Lineni, my worst bout with TMJ was back in 1989, long before I was ever diagnosed with fibro. I woke up one morning in severe pain, and could not open my mouth. My dentist referred me to a specialist in our town, an older dentist near retirement age who "dabbeled" in TMJ treatment. After a series of Xrays, he started treatments using a TENS unit, which seemed strange at first, but helped a great deal. The treatments "loosened" the spasams in my jaws, and soon, I was able to open my mouth wide enough for him to take measurements for a dental splint. This device was also helpful. Somewhere in the process he fitted me for a mouth guard. This helped when I would wear it, but I would usually removed it in my sleep because it bothered me. The dentist soon began using a computerized device with a sensor that supposedly measured my bite. He would have me bite down on this plastic piece, and he could supposedly tell were my teeth did not meet evenly. Then, he proceeded to grind down the enamel on my teeth to make them meet more evenly! This was very painful, and it made me uneasy. However, I was young and niave, and little was known about TMJ at that time. The treatments did seem to help, so I went along with it.
The series of treatments with this dentist lasted for eight months, during which I would have several appointments a week. I don't know how many thousands of dollars my insurance company was billed for, but I know that it was a lot of money. Thank goodness, I had good insurance at that time, as I ended up paying very little. I think I pretty much financed his retirement (or at least contributed heavily toward it) because he retired within a few weeks after my treatments ended. I had a bad flare-up a few months later, and there was no longer a "specialist" in our town. I had heard that the university hospital just about 90 minutes a way had a good TMJ department. I was able to get in right away. I met with a young dentist there who just shook his head when he heard my story. The first dentist's methods were apparently very outdated, and the honing of the enamel was known to lead to cavities later on. He prescribed flexaril and feldene, and this helped a great deal. No offbeat treatments were given. Although I have had a few flare-ups since then, the medications have always helped.
Please be very careful with your selection of specialists, and with the treatments that they prescribe. There are many "quacks" in this field. Fortunately, I have not had any ill effects from the grinding on my enamel so far. I just always put off going to the dentist much longer than I should because I can't stand to hear the drill.
I wish you luck with your TMJ, and hope that it doesn't require surgery. Please keep us posted.
Post Edited (steppingstone) : 8/1/2010 11:34:42 PM (GMT-6)