Hi, my names Liz, I'm 22. My jaw always used to click slightly, never bothered me at all. However this past summer, my jaw disc popped out of place and it has been hell ever since. Even more annoying than the popping on my right side and the clicking on the left, is now both my ears feel completely full of air and fluid and I haven't been able to pop them for about 7 months. I noticed all this it happened after a tiny piece of my retainer broke off. I then suggested to my orthodontist perhaps my bite shifted just a little bit for my bite to change, perhaps causing my disc to slip out of place. He didn't think my bite looked that off and brushed me off without really even checking, but filed down a couple teeth that were clashing a little bit where my piece of retainer broke off.
So I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital recently after being stuck like this for about 9 months, to a jaw doctor for help (supposedly also a tmj specialist). I got there, told him my symptoms, one of which was that my ears are full and he brushed me off and laughed and said, " are you sure it's not just ear wax?" I was offended, and he then told me there's no way my ear problem could be related to my jaw problem and that I would need to see an ear and nose specialist. However, I've done a lot of research and found many, many people suffer from the same ear problem I have and it's usually caused because the eustachian tube is right above the jaw, and if there is pressure on it, air can't flow through evenly. He didn't check my bite, or try to figure out if I grind my teeth at night (even though I'm 90 percent sure I don't). I told him it felt like my bite was off and I showed him where, ( the same spot on the right side where tmj two teeth were clashing that the ortho filed down), he then had me bite on blue paper, said it wasn't biting evenly and had me get those to filed down more. I still feel like my bite is off and he hasn't checked it since.
Well first had me put on muscle relaxers for 3 weeks which did nothing, then said the next step would be a night guard, which he never gave me, then I had an mri which concluded my right jaw disc had moved out of place. He then said he was going to sedate me and try and move my jaw disc back into position by hand before we think about doing surgery to fix it, but that surgery was the next step (which I was shocked how soon he even suggested it). He did the jaw manipulation and when I left he said he got it back into place, but it's been over 2 weeks since then and I can barely open my mouth at all, not even to the point where it used to pop! I could open my mouth wider before. I went back for my check up and he said that it wasn't good and he thinks I'll need surgery to fix it. I'm shocked. He's now having my shove tongue compressors in my mouth everyday to try and get it just back to where it was before, and is now trying to get my a night guard. My jaw still pops, but now it feels worse than before, barely opening at all.
I walked out of the office in tears, I'm so upset, I've been depressed about this for the past 9 months. I just want hope that there's a chance this can get better, but I do not think surgery is the way to go. Considering I haven't done much else to even try and get it back into position. I want to find a new doctor, another tmj specialist. The only reason I came here is because my insurance covered most of the cost there, other places I've check are about 600 dollars per appointment which my family can't really afford right now, but may consider finding a way to pay it if it means there is other real hope being offered out there other than surgery like this doctor is suggesting.
So I guess what I'm really wondering is... do you know if it's possible for this to go away on its own, (mainly meaning can my disc slide back into place?). Are there other treatments available that you know might work besides jumping straight to surgery that might pull my disc in place? Can touching up a bite perhaps work? Also, could my bite feel off because my jaw disc is out of place, or could it just have been off before and now is just popping. Even if my bite was fine before I mean, will my bite still be off most likely now either way because my disc is out of place? I'm at a loss, feeling hopeless and would really like any advice or knowledge that you might have to offer me at this point.
Thank you for your help, I am desperate. :/
I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I'm sure you are in pain and frustrated.
Your problem is fairly common. Based on your symptoms and history, it sounds like you have a non-reducing disc displacement. An MRI is needed to confirm this diagnosis and determine how severe your condition is. In my Boise Idaho based practice we treat people with this problem every week (and sometimes several per week). Here is a link to an article that I wrote on this subject several years ago: http://www.oralhealthgroup.com/news/unlock
The bad news is, it sounds like you've been off the disc for a long time, and the longer you're off the disc the harder it is to get it back in place and keep it in place. The good news is you're young and your ability to heal will be greater if it is possible to get the disc back in place (assuming the MRI confirms it is out of place). I would HIGHLY recommend you get in to someone familiar with the technique that I describe in the article. Go to www.aacfp.org to see if there is a member of the AACP near you.
You are correct to want to avoid open joint surgery. It is EXTREMELY rare for people with TMJ problems to require surgery. Even if a trained dentist isn't able to get you back on the disc, or it proves to be impossible to stabilize you on the disc, you can be treated "off the disc" and still get to the point that you enjoy a very good range of motion and little or no pain.
The bottom-line is, there is still hope. Avoid surgery. Avoid "irreversible procedures" such as grinding down the teeth. I'm sure the dentist who has been treating you is very knowledgeable and sincere in his desire to help you.
I wish you all the best in your search to get well.
I am sorry this has happened to you. It must be confusing and at the same time, you are now in pain and wondering where to get information from, ...from this point forward.
Good luck to you.
I can say, that I personally look for DMDs and DDSs who have been published in scientific journals (which is not very easy to do in these "highly scientific/competitive" times). Most MDs and DMDs are now being called upon to get EXTRA training, such as a PhD, to fulfill these scholarly requirements.
So many times, in such cases, ...being published in a journal may not the same as having the experience and skilled hands, being a patient listener AND and intuitive dentist or doctor team. However, having published a few papers does help.
I turned to ResearchGate.com and Mendeley.com after seeking control over my own healing process. Which started more than 10-15 years ago.
Much of my findings and doctor contacts were serendipitous, and I honestly believe that listening to your inner self is the best "compass" in times and situations you have experienced.
Names, alone, do not say much for a person's work. Anyone can hide behind Johns Hopkins, yet not do "good work." The Johns Hopkins name does nothing for your improvement, and I believe it is best to go on visible (published, wthin reason, or at least some kind of tangible evidence, not just gestures and "verbal talk" prior to hopping into another dental chair.
Reputations are built by earning them. Dentists create success, by seeing, consciously, one patient at a time. How to keep a good office going? Be the best dentist you possibly can, one patient at a time.
Sorry to hear about your experience. I was wondering if you ever tried Craniosacral Therapy or Rolfing. I would highly recommend looking into either or both of these alternative therapies for treatment.
You may also check out the "toward wholeness" website, even though it may not provide you with a TMJ practitioner who understands how to help you.
Much of it is about getting rid of the past traumas and programming yourself to release the traumatic violations done to you by certain "medical practitioners."
In the book, I found a really interesting chapter on conscious birth control, as well.
You might find the website interesting.
How you wind your way through a confusing, ill-prepared healthcare system that offers the idea of "hope" when you obviously will not be covered by national health insurance for TMJ or, perhaps private or personal insurance, is a clear indication of neurolinguistic "doublle-speak" which may not serve your healing purpose, but only the manifestation of good money for the practitioner.
I could be wrong.
Be sure to hope for the best.....
And create a future, instead of getting the work you need done, NOW. That's what Maximum Medical Improvement is about.... Getting it done NOW, and NOT clinging to "hope" which is always about the future. I believe the government and the colluding medical fields have you trumped on creating money, NOW. Money is what gets the work done. Not hope.
Re: Tmj Hell- Disc out of Place, Cures/Treatments Need Answers
So I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital recently after being stuck like this for about 9 months, to a jaw doctor for help (supposedly also a tmj specialist). I got there, told him my symptoms, one of which was that my ears are full and he brushed me off and laughed and said, " are you sure it's not just ear wax?"
I would tell the dentist at Hopkins to forget it.
Actually, I write this message as a test of the editing system on the ehealth forum website posts. The edit function existed before, and now it's GONE!