Sunday, December 11, 2011

TMJ and gaps

So I don't really want to be updating all the time but I really don't know what to do about my TMJ pain anymore. After my last adjustment I find my jaw is still very sore and its actually cracking a lot more than it usually does. The only real change I notice is that my midline is moving further and further apart and I feel the constant need to clench my teeth.

When I told the orthodontist about my pain he basically said that I have to go to my doctor because all he can do is put bite plates in that will probably irritate the TMJ a lot more. This is understandable as he is an orthodontist and not a medical doctor. I'm wondering if I should call my surgeon though as he is the one who will be working on my jaws? Hmmmm

I went in to see my doctor not long ago and she just advised me to keep taking any painkillers as I need them and that over the counter may no longer be strong enough. I've been taking Tylenol 3's every few days when it gets to the point that I have a migraine, otherwise I try to stay away from the painkillers.

I'm pretty worried about next term in regards to the pain. I'm starting to have more and more of those days where I am in so much pain I can't get out of bed, and I don't want to be drugged up every other day. My doctor suggested taking the term off as I might end up in a situation where I can't complete work or go to exams. I really hate the idea of taking time off school as I was initially trying to fast track (prior to knowing I would be having jaw surgery) I was willing to take this term off and go through the summer if I could have the jaw surgery earlier, but they keep setting it back.

In no way do I want to make my orthodontist sound bad, because he is great. My teeth have never looked this good, despite the underbite/open bite/cross bite lol I just wish that the timeline was more realistic at the start. Initially I was told around Christmas I would be ready and now it turns out that I won't be ready for another few months. Maybe it's just one of those things that are hard to predict but I would have liked to know this back then.

At this point all I can do is keep hoping that my teeth move to where they should be a lot faster so that I can have the surgery and hope that the pain resolves.

BTW my front teeth look awesome after the filing, the gap closed and they look perfect. The bottom teeth on the other hand now have a little gap, I don't know whats going on with my bottom teeth but at least stuff is moving.


  1. Terra, I'm so sorry to hear about all of your pain. I truly hope you get some relief soon. Have you thought about just going to school part-time or taking some online courses if possible? Also, I'm looking into getting employment insurance now, since work was contributing to my pain, so that may be an option for you.
    Feel better!

  2. Terra-
    Your front teeth look great! and the gaps on the bottom are so little I wouldn't worry about them until it gets closer to the time the braces should come off. I feel like after every appointment the little gap I have btwn my lower incisors moves to a different spot, I think those teeth must just move really easily.

    I'm sorry to hear about your TMJ pain! are there any TMD centers near you? We have one at our school and they make all sorts of intraoral appliances to help put your jaw in a spot to alleviate pain. they might be able to tell you if something like that is even possible to use and not interfere with your ortho treatment

    I have the same disappointments with timelines. Originally I was told around christmas too and its hard not to plan around your "date." I kept thinking ahead to when I could do it. It has over a break or I would miss too much school and we can't take time off, then there are so many other things to worry about! Like weddings to go to, national exams, etc.etc....UGH! its such a headache.

    Anyways, now I just don't plan on anything esp after hearing so many stories about insurance not coming through at the last minute and all that stuff.

    I hope things get better!

  3. Hi Terra,

    Your teeth are looking great, and pearly white might I add... Yeah your in between a rock and a tough spot because you want to stop taking pain killers and your not ready for surgery...
    I was always told by my potential surgeon not having your teeth ready is like building a house on a muddy platform, its going to f up the house and mess everything up in the long run, how much of that is true I dont know, but it makes the most sense... The time will pass and you'll get there

    If you dont think you'll be able to complete your next term well, see if you can take some online classes so you dont miss out on school, or see whens the earliest you can have your surgery to get this going....

    I hope you feel better soon and btw I did FINALLY start my blog so add me :) The Metal Mouth and Mascara :)

  4. @ Max: thanks so much, I'm still wondering about school, I could cut my courseload which may be the most likely thing I'll do. Hopefully I can figure that all out before next term.

    @ Laura: My surgeons website has a bunch of stuff about TMJ treatment so I'm thinking about giving them a call and hopefully they can give me some idea as to how to deal with the TMJ for now. Yeah the timelines are starting to mean nothing to me now lol I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed. I can't imagine what a pain it would be to have to go through insurance. Here in Ontario its covered by OHIP so I'm only paying 3500 for surgery.

    @Bleeding Orchid: Yeah my orthodontist was saying the same thing, that my bite won't be stable if I do it early so its really best to wait. Ideally I want it perfect and would love to wait but the TMJ pain sucks. I'm also applying for exchange and if I'm not done by the end of next year it gets in the way so it sucks but in the end having a stable and well functioning jaw is the most important thing. I added your blog btw :) do you know when you may be having surgery?

  5. I totally understand your pain. I have the same.
    The only thing that makes sense is to be relax, not to do a lot of things in a day, is better to do only the activities you feel you're ok to do. And sleep pretty well is very important. Ok.
    I'm following and now I know that i will have same surgery as you (probably next july 2012).-

  6. Painkillers could only do so much. There are times when the pain is too much that medicine cannot suppress it. Anyway, it’s been quite a while since you took the surgery. I hope TMJ no longer bothers you with painful episodes. Have a nice day!

    Cynthia Bowers @ Bay Area TMJ & Sleep Center