A trip to the dentist

Hi All

In the interests of science(?), I wanted to put a post up to let you all know how I was getting on. I don’t know whether or not it is going to work and if it does, how successfully, but I thought it may be useful for someone out there. As most of you will know I have been suffering from severe MAV for one year with constant 24/7 symptoms. I have attempted a number of prophylactic medications with limited success.

A few months ago Jen very kindly posted a link to the website of a dentist based in Michigan who believes that all migraine is caused by TMJ disfunction and the malocclusion of a migraineur’s teeth. Link: headaches.com/)

I understand it is important to see a dentist who specialises in occusional studies or Craniofacial pain so I decided to get more information and so I found a specialist Dentist in my region of the UK and went to see him. He was very confident that he could treat my MAV as I have an ‘overbite’ which means that my upper teeth fit over my lower teeth too much, which pushes my lower jaw too far back into my skull, which irritates the trigeminal nerve, causing inflamation and migraines. Here is a picture of someone with a similiar problem: migraineheadachepain.com/lar … photo.html.
I should add that while my jaw grates and pops when I open it, I haven’t suffered any TMJ pain for a number of years.

The dentist first of all recommended that I try an NTI device, which prevents you from grinding too much during the night, which can in turn cause migraines. I didn’t have much success with this, except some sporadic improvement.

My dentist then recommended I try a splint to wear on my lower jaw, which will hold my bite in the correct position. I was very reluctant and scared to do this as it cost £400 and I have not worked for twelve months due to MAV so have very limited funds. However, my dentist was so confident that it would help me that he said I could pay for it when I got better! So I thought I’d better give it a try.

Well the point of this very long post is to tell you that I have been wearing the splint for one week and I am starting to feel slightly better! It is only subtle changes but they are very welcome I can assure you! My head feels much clearer with less dizziness and my constant headache is less severe. I feel much more willing and able to get up out of bed in the morning and I have more interest in external things (eg. life :slight_smile: ) as I am not concentrating on standing up straight or trying not being sick. I also have slightly more energy.

I don’t know whether this situation will continue or improve further but thought it would be useful to have a record here of how I get on to help people now and in the future. On my dentist’s advice, I am also having regular appointments with a Cranio-osteopath, which seems to be helping and am also going to lessons on the Alexander Technique to help with my posture.

Becky x

Becky,

That’s great!!! Any little bit helps - you just keep on building from there and pretty soon you’ll be up and around!

The Alexander Technique is a great idea, just like you told me the splint helped align some of the muscles in your back, the Alexander Technique will do the same, and maybe send signals up into your jaw. Everything is connected.

Keep us posted! Kim!!! are you listening !!!

Julie

Yes - I AM listening!!! Becky thats fantastic news!!! :smiley:

I’m a grinder (Bruxer with an overbite), and I find that incredibly intriguing!!! Now, if only I could find a specialist here in the states that was willing to “front” me a device (or at least take payments :frowning: )

Becky - keep us up to date please? Boy, we’ve got all kinds of good feedback going on around here with alternative stuff, don’t we???

Best wishes for continue improvement Becky!!! :smiley:

Kim

Kim

I don’t know how true this is but my dentist told me that Bruxing can be a sign that you don’t have the correct jaw to jaw relationship. Apparently when you are asleep your brain is unconsiously trying to find the correct jaw position and in doing so you grind your teeth. I grind my teeth.

You can find dentists skilled in this at the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain: www.aacfp.org. I’m sure a lot of them will allow you to pay in installments, Dr Klemons does, it says on the website.

Becky

thanks for the update, lets all prey to the gods, there’s some more recovery.
from what I 've been told the mouthgaurds ect… are a good matinence Plan,for mav.
they need to be used forever, for most people with bruxing cases.
I dont brux, but I know others do.

all my love Becky.

jen

Thanks Jen!

You’re right, if the splint does make me better I will need to keep my jaw in that same resting position in order to stay well. This can be achieved either by wearing it for the rest of my life or wearing a brace for a year to move my teeth into the correct postion. If I do get totally well, I think I will opt for the brace as I don’t want to wear a splint for the next 50 years! I also have crooked teeth so it would be a good opportunity to get them straightened!

How annoying - I went through agony for two years when I had braces as a child, looks like the Orthodontist did a c**p job!

B x

Becky,
This is really interesting. I’ve considered this myself but always wrote it off as psuedo-science. After reading you post though, I just set up an appointment with a dentist here in Kansas that specializes in TMDs.

One thing that intrigues me about this theory is that the tinnitus I’ve developed in my left ear during all this gets sharply louder everytime I bite down hard. Chewing on a steak is really annoying. This may not mean anything, but I’ve chased down every other possibilty - might as well look into this. Please keep us informed.

Chaz

I’m going to risk sounding like the freak that I am, but don’t forget to apply the Emu oil to the skin along the track of the trigeminal nerve. It works wonders for me.

Julie

Hi Chaz

Good luck and let us know how you get on at the dentist!

Apparently, the most successful type of splint is one for the lower jaw: migraineheadachepain.com/spl … ances.html

I definitely think the tinnitus could be related to your jaw. For the past year, I have suffered from tinnitus in my right ear only, which is the same side as the grinding and popping jaw. The grinding, popping and tinnitus are all getting quieter and less frequent for me as the days go on since starting to wear the device.

By the way, my MAV is also continuing to improve every day.

Becky

Becky,
I followed the link. Do I understand correctly that the device needs to be work continuously - not just while you sleep? I’m committed to “whatever it takes” but that would be a real challenge for me. I assume it’s gotta be visible to people and has to affect speach. Or am I missing something.

Great to hear about your continued improvement though. Could this mess really be as simple as TMD? That would be great.

Chaz

Hi Chaz

Yes, I have to wear it 24/7 but I can take it out to eat. The first couple of days it felt awful and I hated it but I have got used to it now and barely notice it is there. I can hear a slight lisp when I talk but everyone else says they can hardly notice.

Fingers crossed!

Becky

Well I just came from the dentist (TMJ specialist). He says that I definitely have a TMJ problem (my left side is “off the disk” - whatever that means), my jaw bone is compressing my left inner ear whenever I bite down and this is almost certainly responsible for my dizziness and tinnitus. He’s confident he can fix me and the total cost of the treatment should be around $2600. He certainly came off as ligit - I didn’t get that “snake oil salesmen” sense from him - OTOH the best snake oil salesmen probably don’t “seem” like snake oil salesmen…hmmm. Bottom line is that after chasing so many theories I’m a bit skeptical but I plan to go ahead with the treatment. Guess it’s only money - I can always make more - and if it does resolve the dizziness it’ll be the best twenty six hundred bucks I’ve ever spent.

Becky, how are you doing btw?

Chaz

Hi Chaz

I have had a bit of an up and down few weeks! My dentist has been ‘experimenting’ with the position of my splint and we have found that the further out my lower jaw is, the better I feel (if that makes sense). I have been ill for quite a high proportion of the last few weeks as the splint has been in the wrong position.

I do strongly believe that my jaw position has something to do with my illness, the correlation with its position and how well I feel has been strong. However, I’m not sure this dentist is the one to treat me as he seems to be experimental in his approach and not very scientific. I am considering going to see another one who is in the American Society for Craniofacial Pain and who takes all kinds of X-rays and scans in order to make a diagnosis and then fits a treatment plan to match that.

Did you have x-rays etc done? What kind of splint has he recommended?

Becky

Becky,
My dentist is a member of the American Society for Craniofacial Pain and he specializes in TMJ disorders. This could be either good or bad depending on how you look at it. On the one hand I’m sure it makes him very biased towards this diagnosis, but on the other hand you would expect him to be very good at treating it. He made the diagnosis based on a “hands on” examination which included manipulating my jaw, watching the movement of my jaw on a caliper, etc. One thing he did that was kind of cool was to have me stick a finger firmly in my ear canal and open and close. He say’s “feel that pop?” - I did, it was very distinct. He say’s “it’s not supposed to do that”. He tells me that’s the cartilege poping back into position after it’s been stretched out by joint movement. I’ve repeated this test a number of times since I left his office - there is definintely a distinct pop on the left ear and nothing like that on the right. He did take x-rays before I left the office. I assume these must be to help fit the appliance 'cus they were not part of the diagnosis. He told be the brand name of the appliance he’s going to fit me with but it went in one ear and out the other, arg arg arg. He also said I would not need to wear it continuously. Sounds like nights and evening at first and then just at night once things improved.

I was determined not to get my hopes up here - we’ve chased so many red herrings already - but I admit to being a little excited. This is the first time in this whole saga I’ve had a doctor say “I know what the problem is”. Guess we’ll see.

If you’re confident in your diagnosis and don’t think you’re getting good treatment I’d sure find somebody else. That’s just me.

Thanks for the reply and good luck.

C

Chaz,

When you experience the pop, are you opening wide or just part way (enough to chew)? The left side of my jaw pops big time, but only when I open wide as if to yawn. I know I carry a lot of tension around in my jaw. I’ve been wondering if this could be part of my problem too. It’s amazing how many potential causes there are! Oh how I wish I could pinpoint one thing so I could figure out how to fix that one thing!!!

Marci

Marci,
Does not need to be particularly wide in my case. Just wide enough to chew. I don’t notice a pop except for when I do the finger in the ear thing. Then it’s pretty distinct and only in my left ear. This has always been the bad ear, btw. Tinnitus, fullness, pain, etc.

I don’t know what any of this means of course. I HOPE it’s at least part of the solution to this thing, but I’m just going to have to start treament and see if it helps.

Chaz

Marci,

I have a problem with the right hand side of my jaw and it only pops when I open it very wide. It grates all the time though, whether I open it wide or a small amount. Apparently grating means your jaw is in a worse condition than if it pops.

Chaz

Please keep us updated on how you get on! To me, it makes sense that your jaw would be causing the problems but maybe that’s just wishful thinking!

Becky

Hi Chaz

When you were quoted $2600 by the TMJ dentist, did this price include everything (the splint, appointments, x-rays etc)?

I’m just trying to plan how much it may cost me.

Thanks, Becky

Becky,
Sorry about the late reply. Wife and I just had a baby last week and things have been hectic - it’s all good though :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, the way I read it the $2600 should about cover it all. It appears that my insurance will only be picking up a small portion of it (maybe $500) and I’m planning to wait 'till after the first of the year to begin the treatment so I don’t have to satisify both '08 and '09 insurance deductibles.

The more I look at this the more convinced I become that I do indeed have a left side TMJ problem. I just hope this is really the root of all the dizziness and the splint can resolve it. Doc (ie dentist) seems pretty confident but I’ve chased so many false theories already that I trying to maintain a healthy dose of skepicism (while I dole out the better part of three grand of course).

Any updates on your end?

c

hey Chaz, congrats!!!
B or G.

jen