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I have to get braces

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: I have to get braces
By Rayanne on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 12:59 pm:

I went to the dentist yesterday, and I have really bad TMJ. My jaw pops every time I open my mouth, and even when Chris and I are kissing. It doesn't hurt, but it is very annoying. I also have a space that I would like closed, so we can kill 2 birds with one stone this way. My dentist said that since it was medically necessary, my medical insurance should cover it. Now I just have to get my dentist to write my insurance a letter stating that is necessary and it's not cosmetic. I have never had braces, so I'm a little nervous. I have to wait and see if my insurance will cover it first.

By Luvn29 on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 01:37 pm:

Hmmm, I didn't know braces could help TMJ. I have really bad TMJ, and the only thing that gives me relief is a splint that keeps my mouth open just a bit because my jaw joint (TMJ joint) is worn down and doesn't fit together properly. So the splint gives me relief by resting my jaw.

Good luck, though!

By Ginny~moderator on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 02:05 pm:

I have a friend who got braces (cosmetic) when she was in her 40s, and never regretted it. And now they have clear braces - I've seen them on some teenagers.

Good luck, with the insurance and with the braces. Sure hope it helps.

By My2girlygirls on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 02:24 pm:

The Invisalign braces are very cool. It fits in your mouth just like a retainer would. My daughter had regular braces and her retainer is just like the Invisalign braces. You can't even tell she has it in unless you look reallly closely.

By Tink on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 06:04 pm:

Good luck with all of that, Rayanne. I bet you're going to love the change when it's all over with. My DH really wants braces (purely for cosmetic reasons) but he'll have to wait until we've taken care of the kids ortho needs first.

By Annie2 on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 09:53 pm:

Good luck, Rayanne. I hate to be a downer but the ortho procedures may not fix your TMJ. The braces will correct your space though.

I have had TMJ problems since jr high. We thought my problem started with my orthodontist removing teeth on one side in my mouth but not the other. However, I learned differently through a study I was in at Tufts University in Boston.

We discovered that the left side of my body is slightly lower than my right. Ever so slight. I mean it took xrays, graphs, etc to see this fact. The odds are favorable that I would have TMJ problems regardless of what happened with my orthodontist.

It is also known that the side of the jaw that pops is not the problem but it is the other side which is misaligned. My right side pops but my left side is lower.

I use a splint at night to help with grinding. I grind because my teeth are out of line and I find a back position which is more comfortable than a front position.

I wish you well and get the braces if the insurance company will pay for it. However at the end of the process you still might have a TMJ problem.

Just wanted to share...not trying to rain on your parade...but ask more questions from your orthodontist and dentist. :)

By Rayanne on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 07:41 am:

Thanks Annie. I will ask more about it, if my insurance does cover it.

Sarah~>the invisiline won't work, since the braces are more for my jaw than teeth.

By Pamt on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 08:13 am:


Like Annie I am somewhat skeptical about this. I had braces for 2.5 years and it didn't do a thing for my TMJ. MY TMJ sounds very similar to yours---no pain, but I can hear it popping constantly when I chew and when I open my mouth really wide it had gotten "stuck" a few times and I have to pop my TM-joint back into place to get my mouth to close.

Braces are more for aligning teeth and can't really do anything for the jaw. The only possible benefit I can fathom would involve lots of rubberbands to maybe pull your mandible slightly forward or back. I would really question your orthodontist as to specifically how braces will help and also perhaps get a second opinion. Sounds a little suspect to me.

By Rayanne on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 01:54 pm:

My mom had TMJ and fixed her problem. I remember that she had to wear the rubberbands.

By Marcia on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 11:20 pm:

Pam, some treatments are just for jaw alignment. My daughters both had headgears because of their jaws, and I did, too. One of them was going to have something that fit over her top and bottom teeth, and it would only allow her jaw to close properly. The headgear worked well enough that she didn't end up needing it. They both have actual braces to straighten their teeth, but the jaw problems were dealt with first. Could be the same kind of thing for TMJ?

By My2girlygirls on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 07:25 am:

Oh! I can see why they would not work. I have a good friend who just had braces for the TMJ and teeth grinding. It really helped her and her teeth look great to boot!

By Kaye on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 08:21 am:

A knew a lady who did braces as a kid, then as an adult, than many years later had big issues with TMJ and went into braces again. What she said was when she did the cosmetic braces in round two she never thought to ask about her TMJ. They definetly do something different, she was very pleased with her results.

By Rayanne on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 10:37 pm:

My insurance won't cover them!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so upset. I don't know what we are going to do. I might just have to bite the bullet and pay.

By Dawnk777 on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 11:38 pm:


By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 06:46 am:

Rayenne, there is usually an appeal system. Check your policy and check the carrier's website. If it's work provided insurance, your (or dh's) employer's human relations person or office should know about the appeal process.

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 06:46 am:

By the way, have you also seen an ENT - Ear/Nose/Throat specialist? This is an expensive undertaking, and a second opinion might be worthwhile.

By Rayanne on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 11:39 am:

What would an ENT have to do with this? What should I ask them?

By Pamt on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 02:23 pm:

I also don't know what an ENT would have to do with this. They don't work on the temporomandibular joint. I would definitely get a second opinion, but from an orthodontist, general dentist, and/or an oral surgeon. I still am a little leery of braces fixing TMJ, esp. if it isn't causing pain, but is only "annoying." There are surgeries and even physical therapy for TMJ pain, but the surgery often causes more problems than it corrects.

After a second opinion, I would really weigh the pros and cons and decide if it is worth several thousand dollars to fix an annoyance. However, if the space in your teeth is obvious and is causing you to be self-conscious, then that alone is reason enough to get braces. Good luck in your decision! :)

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 03:13 pm:

OK, maybe not an ENT, but a second opinion. Yes, an oral surgeon would be best. I know my ENT checks me for TMJ among other things when I see him.

By Rayanne on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 11:46 pm:

What if an oral surgen suggested braces. Do you think it would be covered then? It doesn't hurt, but my jaw pops EVERY TIME I open it. I know it's only going to get worse.

By Pamt on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 12:06 am:

You'd have a much better shot at getting them covered with a second opinion and going through the appeal process. My jaw also pops every time and has since I was in middle school without getting any worse. Sometimes when I eat, esp. something chewy, people will comment on the popping noise, but it really doesn't hurt. It's aggravating when it totally pops out (mainly on the right side) and I have to pop it back into place, but I figure it's just one of those things.

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