I have been suffering from TMJ for years, and I'm finally starting to get serious about treatment.
My problem is deciding if the TMJ is the result of misaligned teeth or the result of bad posture. I have both. If I see an orthodontist, he tells me its the bite, if I see a chiropractor he says its the posture. Sooo, how do I proceed with treatment. My funds are limited and I don't want to go straight to braces if I don't have to, but I really want to move in the direction of pain relief and fixing the problem .
Does anyone have any experience or can lend some advice to my situation? Where should I go from here?
it could be both---and both be contributing to it. Ive had it for years and am pretty much pain free and "fixed" Dont do braces first---I have lots of experiance with this---ive dealt with it all my life. why dont you pm me and we can talk more?
Stress, favoring one side for chewing, injuries, chronic pain, posture, bad bite. For 50 years doctors have avoided TMJ, which is probably a misnomer for several problems including TMD, because there is no easy, blanket diagnosis or cure. Also, dentists are so horrified by the tooth damage caused by TMD that they start trying to fix the teeth instead of the cause.
As more dentists and pain doctors use Botox, there is starting to be more research into jaw problems, which is a good thing whether you hate Botox or not. The last time this much research was done was unfortunately after the high suicide rate in the 1980's of people implanted with faulty replacement discs, about 250,000 of which were implanted AFTER the manufacturer knew that there was a problem with the product. Because of this horrible history, professionals didn't want to go anywhere near the TMjoint.
The rise of data from the subset of sleep studies that recorded TMD is helping; for example we now know that clenching is something probably everyone does as a brief stage of childhood, and possibly during stress in adulthood. We also know that chronic TMD can mean clenching or grinding for up to 40 minutes an hour during sleep. There are glimmers of interest in finding out what subset of head pain sufferers have TMD, and an official sub-specialty of orofacial pain for which doctors can actually take board exams.
However, we are no where near to helping the worst cases of pain, but impetus, because of more information, is gaining fast. It's important not to despair!
Hearty agreement to think more than twice before botoxing
A few avaricious cosmetic doctors and dentists are advertising Botox as a cure for TMD (remember that TMJ is just the name of a joint that everyone has, not a disease or syndrome). On the internet, offers for info on how it can cure TMJ (a nonsensical thing to say) crowd down information.
Botox has side effects, potential long term effects (developing antibodies to it, destroying permanently needed nerves or muscles with repeated use), and dangers (systemic effects, allergic responses, etc.) No one should or can ever cure anything with Botox. At most you can get temporary relief from severe TMD and a little diagnostic help from botox.
Just to sum up, there are rare cases where it can tease out a chronic clenching TMD disorder by temporarily easing it, but you still have to find a permanent solution. A lot of the people who say it cured them received Botox during a temporary stress causing TMD, not during a chronic case of TMD. It will probably be overused until more dentists and dental doctors are trained in the latest clinical appraisal techniques, like at U Cal at San Francisco's orofacial pain group in their dental school. It's overuse will help the cautious searcher by prompting more dissemination of best practices than by injecting everyone, so Botox has both it's limited temporary use value, and exerts longer term better jaw problem awareness through the problems that Botox overuse will cause.
The last good thing about Botox and the sufferer of TMjoint disorders is that you can evaluate your practicioner by seeing if they have a balanced view of Botox's limitations and risks.
Bruxism and jaw clenching are often caused by these, not just stress, which makes sense since not getting enough oxygen and having to wake up in order to breathe enough is rather stressful. Many apneacs with TMD (grinding or clenching) get "cured" of it after being diagnosed and given CPAP. If you're overweight, it might be noticeable to a sleeping partner who sets the alarm for wee hours and watches awhile, and then you ask your doctor for a sleep study. If you're doing jaw clenching, it's harder to diagnose by watching, and you can have TMD caused by apnea or hypopnea and never have a partner see anything visibly nor be overweight. So, tiredness and other symptoms should help you decide with your doctor if a sleep study is appropriate.
TMJ disorder (TMD) is primarily caused by a bad bite, and it has little to nothing to do with your posture. If your funds are limited, focus on what is important, and that is: fixing your bite, not your posture. Fortunately, you don't need braces to do that. Splint therapy is the most effective approach, and you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars to have a dentist create a brand new splint for you, when you could find one online or in an auction site, and have it customized for your bite. And you don't have to pay a TMD specialist thousands of dollars for therapy.
Splints can be useful temporarily (TMD starts up as soon as you acclimatize), or to confirm diagnosis (if pain stops immediately until acclimatization), or to protect teeth from the damage that TMD causes to teeth.
Stress, atrophy combined with stress, and apnea are the most common causes. A bad bite is occasionally part of the problem, but can be ruled out when you get your teeth cleaned or dental work done. Beware of any dentist who wants to charge you for fixing teeth or bad bite without first fixing the TMD so you don't waste your money.
I had the same problem, you prolly have bad acne, an a bid double chin because of your bad posture also, right ? Well I use to have bad posture, an I noticed that whenever I straightened my back out with good posture, my face suddenly looked way better, an I started looking a lot younger, an noticed that my acne cleared up all the way. I'm telling you, its because of your bad posture, I guarantee you it is, but I hope you find your solution. Deuces.
Update on Botox, used for TMJD caused by chronic clenching or grinding of teeth. Botox causes serious long term jaw bone degeneration, so stay away from Botox completely.
Update on diagnostics to find out if you have TMD bruxism - use non-invasive EMG sleep studies. Don't assume you need to start treating something without an ironclad diagnosis, or ruling out a diagnosis, as the first step. Only home sleep studies using EMG will tell you, not structural analyses.
TMJ surgery update: Titanium replacement of ball, socket or both is possible. Responsible providers like the Mayo Clinic, point out that this rarely improves pain.