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TMJ update


#1

I have been dithering for some time on whether to post this update as I am very scared about it not working and exposing me as a gullible ill person. However, I have now come to the conclusion that sharing this may be useful to some people whatever the outcome. So here goes: -

As some of you will know, in the past few months I have been exploring the possibility that my jaw is the cause (or at least a trigger) of my MAV. I have tried a couple of nightguards and splints, with some patchy success. At one point, a splint one dentist gave me actually made me feel worse! All this made me feel that my jaw was having some kind of effect on my symptoms.

Therefore, I then decided to go and see a neuromuscular dentist who specialises in TMJ a few hours from my home. Here is his website: jawcentre.co.uk. He was a really nice guy who was very honest that this is not mainstream dentistry and that he may be wrong about it but he is very passionate about it and I seem to be a textbook case (grating jaw, imprints of teeth on my tongue, head leans forward, poor posture, neck and back pain). He actually stopped his own migraines by following this route.

I decided to give his treatment plan a go before I finally give it up as a little voice keeps nagging me that I MAY be able to find a drug free alternative to getting better. If it doesn’t work, then fine, I know I have given it my best shot and I can concentrate on trying MORE medications. He did a number of tests on me and said that my top teeth are too far back, which is ‘fencing’ in my lower jaw, making it sit too far back. Also, my teeth are unsymmetrical as the left side is distorted. I had a orthodontic splint fitted 2 weeks ago which will move my front teeth forward and allow my lower jaw to sit in the correct position (very dramatic I know, it is reversible at this stage but I am a bit terrified).

I went to my Osteopath on Friday because the left side of my body was hurting so much (arm, shoulder, neck, back, hip and even my leg). She said that I am standing straight for the first time since she has known me; I normally lean to the right a lot (I wasn’t consciously aware that I leaned to the right). I wonder if this pain is due to my left side working more than it is used to? This pain is easing now, not sure if it’s due to the osteopath or my body getting used to be being upright.

The dentist told me that it would take a long time to get better - at least a few months. And that my recovery would be very up and down, not linear. In the past week, I have noticed some barely imperceptible changes in my symptoms. I am doing more activities; I don’t need to rest for three days if I go out for a couple of hours, I only need to rest for one. My head feels a bit clearer, I caught myself singing in the shower this morning as I had forgotten about being dizzy for a few minutes - this is very unusual for me since I’ve been ill! I don’t know what this means; whether it is psychological or if it’s just a temporary change but I’ll keep you posted if anyone is interested.

Thanks, Becky


#2

Thanks, Becky. Please do keep us posted. I too thought my issues were at least in some way related to TMJ/grinding. It is interesting to note that when I tried Effexor, I was clenching/grinding much more than usual and my dizziness was actually worse during that 2 months. I cant say it was from cleching/grinding or just as a side effect of the Effexor. Now that I am off of Effexor I am not clenching/grinding as much but unfortunately I am still dizzy…so I really dont know! I wish you the best. Ben


#3

Hi Beech19,

I just want to put my two cents in so to speak, as I am being treated for TMJ/TMD. In no way I am telling you what to do or what is or is not absolutely correct, but I can share my story, as it is relevant to MAV. In short, if you have bad TMJ, it CAN trigger MAV or highten the problems with it. My neurologist noted that there is a facial/cranial pain connection and in my case, my TMJ probably triggered the MAV. However, this is not to say that I wouldn’t or couldn’t already have the MAV. I already had a history of migraines, balance problems, etc.

I have bad TMJ/TMD and am being treated by a specialist (not a regular dentist). I wear a specially made splint/retainer every night when I sleep and will have to for the rest of my life (for when I lie down, my jaw slides back/around). Now, in terms of the normal TMJ pains that one has, yes, my splint has helped a lot. I still must be very careful about how and what I chew. It is NOT something I wear for MAV. In other words, while my jaw pain CAN make my MAV symptoms a little worse, it is a separate problem (as if I need more - LOL!) They never “fix” this problem btw - the splint only moves the jaw into a better position to relax the muscles, etc. Your jaw then gets used to this position and thus, you don’t have to wear the splint during the day. However, you can easily cause more pain by chewing wrong, etc. I have occasional flareups which then require me to wear the splint 24/7 for a week until the jaw calms down again. I am also grinding my teeth now for some reason (not sure if it is the meds, or just that I am especially stressed right now, so I may also have a basic, thin retainer made for me to wear during the day. Will depend on how bad it gets. They do not recommend over the counter/store brand ones.

So I guess my point is not to assume that fixing your TMJ problem with fix your MAV. I too felt worse once the splint was put in - that is because it retriggered the already existing MAV problem (which we did not know at the time), so don’t worry about that. If you have a bad TMJ problem you will need that splint regardless. Once you get used to it, I don’t believe IT causes more MAV, but rather, if you have a day where you chew wrong or it flares up after you stop wearing it, you can make your MAV symptoms a little more pronounced.

Hope this made sense and good luck!


#4

Hey Becky,

Chasing up TMJ and jaw clenching as a trigger makes perfect sense and well worth a look if you think it’s a problem. It’s completely plausible considering the jaw muscles are all around the ear area. My dentist didn’t seem to think there was much in it in my case even though my jaw gets sore and I do definitely clench. I still can’t tell if migraine causes excessive pain in my jaw or if I trigger something by clenching. No idea. Maybe it’s both.

Scott 8)


#5

Hi Guys

Thanks for all your comments.

bcrelief - My dentist plans to take a different approach to treating the TMJ/MAV to yours. Phase 1 of treatment is wearing the splint 24/7 for a few months (probably about 12 months) to hold my jaw in the correct position. If my MAV symptoms go away and I get better, Phase 2 would be to move my teeth orthodontically so that they hold my jaw in the correct position without a splint. If I don’t get better, I won’t bother doing that of course! I don’t get pain or anything in my jaw (only grating) so I wouldn’t have any reason to carry on with treatment if it doesn’t stop the MAV. I’ll keep you updated of how I get on, good, bad or indifferent.

Scott - I asked the dentist why he thought TMD/TMJ caused these problems, was it muscle dysfunction or irritation of the Trigeminal nerve. He said he honestly didn’t know but that correcting the occlusion stopped the symptoms. Time will tell if it works for me.

Becky


#6

Hi,

I’m new to this forum & very interested to read everyone’s experiences.

I too have very bad TMJ although I can’t say I’ve ever seen a connection with or a trigger for my migraines. That said, when it’s bad I do get a lot of referred pain in my jaw, neck and head. And, my migraines (other than the ongoing MAV) are the classic ones with aura, not so much headache. Perhaps that makes a difference.

I have had a splint for 20 years and also had braces and several teeth removed as a child (my TMJ is caused by having a too small jaw).

My beloved dentist has moved interstate so I’m looking for another one however he did support me having osteopathy to assist. It’s really painful while they do their thing (put their fist in your mouth) but it certainly provides me with relief for a couple of weeks.

Victoria


#7

Hi Victoria

Welcome to the board! I hope you find it useful.

Personally I think it would be worth you seeing a neuromuscular dentist for their opinion, as a division of dentistry does believe that migraines are caused (or at least triggered) by jaw malfunction (both classic migraines and MAV). I for one am starting to see benefits of treatment so far (however I am only two weeks in, so I don’t want to talk it up yet!)

Regards

Becky x


#8

Thanks Becky, good advice.

Does anyone know of a neuromuscular dentist in Sydney?

Victoria


#9

Hi Victoria

You could try the American Academy of Craniofacial pain. They specialise in this and seem to have a lot of members in Australia : Link: aacfp.org/cgi-bin/loc.pl?3

Otherwise you could try googling neuromuscular dentist, sydney and then checking their credentials from there. The Las Vegas institute is one of the most popular training programmes and also have a list of dentist in Australia, although I couldn’t see any in Sydney on the list…leadingdentists.com/find_a_d … ntist.html

Becky x


#10

Thanks Becky - some of those dentists are in Sydney but a fair way from me.

I saw a Dr specialising in sports physio today and he’s given me the name of a dentist in the city who does TMJ/neuromuscular stuff and also a physio close to me who specialisess in TMJ and migraine. Will see how I go!

Victoria


#11

Excellent - let me know how you get on! I think the physio goes hand in hand with the dentist stuff, as my dentist sent me to an osteopath to help with all my stiff muscles and postural issues.

I have been very up and down in the last 10 days or so but overall have definitely seen an improvement in my symptoms. I just hope it continues!

Becky


#12

Becky - I figure anything is worth a shot as long as it is not too risky (which this isn’t). I was just wondering do you have a history of TMJ or are your teeth just not aligned correctly? I wish you the best of luck.


#13

Hi Lisa

Exactly my thinking! And the fact that I am seeing improvements is hopefully a good sign.

I have a history of TMJ problems (clicking, locking and pain), but in recent years they had all gone away with the exception of a grating jaw. Apparently, it is actually a bad sign when you get less symptoms as the condition of the jaw has worsened!

Becky


#14

Thanks for the update Becky. I’m fully invested in TMJ treatment myself now. I have two appliances: a bite splint I wear during the day and another device I wear at night. Total cost so far has been about $2000 so I’m not out too much if this doesn’t work. The dentist (also a TMJ specialist) said that this treatment should resolve the dizziness almost immediately. Sadly, after a month of treatment I feel pretty much the same. I continue to press on with the treatment however. Who knows, maybe things will start to improve. It’s encouraging to hear that you’re seeing some positive results.

Good luck

Chaz


#15

Hi Becky

I have tried that link in your first post but didn’t seem to work. Was just wondering if you had any further details for the guy you saw?

Many thanks


#16

Hi there. I have tmj but the specialist said in no way would this cause my floaty head and dreamlike/drunk vision. Both my ears block and pop all day long :tired_face: and my jaw cracks when I open my mouth. I wear a plastic night guard to stop me grinding my teeth