Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Is There Really Hope? (please Answer)

Hello everyone, i'm a 18 year old with extreme jawpopping and clicking.
I also have some pain from time to time.
I've had this since I was 15, for no apparant reason, the only thing I can connect it with was that I had a second molar extracted when I was 15, a few months later I developed tmj.
It's not the sound of the joint popping that's bothering me too much, it's that I can't use my mouth normally.
When I open it it feels like it's stuck and my muscles in the jaw just get so tensed and I have to open it to the side to get it fully open this affects my eating, speaking and ofcourse it's bothering with the loud noise it makes each time I try to speak.
I've got exercises to do from my dentist also been to some other "jaw specialist" with zero result or help.
This is really getting the best of me and really destroys leading a normal life, i'm willing to spend whatever it takes and do whatever it takes to get my jaw and life back.

Is there really anyone who's been cured?
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replied September 7th, 2006
Experienced User
Yes, There Really Is Hope!
And yes, there are people who have been "cured" and many more who "manage" their tmj. My personal experience and research tells me that you could either have developed tmj when you had to have your mouth open very wide for a long time in pulling the molar. The other very good possibility is that your bite balance was thrown off when it lost that tooth. Was the molar an adult tooth? Was it replaced with an implant or anything?

It is essential for our mouths and jaws to work together in a balanced fashion. When that balance is interrupted, it can cause night-time bruxism. Your mouth is trying to find a new balance while you are sleeping. If the grinding and/or clenching goes on for a while - pain. Either the jaw muscles just get exhausted and cause pain or the cartilage disc in the joint (usually only one side) is slightly displaced, which causes muscle spasms and pinched nerves, etc., etc. - pain.

What do you do about it? Research, research and more research. You will need to be more knowledgeable about tmj than many medical professionals (sad to say). After you have got some information in your head, see your dentist. Ask him about your bite. Is it balanced now? Even a very small spot on one tooth can disrupt that precious balance. I pray that you have a good dentist who will understand what you are getting at because some don't and won't. You might need to have one little spot filed (.Do .Not allow many teeth to be filed. That can cause more problems.)

you might be prescribed valium or xanax for a few weeks to take at night to break up any bruxism while sleeping. Try not to use your mouth very much for talking and eating for a few weeks. Eat softer foods. Use moist heat and/or ice directly on the jaw joint and area.

If you are popping your jaw(s) - .Stop. You will feel like you are going crazy when you don't, but you are damaging the area every time you do. This is how my tmj got so bad and for so many years.

Work on relaxation therapy (exercises, yoga, massage, physical therapy) and posture changes/corrections. I can't stress the importance of posture enough. I had been told posture once or twice along my tmj journey of 26 years and I poo-pooed it. I didn't take it seriously. Not until several months ago. Wow! It has made a huge difference. With the heavy use of computers nowadays, we tend to sit totally wrong in front of the monitor putting undue stress on the jaw joint surprisingly. If you are a head and chin thruster (bring your head forward toward the monitor), you must correct this. Sit back and straight with head over body. Shoulders should be relaxed back and down. Chin must be kept back and down. Again, posture is very, very important for a healthy tmj.

This posting has gotten too long and I must close. Don't get discouraged. I can name names of people "cured" and "managed" (i am in the managed group), so if I didn't give up after 25 years, you can't either.

Don't let dentists, parents and doctors not take you seriously when you tell them you have tmj and you don't feel good. My hope and prayer is that you will find a good support group of parents, friends and medical people who will guide you to the help you need. There are too many bad tmj "specialists" out there, so be very careful. That's why I mentioned that you be smart and research. Make wise and rational decisions and don't make any decision about tmj when you are emotional. Take time to think it all out. Tmj tends to be an expensive disorder to fix sadly, but you might be surprised that the people who really can help you, will tend to charge less or take payments. They seem to be the ones who care.

I have to go. Let me know how you are doing. Relax. Relax your body and sleep well. It will help.

God bless...
Carol
(i didn't have time to proof read. Excuse any oops please.)
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replied September 15th, 2006
Thanks a lot for responding so quick.
I went to a chiropractor and he claims he can help me, i've had 3 sessions already, but feel no change, is he just lying to get money or can chiropracting really heal this?
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replied September 16th, 2006
Experienced User
It depends on what he is doing. If he is concentrating on your back, I would say good-bye. If he is massaging inside your mouth - yes, he will help you. The first person to help me was a chiropractor. He cracked my neck and massaged inside my mouth for just a minute and he finally broke up the 24/7 pain. No other chiropractor was able to help me since, sadly.

I have found therapeutic massage and physical therapy more helpful, but I do know others who have been helped by chiro.

Do you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping? Is your bite okay? Don't overlook these areas while looking for relief. And don't forget to reduce your stress. Stress very bad for tmj.

God bless...
Carol
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replied September 16th, 2006
No, but I learned the massage inside the mouth by someone else.
He started with breaking my back a few times, cause my balance in my whole body had been getting imbalanced.
But he mostly "break" my neck and push my jawbackwards while I open my mouth.
You think this is no help?
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replied September 16th, 2006
Experienced User
It does make me nervous to read that he pushes your jaw back when you open your mouth. It depends a great deal on where the disc is placed in the joint. If it's displaced forward, pushing the jaw backwards wouldn't be so good. Only an mri can show where the disc is positioned.

The only thing I can recommend at this point is if what he is doing doesn't help very soon (3 more sessions?), you might want to consider ending the sessions.

Have or are you seeing a tmj dentist? That is another recommendation if the pain and popping continue. And I know I have harped on this a bit but reduce your stress. Your body must be able to completely relax especially while sleeping and that is not all that easy to do.

Take care...
Carol
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replied September 17th, 2006
Yeah i've had 3 or 4 sessions and no relief, he just sent me to mri, so I hope that'll clear things up.
He also said he wouldn't do any more sessions before he saw pictures, so hopefully he isn't just some scammer wanting money.

I have braces still, and my bite is pretty messed up, but it's getting fixed.
I've been to 3 dentists with my tmj and they claim it doesn't affect it that bad because your jaw is resting when teeth isn't touching.
I'm not sure if I grind/clench my teeth in sleep, but maybe as my tmj is worse in the morning.
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replied September 17th, 2006
Experienced User
I'm glad to read that you currently have braces. That means you are working on fixing your bite and that is great! Your chiro does sound like he might be good.

You have run into the problem we tmjers run into all too frequently - dentists who think they know tmj but really only know the basics. Since you have a poor bite and (wearing braces to fix it), plus you are experiencing tmj symptoms (worse in the morning), you are obviously grinding your teeth while sleeping. You need help to get through this time with your jaw/teeth changing (your balance is thrown off). The easiest ways are medication (valium, xanax, zanaflex, etc.) for just a few weeks taken at night and a special bite splint to be worn at night while sleeping. I say special bite splint because you have braces and it has to be made and fitted differently than the average splint. The problem you may experience is finding the dentist (or orthodontist) who can make this special splint and adjust it as your teeth shift.

I hope I have given you some information that can help you to get the help you need. Because you are young, your body can heal easier and quicker. Until you can get the help you need, be careful with your jaw. Try not to pop it. My hope for you would be to find that tmj specialist (dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon, etc.) or other (chiro, physical/massage therapy, medications) who can help you with the pain that will probably go away when your bite gets more balanced (not necessarily straight, but balanced).

But I have to stress the be gentle with your jaw and don't pop it. To give you a quick bio of my tmj - I developed tmj in mid-20s, grinding teeth (stress), poor bite. I got braces to fix my slightly crooked bite. But no one addressed the excruciating pain I was in 24/7. My jaw popped all the time and I would even hit myself the pain was so bad. No one really believed me about the pain and tmj was so "new" then. By the time my braces were removed (and not balanced), my joints were damaged. Over the years I have had some relief in pain, but spent a lot of money seeing jerks, etc. Now that i'm older and wiser (right), I won't let medical people treat me like dirt. I know what tmj is and won't let "specialists" knock me down anymore. My family doctor has now come to realize I know what i'm talking about and she is helping me with medications, but I also have to see a tmj dentist for a bite splint, a massage therapist, watch my posture (hard), and keep stress to a bare minimum (also hard to do).

I'm hoping you won't get to this point. The mri may show something or not, but if you are in pain - you have tmj. That doesn't mean you won't be "cured" and even soon. Braces is a good step, but do not ignore your pain (kind of hard to anyway, but I did somewhat). Another thing I want to mention is that since you have braces, don't remove the braces until your bite is balanced. I'm saying balanced rather than straight because that is more important for both of your jaws to work together as one. One side affects the other, greatly.

I think if you can just get some pain control for a few months, that would help you sleep better and not grind your teeth. That is my hope for you.

God bless...
Carol

(sorry for the length)
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replied September 29th, 2006
Experienced User
Carol - your post helps me alot. I always have really bad posture at the computer and etc. Ive been grinding my teeth for over a year. I got braces and it hasnt helped. It actually might make it a little worse. Im wondering if I get a night splint and all this bruxism stops, will my symptoms go away?
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replied September 29th, 2006
Hey, you have no idea how much help you are.
I'll thank you further later as unfortunately i'm in a rush right now, but yeah the xrays showed no damage to the bones etc. So i'm positive and hope this will be fixed.
You think some chiro lessons and more gentle use of the jaw for a few months can seriously heal and cure the whole tmj permamently?
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replied October 2nd, 2006
Experienced User
Girly and mrwhat,
it's hard to say for sure that all will work out. The bite splint might help with the night-time bruxism girly. The most difficult part will be getting the right splint made for you to wear with the braces. Many dentists don't do splints when the patient has braces. Does your orthodontist make splints? Does he have any other suggestions to help you at night?

Mrwhat - yes, baby your jaw for a few weeks/months and this should help a lot.

Both of you need to be careful with your posture, talk as little as possible, and try not to eat foods that make you chew a lot. Rest those muscles, ligaments and tendons, especially while wearing the braces.

And something very important - try and reduce your stress level. Stress is a big reason why we clench and grind our teeth at night. And if we don't have a good bite (or a changing bite with braces), this night-time bruxism can cause pain as you have found out. Stress - very bad.

Take care of yourselves. Be gentle and kind to your body.
God bless...
Carol
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replied October 16th, 2006
Hey I just come back from a holiday, sorry I haven't replied earlier.
Thanks a lot catwolds, you've been great help.
I'll follow your advices fully, but I have one last question, the last week i've developed a new kind of sound from my jaw, I still got the loud popping whenever I open my mouth wide, but I now have a constant craving/crumbling sound when I just talk or eat or whatever, this is really annoying, you got any suggestions for that and is it normal?
Thanks again!
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replied October 27th, 2006
Experienced User
Reading about your tmj is like reading about mine. Your symptoms are like mine. Its affected me in every possible way. Even my speech slurs more now. Its amzing.. Message me or something so we can talk.
i have the exact same problem as you. Its pretty freaky.
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replied November 2nd, 2006
Experienced User
Cst...
I would recommend "cranial sacral therapy"
when I went to massage school, and was taking that class, my instructor (who also was a chiropractor, kinesiologist, adn a nutrisionist) asked me to be his demo in a treatment for "tmj" and so I tried, since mine was pretty bad & from time to time it would hurt to eat and open my mouth (to you know what) and my jaw would get stuck to the point where I needed to use my hand to pull it to the side and put in back into place. Well, he did work on me for about an hour and it helped emensaly (sorry i'm a bad speller)... It works only if you go to a therapist like this consistently. I only had it done once in class and never again, but it doesn't really hurt anymore like it use to. Still have to click it back into place while .. "you know what." but i'm pretty sure that it will help you a lot.



Good luck!


P.S. "tmj" dysfunctions are mostly developed because of constant grinning of your teeth at night - you should try one of those night guards. That helps - even if you keep droolin on your pillow the whole night, when you wake up in the moring & have no pain ... It's worth it.
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replied March 8th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Hi
grinding your teeth is not necessarily the cause of tmd. I didnt grind my teeth untill after i developed tmd. I was hit by a car. the most common cause of tmd is trauma. after--stress and any other number of causes. one treatment that works for one is not always a help for another. Ive been through just about every treatment that i can think of with out success. yet some have stopped at treatment #3 because it worked. having braces often causes tmd. that is simply because the muscles are no longer in tune with the bite. it can be fixed---what treatment is the key--that you must find out for yourself. you are the only one that will know if something is working or not.
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replied June 8th, 2007
I know there are already a lot of responses but this is something I can relate to. I've had the same symptoms of jaw clicking and popping, intense pain and it also has made my face look messed up as well. I'm 22 and just started going to a new college this year (moved to the area) so it wasn't exactly a good time for my TMJ to get worse but I think I've actually had problems for years but never had enough pain to seek treatment.

There definitely is hope, I just got a splint made for me by my orthodontist that holds my jaw in a better position and its cut out most of the pain and clicking in a week, although I still have a long ways to go to where I would say I am cured of TMJ.

I have been told that I may need arthroscopic surgery, I am trying to get an MRI done to have a doctor be better able to see what may help me, MRI's are very expensive though so I am hoping my insurance will cover it.

Since you're only 15 you have plenty of time to fix this, the main thing is to try to get insurance to cover your medical costs. Talk with your parents and see what insurance they have for you. Go to an orthodontist and a dentist and tell them about your problems, be persistent and keep going to other doctors if the ones you go to don't believe your problem or don't seem to be able to help you.
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replied June 8th, 2007
Experienced User
Trigger Points
I tried cranial sacral therapy for a few months and it didnt help at all. BUT, now I am having trigger point massage in my neck, jaw and back and it is amazing. My tmj dentist brought her in since he thought it might help me. She has found all these "triggers" in my muscles, hard little knots, and when you press on them they hurt. Sometimes I can feel the entire referred pain pattern when she presses on one spot. They are caused in my case by muscular tension and a bad bite. Carol is right, at least in my case, tension, stress and anxiety are the culprits. This massage technique is the most helpful of anything I have tried. I am very encouraged.
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