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Terrible TMJD won't be seen until December! Help!

Okay, before I say what's going on now, I'll give a little history.

In 07-08 (about a year) I had jaw problems. It started quick. If there was any real problem before that I was unaware of it. There was no clicking, popping or locking. I was eating oreos and milk in front of the TV, I bit down on the oreo, and couldn't open my jaw back up. It was the scariest thing ever. After mentally panicking I forced it open with my hands (IT HURT), after I got it open it was stuck open. After moving it for a while (it was grinding) it seemed okay. My mom said it may have been a one time thing so we didn't get it looked at.

It locked a lot after that, but it was normally when I wasn't home so I didn't mention it, I had to manually close it every time. I started to be able to tell when it would lock, it would start moving slower, grinding feeling. I found that if I pulled my lower jaw to the right while opening, it wouldn't be able to move any farther, I would crack it (It would echo, it was LOUD but it didn't hurt a whole lot and my jaw would be okay again). After a while I could no longer crack it like that but my right jaw always cracks when I close it. It would bug me some days after that but it was livable. If it bothered me I would just take advil. Which was almost daily, I would always have terrible head and neck aches.

About a year ago I went to the school nurse for an ear ache and ringing in my ears and she felt my jaw and told me to go see my dentist when I was home because she believed that was the problem. He told me no more gum along with other things, and told me to wear a night guard (no other tests were done other than feeling my jaw). He also gave my exercises to try which I still do every day. He assumed I was grinding my teeth. They wanted me to buy a really expensive one there so I declined, I bought one elsewhere instead that you boiled and made fit my mouth. It didn't help. But I still use it nightly. (Not a splint).

I know I don't grind my teeth anyway. I never hold my jaw closed unless I show a smile. I may have used to do it, but since the thing happened with my jaw it hurts to do that for a long period of time (not grinding, just holding shut). Instead I just relax it, my teeth don't even touch except for the front ones, lightly.

NOW: It's been locking again. The left side when I open my jaw has something slip I can feel with my fingers (it's the side that hurts). It's really small, long and thin feeling. It slides as I open it, just in front of the ear. Idk if that's normal, I'm just mentioning it since that side hurts the most. That side makes a noise when I open my mouth. It almost sounds like water is being pushed (Ik it sounds weird). Maybe a grindy sound but it's not grinding. Only I can hear it. My right jaw cracks when I close it. When it cracks it shifts a little to the left, I can feel it shift to the right to left when open, left to right to close. If i try to make it go straight, i can't). It hasn't locked closed again (only ever that once). It's locked open about 5 times again.

So summarizing what it's doing now:

Locking, shifts.
Left side- while opening, little water or grinding sounds, something slides in front of ear.
Right side- while closing, cracks.

Treatments tried: Pain killers, mouth guard.

I know this is a lot of info. I'm seeing my dentist when I'm home but I won't be home until December. I'm looking for other things to try. I hate the ringing, I hate the head and neck aches, the ear aches, and feeling like my jaw is made of lead.

Please help.
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replied October 3rd, 2012
I also wanted to add that when I lean my head back to look up, it impairs my hearing (feels like they're plugged) and gives me a headache until I'm not looking up anymore. Can this be from TMJ or something else?

I'm a 22 year old female, otherwise healthy.
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replied October 19th, 2012
Hi. I am 34 years old and have had similiar problems in my early 20s. My jaw started popping and clicking on one side and then started locking shut almost daily- every morning when I'd wake up. I would maneuver my jaw to get it back open. When it got to where I couldn't menuever it to go back open for a few hours I started to panic. And then one day it spontaneously went away. Wierd. Flash forward almost 15 years. I get braces. I get the braces off and get a retainer for my top teeth. The symptoms come back almost immediately. My jaw would lock shut everyday and I would have to maneuver it back open again. Then one day, I could not get it to open no matter what I did. (It is not locked all the way shut- there is enough space to put food in at least). It has now been 6 months and my jaw is still locked. I have seen 7 doctors and dentists now. Everyone has their opinion about what should be done. I tried one splint with no success. I'm tring another splint right now that is thousands of dollars and my insurance company will not cover it. My advice to you is to not delay getting this looked at any longer. Unfortunately tmj treatment is very controversial and a lot of methods have not been proven to work. Get many opinions. But don't delay any longer. My other side is starting to pop and click and I fear everyday that it will lock up also and I will not be able to open my mouth at all. Then what? Emergency room and majoy surgery. It has been an incredibly frustrating process to try to fix this and you feel so helpless. Educate yourself and remember that doctors don't know everything. Go with your gut and advocate for yourself. God bless and Good luck!
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