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neuromuscular dentistry and tmj disorder treatment

I first experienced jaw pain over 20 years ago after a car accident – got my first mouth guard/splint and that alleviated my symptoms. Through the years, I’ve had a few flair ups, some new splints made and would occasionally be given muscle relaxers when I experienced flair ups – that all seemed to keep things under control until….3 years ago. I’ve been in chronic pain, had a new splint made (bite a hole in it in 3 days), taken muscle relaxers/pain meds/anti inflammation scripts, saw oral surgeon had another splint made, MRI, many xrays, had PT, dry needling (stick needle in face where trigger points are inflamed until muscle releases – that was loads of fun), acupuncture, chiropractic care, surgery (arthrocentesis), taken steroids, 2 rounds of Botox injections in my masseter/temporalis (which provided some relief)…NOW my last round of Botox has worn off, the pain is back and I’m at the end of my rope.

Treatment wise – my MRI said my joints are normal; therefore, I’ve been told my issue is muscular – which makes sense as I’ve gotten some relief from the muscle type treatments (dry needing, acupuncture, Botox) so though I’m suppose to go back to see oral surgeon again – I’ve postponed that appointment for fear my only options with him would be meds/more Botox and I’m not happy with that. I recently had an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist after researching neuromuscular work and the approach to treating bite issues affecting muscles – BTW I’m also missing a permanent tooth in the back of my mouth on my left side – my worst side/surgical side (born with out one - weird) and have had 3 bridges fail in that spot because I chew them up – in my now endless research/reading I’ve learned wide spaces between teeth/missing teeth can contribute to bite/TMJ issues. I add that because I need to address that - likely tooth implant. Neuromuscular dentistry sounds logical and hopeful; however, I’m a bit gun shy as the first step (extensive testing, fixed mouth guard for a few months) is very expensive and I’ve gotten my hopes up in the past only to feel like I’m back at square one. I don’t want to do anything irreversible (some neuro options are reversible) as I know that is not usually the best option. Any advice/thoughts would mean a lot to me.
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First Helper 89bird
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replied June 9th, 2011
TMJ treatment
Some types of TMJ disorders have also been been classified as 'central sensitization syndromes (CSS)'. In addition to TMJ disorders, patients presenting with CSS are more likely to develop other functional disorder, for example, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food or chemical sensitivity, post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), intersticial cystitis and Chronic lower back pain. The concept of central sensitization is still poorly understood, however, some safe, simple, reversible therapeutic approaches like acupuncture have shown promising results, providing relief of TMJ pain as well as various of the accompanying symptoms. Talk to your dentist about this and ask for a referral to an acupuncturist in your area.
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