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Ongoing Crown Nightmare

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Spider

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
142
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
I can see why you're bummed because you'd like things to go back to normal sooner than later and it turned out to be a "keep waiting" kind of visit. Taking a more wait and see approach may be reasonable because its only been a week (I think?) since you started treatment for TMJ and while there has been improvement, you're not quite there yet since your bite still feels different day to day. But I'm not a dentist, so feel free to ignore ;) It really sucks because you've been dealing with all this pain and uncertainty for quite awhile now, all mixed with a nice big dose of anxiety :(

For bite guards I use one made by Plackers "grind no more". It works well for me because all the pressure is put on molars and not the front teeth. I tried some of the heat and mold type bite guards, but because of an overbite, I ended up putting so much pressure on my front teeth at night and they became a bit wobbly which freaked me out. Be prepared to try a few different brands until you find one you can tolerate!

So my TMJ story is somewhat similar to yours. Mine started 10 years ago after holding my jaw open for fillings. My bite was wrong for quite awhile and I even went back to have a tooth ground down a bit, but things just moved again and all my teeth hurt so much. It was very difficult to eat or to even open my mouth and talk. I don't remember the time line for healing, but I have to be extra careful because small things can upset my jaw now. When I suck on one of those blow pops, I always have issues. I think its the larger sized pop, and then chewing the gum at the end. Eating too much beef jerky isn't good either. So be gentle on yourself even after you feel completely healed.
 
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rockitorknockit

Member
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Virginia, USA
Hi, everyone. Long time no update.

It's been a month since my last post. I am sure you have all moved on with your lives, but I am feeling really down about my continued mouth woes and decided to come back. You've all been so supportive and helpful. The only reason I have not continued with updates is because my work + planning a wedding have consumed every ounce of time and energy I have... except for all the time and energy still going into trying to fix my damn mouth.

I have good and bad "news".

Bad news: not a lot has actually changed on the mouth front. My crown is still bothering me. My bite is still weird. My jaw is still an issue... though less so.

Good news: To be fair, I can eat now. Just about everything. I even ate some peanuts earlier today. But it isn't without a little soreness and a lot of anxiety. And it really just makes all the issues being so persistent more confusing. Further good news is that I found a dentist I really, really like. I decided to try one last generalist because he had a free consult deal and good google reviews, and he turned out to be amazing. I had that, "Oh, yeah! This is how a good doctor is SUPPOSED to feel!" moment and everything. His office has all kinds of unique bite technology, too.

But things aren't resolved yet. I've seen him twice over the last month.

The first time I saw him, he adjusted the crown and have my a quick splint after measuring my jaw displacement and all that fancy stuff.

The quick splint seems to have helped. While I am clearly still having some jaw issues, for the most part the pain is gone. The adjustment he did, on the other hand, made things worse.

So I went back again last Monday. He adjusted the crown again. It feels better than it did, but is still weird. Its just not right still. And my bite feels WAY weird.

So much of this is just hopeless feeling. Constant waves of feeling hopelessness. Constantly feeling my mouth. Constantly worrying. Feeling uncomfortable. Testing the weird bite and tooth. Each side of my jaw feels completely different now. And my other teeth feel weird. I panic more just writing all of this out.

I dunno. A win on the nice dentist, though it remains to be seen if he can actually resolve this and after how much time and money. A win on being able to eat what I want a lot more than I could a few weeks ago. But so much stress and misery still. Still hard not to feel like this is just how life will be now, or even just get worse.
 
S

Spider

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
142
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
I'm so glad you updated! You randomly popped into my head a few days ago and I wanted to get on here and ask for an update, but life has been crazy for me too- barely any time to get on the computer in the evenings.

I know you're still dealing with pain, crown and jaw issues, but there is so much good news in your update! There is one really good thing that has come from this long torturous crown turned TMJ experience... you have found a really good dentist!

Its also really good that you can eat pretty much everything again. It wasn't long ago that your foods were very limited, so thats a great improvement. I'm sorry that things with your crown and bite are still off though. What is a quick splint? Does your new dentist think that you have TMJ? Does he have an explanation for why your bite feels so off? I understand that overwhelming doom and gloom feeling about teeth- its just awful and you never really get a "break" from thinking about it because our mouths are so important for everything (eating, talking, etc). It sounds like things are gradually improving, although its been slow going. Keep us updated!
 
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rockitorknockit

Member
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Virginia, USA
Spider, that is very sweet of you to say you thought about me. Thanks for replying, I really really appreciate the support, truly!

I was reluctant to make my update too long so I didn't go into what the dentist consult was like, but to answer some of your questions... yes. Haha. I'll explain now.

The first appointment I went to with him, he ended up spending an hour and a half with me! He looked and felt all around my mouth. He made me share exactly what I was feeling. He made me move my jaw certain ways and took actual physical measurements. He put this machine on my head that measured vibrations and showed it to me on a screen. All of this was to say that he was able to diagnose that I have a certain jaw displacement - like, I have since birth. He basically said that he believes the tooth that had work done was integral to the way my jaw has learned to move/settle. When they made the crown, they did not analyze my jaw and therefore did not create it/place it in a way that would account for this displacement. Plus my jaw was forced open for hours. So all the inflammation and the crown being on wrong might be why the crown is still irritated, and my jaw is screwed up because all the muscles around my jaw went haywire and lost their natural path.

I hope I am explaining that in a way that makes sense. So yes, I have TMD pretty severely. I always have. But while that's the root of why I'm having issues now, the immediate problem is not actually my jaw joint, if that makes sense? At least not beyond the fact that it does seem to be getting inflamed very easily now with all this nonsense. When he did the machine that measures vibrations, you should have seen the way everyone in the office literally flinched at the loudness of the popping the right side of my jaw does. He showed me how the popping is so pronounced it reverberates to the left side of my head! But that has been there my whole life. I felt vindicated when he said that if he had been my dentist at the time of the root canal, he would have checked my jaw first and explained that I had a very high percentage chance of having post-op complications like this.

A quick splint is basically a big, thick guard they made that fits over only the very front of my mouth. This forces my jaw open/prevents any of my back teeth from touching anything at all. I have been wearing this at night since the first appointment. The idea of this was that, though my jaw is displaced, the current problem is not the joint itself but the muscles that have been thrown off by the tooth work. So wearing the quick splint at night forces all of these muscles to relax and "deprogram". It means every single morning my jaw feels weird and sort of relearns where to go when I put my teeth together. While it feels really strange in the morning, everything feels by far the best at that time. It's always later in the day when everything has settled back in that things are the most uncomfortable/painful. At at no point ever do things feel "normal", really.

At the second visit he used a T-scan on me. This is a thing that fits in your mouth and uses lasers to measure your bite and the amount of pressure at each point in your mouth. It was awesome to look at. He could see a point of hyper pressure on the crown and took it down, which is why things do feel at least a bit better there. But it also showed how uneven the pressure in my mouth is now. On the right side, where no work was done, almost all the pressure is solely on that back, last molar or two. I think it must have been like that on the left too, before this work. Now the left has the pressure pushed throughout all the teeth on that side. So between the different pressures on each side and the quick splint, my bite and jaw are genuinely in different places all the damn time, it seems. And even a tiny bit if inflammation within either jaw joint makes it all worse. And is probably still part of why the crown isn't settled too.

At the most recent visit, the hope was that his adjustment would quiet down the crown, and then we could focus on fixing my bite. If the crown DOESN'T quiet down, it might be close to time to taking x-rays and looking at the actual tooth, but he didn't seem very convinced that anything was wrong with it based on the sensations I describe. He explained he's had lots of patients who just can't get a crown to feel right for months until finally just the right adjustment is made. That's both reassuring and frustrating to hear. It seems this is going to take a really long time to settle even best-case because everything is so sensitive and takes so much time to settle and adjustments are going to be needed no matter what.

He has done literally all of this for free so far, by the way. They have not charged me a dime yet. I know that will eventually change, but it is awesome at the moment. He is actually the dentist for the Redskins football team, and they just moved to this insanely fancy office, so they're not hurting for money. It is really nice to have a dentist that seems to care about me as a human being.

Sorry this is so long. But hopefully that answers your questions and explains everything a bit better for anyone else who might be reading this.

I am grateful, at least, that most of it is "weird" and uncomfortable feeling rather than very painful. There is pain, but nothing like it was before. That IS an improvement... you're right that I should not dismiss that.

I am also grateful, at least, that I've found a dentist I like. That was a HUGE part of the nightmare. It seems too good to be true but so far I really like him, anyway.

And I am grateful that I can eat. Because you're right, only a month ago I was basically still only on liquids and getting comments from people at work about weight loss. Today I am going to lunch with my sisters, and while I now have this ingrained anxiety (it's like for real PTSD, isn't it?!), I know rationally that we could choose to eat anything and I'll likely be no worse than when I walked into the restaurant.

Thanks for reading. I have to run now!
 
S

Spider

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
142
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
wow, that is all so fascinating! I've never heard of machines like that! How interesting that you've always had a displaced jaw, but this crown set off all these problems. You knew that crown wasn't adjusted correctly and you were right! And what an amazing dentist too! It sounds like he's devoted to helping you even though its complicated.
Its a bit disheartening that it could take awhile to get back to your new "normal". I can understand why you have anxiety. Its very traumatic to go from totally okay to being in so much pain and not being able to eat or even just relax and not be hyper focused on your teeth clashing together incorrectly. Do you think he'll start making bite adjustments at your next visit?
Thanks for describing everything so well- I learned a lot!
 
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