My TMJD Story: The Dental Splint...

Well probably, this is the worst part of my TMJ treatment at all — wearing this Dental Splint everyday. This weird looking plastic/ceramic thing worn like a mouth piece is totally devastating to me (at first). I never actually imagined wearing something like this, I kept on telling myself that I would look normal, but unfortunately, I do not. :((


After settling the downpayment for the 1st Phase of my TMJ treatment (8 Therapy Sessions + Dental Splint), I have been scheduled for my very first therapy last March 8. It was a bit awkward, as my therapist named Ms. Joy, attached (or rather taped) some wires and pads to me. Two big pads on my lower back, two smaller pads on my upper back and two circular pads on my face where the Temporo Mandibular Joint is located, both on the left and right side. They called it the TENS Machine, or "Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation". Transcutaneous means "across the skin". In short, a tens machine stimulates our nerves through electrical current/pulses which passes on our skin and transmitted to the body like little electric shocks. They say that this process can help ease the pain which are usually nerve related (as what its name states). This part of the treatment lasted for about ~90 minutes.

This is the TENS Machine that's being used on me.
LEFT: Circular pads (for the face); MIDDLE and RIGHT: Bigger pads (for the back/body)

After the TENS machine, we switched to the RF Machine. RF stands for "Radio Frequency", and this is the most relaxing part of the therapy. A gel is being  applied on the targeted area and a metal rod-shaped like massager (which has an electric current again) will be massaged in circular motion to relax the muscles and ease the pain. The gel actually prevents the heat from burning the skin since the metal rods (sorry, I dunno what to call them! LOL) are very, very hot. Well, as far as I know, RF Machines are commonly used for slimming purposes, but in my case, for my TMJ Disorder treatment.

This is the kind of RF Machine that's being used on me.
On the zoomed-in image you can see the "metal rods" (others call it "head") used for massaging.

Although the RF massage felt a bit uncomfortable as I need to raise my shirt up in order to expose my back, I got no choice. My therapist is a woman anyway, and I have to do this in order to recover! Konting tiis lang para bumilis ang paggaling. Nonetheless, this didn't matter at all, since Ms. Joy was friendly and nice. She was very willing to explain to me the details of each machines, their purposes and the like even though I wasn't able to understand all of them yet by that time. HAHA. After the RF massage, Dr. Marvin did the "Muscle Release" for my jaw, which was quite painful. Finally, they brought in my Dental Splint and they had me tried it for the very first time.

Muscle release exercise for the jaw. Photo grabbed from this website

A few days (or weeks rather) before receiving my Dental Splint, I was diligently browsing the internet how does a splint looks like. Errr, it was "not" soooo appealing to me anyway, but my dentist told me that it won't be much seen since I have an Over Bite, wherein my lower teeth is being overlapped by the upper teeth (my splint will be worn on my lower teeth FYI). I felt relieved hearing this, however, when I personally saw my dental splint which I must wear 24/7 for the entire 6 months... it actually broke my heart.

Not my actual dental / occlusal splint, but it somehow looks like this. Photo grabbed from this website

It was so big, it was too obvious, it felt weird and annoying. I was continuously salivating since my mouth was treating it as a food, where in fact, I couldn't even eat anything as it felt hard chewing my food. I left the clinic with a burden in my heart, wondering how am I going to live like this in the next 6 months? How am I going to eat properly? How am I going to talk to my peers? How am I gonna answer my workphone, when I couldn't pronounce "66" correctly? "Shiksti-shiks" — that was how I say it. My jaws were getting numb after a few hours of wearing it, the splint was pressing my lower teeth and already causing pain on my gums. I was so devastated and was thinking how am I gonna face my boyfriend, my officemates and the people around me? I kept on questioning myself what I did wrong in order to be punished like this? I pitied myself for having to suffer despite being a good person, a good daughter. I have dispensed a big amount of money already, but it was not yet enough. I still need to undergo this misery, this pain, this misfortune. WHY??? Am I a bad person? :((

I was so down that night, I kept on crying and kept on asking why me? Of all the people, why me? I had experienced a lot of struggles before, now, I have to surpass another set of struggles again? Life was so unfair to me.

My mom was silent, I know she understood that I was too broken that night. She let me be alone, as I really wanted to be alone in our room. My boyfriend, Noy, was giving me words of encouragements thru text, giving me some advices and the like, supporting me all the way and letting me know that he's always there no matter what. Although I looked really different, I am happy that there are people who truly cares, and I am still loved. Maybe you are thinking that I am "emotera", "maarte" and too sensitive knowing that I am still lucky compared to those bedridden patients in the hospitals, well yes, I am. But this TMJ Disorder isn't an easy thing. This is a serious situation that me myself need to go through and surpass in order to live "normal"... again.

'Till my next blog post.


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