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Dentistry/bite misalignment and TMJ


I have suffered over the years with TMJ pain mainly connected to neck and back issues. I have learned stretches and relaxation methods to help with that pain and had almost eliminated it until recently. I had to have a root canal done and since then my bite has not been the same. I have been in for a couple of re-adjustments since then but still the pain in my jaw continues along with sensitive teeth. I feel like one adjustment leads to another adjustment and I don't know what to do next. I feel like I have "opened a can of worms"! What would you suggest?

Hello Martha,

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry you have been having so much pain after your root canal.

I have recently read articles that one of the TMJ triggers is having your jaw stretched too wide and for too long during a dental procedure.  Do you remember how long you were sitting in the dental chair?

And what do you mean by "adjustments?"  Are you saying that your teeth are being filed or shaped??

Ok, first, I believe there is a good chance that you can regain your original bite.  I would like for you to seek out the help of a dentist that specializes in TMJ.  Most dentists will say that they treat TMJ and can make you an night guard appliance.  But I would like for you to find a dentist whose primary work is treating TMJ cases and has had a lot of practice making night guards.  

Any dentist can take impressions and then send them to a lab to create your night guard.  That's no trick.  What you want is a dentist who is constantly fitting night guards for their patients on a weekly basis. It really is an art form that is a challenge for even the best dentists.  So not to belabor the point any further.....find the right board certified dentist for the job.

Second, the word "adjustments" worries me.  I have had some people describe that to me to mean teeth filing in an attempt to correct a bite.  That is a slippery slope because in all likelihood the teeth filing is an irreversible process with no guarantees that your bite will feel any better.

Third, I have recently purchased an excellent eBook off Amazon called "The TMJ Healing Plan" by Cynthia Peterson.  There is a lot of good insight and helpful information in there, with some specific information about what can be done when your bite is off.  I highly encourage you to order it.....and specifically look for two exercises they mention to help correct your bite....The first exercise is called "Orbiting" and the second exercise is called the "Tongue Waggle."

I think my suggestions should provide you with some encouragement.  Don't hesitate, act quickly to correct your problem.

Thanks again for your question, and let me know how you are progressing.

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Jonathan at PatientBabble


My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be Dentistry/TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my TMJ/bite problem. I AM NOT A DOCTOR...but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their TMJ/bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.


About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. The majority of dentists believe they can treat TMJ, but only those whose primary focus is TMJ treatment, are really any good at it. Any dentist, can take an impression of your teeth, send that impression off to the lab and have them make a night guard. That is the easy part. The tricky part is what the dentist does with the night guard, once receiving it from the lab. The dentist has to do a "fitting" where they tailor the night guard to be evenly balanced and comfortable in your mouth. Sometimes it can take a few visits, because further adjustments need to be made to the night guard appliance, to get it just right. I have found that dentists, who have had the most practice, do a better job at fitting your appliance. It's almost like an art form.

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