A couple of weeks ago, a maxillofacial surgeon recommended that I would require open surgery on my face across my jaw to reattach my tmj disc which apparently had a tear and was stuck in the wrong position, only allowing me to open my mouth a centimetre. The pain in my jaw had been unbearable and I was seriously contemplating having surgery since I was so desperate to ease the immense pain and eat solids again.
But thanks be to god, when I was given the paper to sign my consent I had second thoughts and wanted a second opinion. I managed to arrange an emergency appointment with an experienced professor who looked at all my scans then said he reckoned surgery would not be neededâ¦.He was going to manually dislocate my jaw and going to hopefully âpopâ the disc back into position.
The amazing thing is that the chances of success of this method according to him are actually very high. What he did was place me in the chair, got his assistant to hold my head down, firmly grabbed the top of my jaw, told to relax my jaw muscles and then with the other hand gradually started pulling my jaw to the other side of my face in the direction of the pain and then manipulating my jaw back and forth on that side.
He first pulled my jaw to the side of my face with the dislocated disc, it wasnât painful but you do feel some strain in the other joint, but it isnât damaging to other side, only quite uncomfortable (but worth it!). There was no âclickâ or âpopâ yet so then he pulled my jaw as wide as possible a few times more and more gradually. Then from that wide range he pulled my jaw far to the side where the pain was and by the grace of god I felt a loud âclickâ as I felt my disc pop into place.
He then kept opening my jaw a few times, every time ensuring that there was a click as he opened it wide. He told me to take notice of the exact area of the âclickâ and I measured the space with my fingers. I was told never to open my jaw past that point and to only chew at half that range and to practise opening and closing my mouth just before the âclickâ, since the âclickingâ can cause wear and isnât healthy.
I was informed that even if couldnât perform the dislocation of the jaw while I was awake due to my pain tolerance level or if I wasnât able to relax my jaw then he could put me to sleep for a few minutes to perhaps attempt a more vigorous attempt, which then often works.
Even if my jaw was unstable and clicked really early, he said that what he would have done was attach elastics to my top and bottom jaws for a few months to prevent me from going past the âclicking pointâ and then to gradually widen the range I could open my mouth.
He said that surgery would only be required in exceptional circumstances and that I didnât need it. I felt the pressure and pain going away immediately away after he manipulated my jaw, and now three days later iâm pain free and in a month after a follow-up appointment and after the swelling has fully subsided then I will be able to begin eating solids again.
-the jaw is not designed to open very widely
- it is not designed to chew at a wide range
- always chew at half the range of the âclickâ if any
- when you yawn, do not open your jaw widely and keep the mouth closed with your fist or hand
- always cut your food into little pieces and if possible âmashâ it up before eating it.
- taking a bit out of an apple or large fruit is bad for the jaw or eating any food that requires a ripping or tearing movement like eating beef jerky/biltong.
Never give-up, try everything you can and be weary of doctors who are eager to operate and make elaborate explanations that if you want the operation it must be done immediately or too much scar tissue or fibrosis will develop.
Please take your time, and find the best expert you can and get a second or third opinion along with (if you have the means) an x-ray to check that there arenât fractures in your jaw or that your wisdom teeth arenât pushing against the joint, a ct scan to check the cartilage and the bones, and then a mr scan to check where the disc might be dislocated or if it is damaged.
Though, often a damaged disc can still function painlessly if âpoppedâ back into the correct position and you look after your jaw and take some precautions.
i hope I have helped some of you, and please spread this information to spare others of any unnecessary surgery or unnecessary suffering. And if you have recovered, continue to help others suffering the condition you had and never forget how bad it was and remember to look after your jaw in the future and avoid hard foods if possible.
My jaw waws injured as a child when I hit it on a concrete pipe at the playground, It just recently started unhinging when I yawn or sleep on my right side. I have been holding my jaw when I yawn to try to stop that from occuring - I'm happy to see I have been doing something right.
This seems to also explain my vertigo and headaches.
Is it possible that you refer me to the professor I am in a very similar position as you. You can get in touch with me at rohitdoshi AT gmail DOT com. I will really appreciate your help. As someone who has gone through what I am going through you can understand how helpful this will be.