I have an appointment with my dentist ( we'll call him Dr V) on Monday. Recently I was diagnosed with TMJ (TemporoMandibular Joint Disorder). Dr V will take impressions of my teeth so I can be fitted with a type of splint called a MORA (mandibular orthopedic repositioning appliance). The purpose of the splint is to pull my lower jaw (mandible) forward so it will fit with my upper jaw. The crazy thing to me is that Dr V thinks my TMJ may have originated from the shifting caused my my braces. He told me I should have never had braces. My teeth were straight before braces but my orthodontist wanted to move all of my teeth forward so there would be room for my wisdom teeth. I no longer have my wisdom teeth. Dr V said if they had just pulled my 12 year molars, the teeth would have moved on their own, allowing my wisdom teeth to come in and I might still have them. Apparently my braces moved my upper jaw without moving my lower jaw and now they do not fit properly. This lack of alignment causes problems in my head, neck, and arms. It seems as though I've had TMJ for a long time and it was only recently that it got to a point where I needed to seek treatment. I am hoping the MORA is my answer. I am in almost constant pain - in my jaw, a constant headache with some dizziness and vertigo-like symptoms, neck and shoulder stiffness/pain, and arm pain that affects my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I'm popping ibuprofen as often as allowed (per dr recommendation). I have insomnia but now it is much worse and sometimes it even hurts just to lay my head on the pillow. The insomnia might explain why I am wide awake at 2 am. Oh and as far as eating goes, yeah that's not fun at all. I am having to eat soft foods and take small bites. Chewy and hard foods are totally out of the question. Anything that makes me open my jaw wide is also out of the question. Yawning is excruciating. Even having my teeth cleaned recently was difficult (thank God my hygienist was more than understand and gave me plenty of breaks). So many things going on in my body make sense now because they are associated with TMJ in some way. I'm glad it's not affecting anything below my fingers - I have osteoarthritis in both knees that is currently under control and I don't want that to change. Yeah, I'm a mess. I'm 31 but I feel like my body is much older.
I don't think people realize just what TMJ does to the body and the person who has it. For some, TMJ is serious enough to require surgery - total joint replacement. I am praying I won't have to have surgery. If you're curious about the invisible illness called TMJ: comment here or visit www.tmjhope.org.
Thought of the Day: "There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they are the way they are. Think about that before you judge someone." -Anonymous