might even make it worse!
Right now I’m on Invisalign and my desire to do rock my jaw is a little bit less just because the aligners are helping with my bite. So I’m not sure if I’ll do it when I’m done. I actually stopped doing it completely for a few days, but now I’m back to rocking my jaw. I’m trying to keep it relaxed and not feel so OCD in doing it.
My dentist noticed that I clench my teeth when I swallow and I can hear some clicking when I swallow, but it’s not too loud when I’m eating. My dentist says he has some ideas on how to fix it, but I know he doesn’t specialize in TMJ. I will probably wait until I’m done with Invisalign, and then seek out someone who is.
I’m going to keep reading this thread. Very interesting to read all the different problems! I wish my jaw was just normal though!
Post # 16
I did read the other posters stuff, so if I’m repeating I’m sorry. I have TMJ and also wear a night guard. I grind at night and go through a couple a year :/ I had a similar issue a couple years back. I had gone snorkeling and a little while later heard a horrible noise, that was more intense than the normal clicking, and then my jaw got stuck. It lasted for about a week or so. By what you’re describing though, it sounds quite a bit worse. I didn’t need pain meds, I just “babied” it, until it got better.
I would get the xray.