A bad case of TMJ disorder

I have serious jaw pain from TMJ disorder and I am only in my thirties. I guess I have a terrible grinding issue because about 10 years ago, my dentist put crowns on every one of my teeth. I don’t think the work was very good because now they are worn down and my jaw hurts all the time and clicks. It seems my jaw isn’t straight anymore either, I have a crossbite and slant to deal with. The list goes on and on. My gums really aren’t in very good shape and since they were put on originally, the appearance of the crowns has darkened drastically.

I have been to a neuromuscular dentist as kind of a last resort. I just can’t take the TMJ pain any longer. Well the method of choice by the neuromuscular dentist was an orthotic. I think it actually opened up my jaw too far and moved the lower jaw forward. I honestly think I may be worse off than before seeing this dentist. So without the orthotic, my crowns are still in bad shape and now my bite is open. What do I do know? Do I see a cosmetic dentist or some other TMJ specialist? I don’t know what is more important, the functionality versus the appearance of the dental work.

Obviously my case is complex, so I’m hesitant to give a new dentist a try. Will they have any way to tell how my bite should be at this point? Hoping you can provide me some insight and a glimmer of hope.

– Annie in Rhode Island

Annie,

The neuromuscular dentist was a step in the right direction. Although, as you have found out TMJ dentists and neurmouscular TMJ treatment is not a regulated area of dentistry. So any dentist can make the claim to do this kind of work. It sounds like the dentist you may have seen may not have had the best experience or credentials in treating this painful disorder.

You should not have to compromise between function and aesthetics. There are cosmetic dentists out there that are experts in treating TMJ. You need a balanced occlusion and bite, but you should not have to sacrifice appearance. The tricky part is that by nature dentists are trained to fix things. Not every dentist is focused on doing beautiful cosmetic work. But don’t give up.

It also may be challenging to find out where your natural bite was originally. But TMJ specialists that are passionate about this area of dentistry have had success in getting patients out of pain once and for all. Keep up your search. The right dentist will spend the time with you to get this right. Don’t sacrifice when it comes to something as important as your smile.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.