Fifty Two Shades of Shay: Myofunctional Therapy

I’ve been meaning to do this Shade of Shay for a while now.  For 99% of you, this won’t mean anything but perhaps there is a person or two out there that might have similar symptoms and this might be beneficial.  
Let’s start from the beginning…
When I was 15 years old, I started experiencing severe jaw pain.  The pain was so intense that it also caused earaches and pain down my neck.  My parents took me to the dentist and then to an orthodontist and I was told that I must grind my teeth at night and therefore have TMJ, so I should wear a night guard (like a plastic retainer) and that should fix things.
Well it didn’t.
So, I went to more doctors.  
By the time I was 19, I was on doctor number 10.  He was a great guy who wore a cowboy hat and boots every day in his office and lived on a ranch outside of town.  He was a certified TMJ specialist and very well respected in our area.  He said that yes, I must grind my teeth in my sleep and I just had a really bad case of TMJ.  I saw him for weekly appointments to treat my TMJ.  He suggested braces might help my pain…so for two years I wore braces.
At 22, I got married and moved to Detroit with my new husband (braces were off!).  At this point, I had been wearing a night guard every single night for 7 years.  New hubby however, said he never once heard me grind my teeth.  I still had pain, I was taking Aleve daily and everyone kept telling me…it’s just TMJ.
About six months into living in Detroit, I was brushing my teeth one night and bumped my toothbrush against one of my teeth…when I went to check out my tooth, it was already grey…it died that fast.  Hmmmm…that can’t be good for a 23 year old to start losing teeth.
At this point, I went to doctor number 13 and had my tooth pulled, a root canal and a cap put in the tooth’s place.  The doctor said it must be my TMJ.
At this point, I tried acupuncture and the chiropractor as well.  I tried everything.
By the time I was a brand new mama to Kensington, I was 27 years old and the pain was really bad.  I started noticing that on top of the pain, my gums were receding and the roots of my teeth were showing.  I went to doctor number 15 and he suggested I see an oral surgeon that specialized in gum graft surgery…so, I went to see doctor number 16.
In March of 2009, Dr. 16 removed tissue from the roof of my mouth and repaired all of my gums.  I had stitches everywhere in my mouth and couldn’t eat for two weeks (only drink).  Dr. 16 looked me in the eyes and told me that if we didn’t get to the root of my problem, all of my teeth would fall out.  
That will get your attention.  
Dr. 16 had two sets of twin girls (God bless him) and said all four of his daughters saw this orthodontist that specialized in weird things like this.
So, I made an appointment with Dr. 17…
…and he changed my life.
Dr. 17, Andrew and I had a one hour consultation…he looked at me when it was over and said some of the most profound things I’ve ever heard:
1. I do not grind my teeth.  Ever.
2. I did have TMJ but that was a symptom of my problem, not the problem at all.
3. My tonsils were too big.
4. My big tonsils were making it so difficult for me to breathe that I was placing my tongue in the wrong spot in my mouth and therefore causing my joints to disintegrate and causing me so much pain.  
5. I was also slowly ruining my gums by putting this pressure on my teeth and gums and losing my cheek bones and facial structure (because your tongue gives strength to your entire face and firms up your chin, cheeks and facial structure)
He said I needed to do these things and I would be healed forever:
1. Have my tonsils removed
2. Wear braces one more time for two years to get my jaw back in line
3. Have myofunctional therapy with Dr. 18.
I didn’t want my tonsils out (I’ve never been a sick person, never get sore throats or anything like that), I didn’t want braces and I most certainly didn’t want to drive to Dallas once a week and do therapy.
That being said, I met with the myofunctional doctor #18 and with the ENT about my tonsils (Doctor 19) and they both agreed.
I made an appointment to get my braces on, scheduled my tonsillectomy and started myofunctional therapy.
(This pic was taken the week before.)
I was dreading all of it.
I woke up the morning of June 5th ready to be at the orthodontist to get my braces put on at 9:00 am…and the minute my eyes opened, I knew.  I knew, knew, knew.  I got up, ran to the bathroom, threw up and sat on the floor.  I knew I was pregnant. 
I took a test (I had one leftover from the infertility days) and voila…braces and a baby on the same day.
On the way to the orthodontist, I called my OB for an appointment…braces at 9:00, OB at 11:00…and guess what?  I was already 8 weeks along.
Tonsillectomy postponed until after the baby…which meant myofunctional therapy had to be postponed too.  So, I wore my braces and worked on my jaw alignment until I had this guy…
28 years old, new baby boy, a lovely set of braces and lots of therapy in my future.
When Smith was 6 weeks old (and Kensington was 17 months old), I went in and they removed my tonsils.  I can’t even tell you how much better I was able to breathe.  I had a 3 week recovery from the tonsillectomy and then I had to wait six more weeks before I could begin my myofunctional therapy.
So…there I was, ready to get better.
My first appointment with my myofunctional therapist (Doctor 18) lasted four hours.  At the end, we sat at her desk and I asked her on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad was my case?  She said 12.
That sucks.
I cried in my car the entire way home.
And then again at home.
Myofunctional therapy is a therapy that teaches your tongue how to behave the way God intended.  If you’ve never thought about your tongue before…God bless you.  I think about my tongue approximately 500 times a day.  The tongue is the strongest muscle in your body and can do an enormous amount of damage.  I was assessed by doctors 16, 17, 18, and 19 (who became my little team) and it was determined that the right side of my face was shot.  I have no cartilage or joint padding at all.  Years of being misdiagnosed and mishandled had done a number on my jaw.  My jaw still hurts all the time…not nearly as bad as it used to…but it is a constant pain in my life that never, ever goes away.  In all seriousness, my right jaw pops hundreds of times a day.
The doctors concern was not my jaw…it was the damage my tongue was doing to my facial structure.
This picture was taken days before my 25th birthday…as you can see, my teeth don’t touch when I smile, my tongue is ever so slightly poking out between my teeth and my jaws are not even.  My face is also more rounded and less angular.  These are all repercussions of having my tongue in the wrong spot.  They showed me images of what my face would look like if I didn’t get my tongue under control and it was not a good sight.
Here I am at 32…teeth touch, tongue resting on the roof of my mouth (where it should be), jaw still uneven but much improved and my face has more bone structure along with a stronger chin.
This took me three years of myofunctional therapy.  
Three years of weekly drives to Dallas to meet with my doctor and daily homework.  To this day, I do one hour of myofunctional homework every single morning while I work (because you can’t talk, eat or drink while you’re doing it…typing in the quiet of my home at 5:00 am seems to be the perfect time for me).
I have finally trained my tongue to rest in the proper position and to also be in the proper position while I talk, eat and drink…I’ve trained it so well that it even does it while I sleep (praise the Lord!).
So…I tell you all this because during this ordeal, my friend Sarah started recognizing many of the same symptoms and so she was checked out by my group of doctors too, and last year, braces were put on her, she had surgery with my ENT and also started myofunctional therapy and is doing so well now!!  Instead of being misdiagnosed, she is finally getting better too!
If you have jaw pain and feel like even though everyone tells you it’s TMJ, it might not be, I encourage you to get a second opinion and look into myofunctional therapy.  If you believe that your tongue is not resting against the roof of your mouth, then I urge you to look into myofunctional therapy as well.  It’s a specialized form of speech therapy and available in many areas…you just have to know to go!
These doctors really did change my life.  My gums are no longer receding, my teeth are not falling out, my face isn’t losing all of its bone structure and my jaw is feeling so much better than it once did.  I am so thankful that finally…Doctor 17 figured out the problem.
This is your random public service announcement from your blogger friend Shay :).  Until the 17th doctor, no one ever mentioned my tongue to me.  Ever.  Or my tonsils.  Ever.  And these two things were causing all of the problems.  If I had known this at 15, I could have avoided the TMJ all along (plus, I would have saved myself a lot of money, pain, frustration and heartache).
And on a completely random note…let’s talk about dinner tonight :).
Tonight is my Beer Cheese Joes!
If you like a Beer Cheese Soup and a Sloppy Joe…you will love this little recipe.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Tab & Erika September 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thank you Jesus for Doctor #17!!!!

  • Sarita @ it's my girls' world September 23, 2014 at 10:54 am

    It's blog posts like that can change lives. Thanks for always being so honest!

  • graceandloveblog September 23, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Gosh! I am so thankful that you got an answer finally! What a great post!

  • Greta September 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Thanks Shay for being so honest!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} September 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I bet there are several girls reading this morning that feel like they are reading about themselves. Such a good post friend! And I echo Erika, YEAH DOCTOR #17!!!!!

  • Catherine September 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    oh wow! What an ordeal! So glad you finally found answers. I have had gum surgery on all my teeth, so not fun!

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Wow, I may be one of the few people that needed to hear this. I have struggled with TMJ for about seven years. I've had so may symptoms, SEVERE migraines (7 days on, 7 days off), intense neck pain, my jaw is often times sore/in pain, as well as my tongue. I've also noticed in the past that my jaw often time sits weird, which I'm realizing my tongue is always moving around how I don't think it should. I too have seen sooo many doctors and specialists, I've lost count on how many! Oh Shay, you have me thinking very hard. I'm off to go research this! Thank you for this post!!!

  • audra wray September 23, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Wow! What a long journey! I had my tonsils out as an adult too and it was so painful!!! Bless your heart having it done with two babies!!

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Very interesting! I agree with Sarita..these blog posts can change lives. Thanks for sharing. Susan

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Wow! Good for you for not giving up! And thanks for this information. You never know who might need it someday. Love your blog and reading about your perfect family/life 🙂

  • Jessamyn September 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I hate that you had to go through all that looking! Thank The Lord it was finally figured out. I bet this post will be life changing to a few!

  • Andrea Munding September 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for this post! I think I might need to check into this for my receding gums!

  • Lisa N September 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful! Amazing that you share so much of yourself even in the midst of your pain. While reading this I became conscious of my tongue resting at the roof of my mouth, something I had never noticed before. I have done preliminary work to have gum graph surgery but have put it off for a year because of fear and dread. Seems silly when I know people suffer through for worse things and am praying for the courage to follow through.
    No telling how many people your story will help. You are beautiful now, but you always were!

  • christie asmussen September 23, 2014 at 11:52 am

    That is unbelieveable! So sorry you had to go through that, but happy for your result. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ruth Poat September 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Wow Shay!! I'm sorry to hear you went through so much pain…but I'm happy you are so much better now.Take care and God bless x

  • Katy September 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I was diagnosed as a "tongue thruster" before I had my braces on–and now so is my daughter. We both swallow with our tongue behind our front teeth. I'm better now, but my daughter still struggles…it's good to know this, just in case she begins to feel jaw pain, etc. thanks for this post!!

  • Dollie September 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Shay your story inspires me to get checked out. I have struggled with similar issues. Jaw pain, causing tension headaches. My sisters suffer from it also. Than you for sharing your life adventure!

  • Wendi September 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I have suffered with a lot of similar things and it's not fun! I would highly recommend Dr. Ronald Auvenshine if anyone is from the Houston area and is in need of some help. He changed my life!

  • Jen B September 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    My goodness, girl! So glad you finally got the correct diagnosis. I actually had gum graft surgery in January. That was bad enough, I can't imagine the tonsil removal, braces, and therapy on top of that. Bless you!

  • Jen B September 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    My goodness, girl! So glad you finally got the correct diagnosis. I actually had gum graft surgery in January. That was bad enough, I can't imagine the tonsil removal, braces, and therapy on top of that. Bless you!

  • Twice Five Miles September 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    This is a perfect example of what I am trying to remember every day: No matter what you see on the outside, every single person you meet is going through their own personal struggle.

    Thank you for the reminder, and I'm glad that you are finally having so much improvement!

  • Tamara @ The Workout Mama September 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I feel like my teeth are falling apart and have been wearing a night guard for 5+ years which isn't helping and have started to get earaches. I am so happy you shared this!!!! Thank you Shay!

  • sl September 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have a beautiful smile and face! Your story will help others.

  • Nichole September 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    It's so weird that you would write this. My 5 year old is a "tongue sucker." I noticed it when she was a baby, but it has gotten progressively worse, not better. She does not have speech issues, but I do worry about the effect that the tongue sucking is having on her teeth…and now gums and facial structure too. A speech pathologist friend of mine recently suggested looking into myofunctional therapy to correct the issue sooner rather than later. Now that I see how detrimental this can be I know that we need to find her help.

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Your blog is so positive and your smile so big, that I never would have imagined that you experience pain on a daily basis. Your story proves that perserverence is necessary in all aspects of our lives. Very encouraged to hear that you finally found a team of doctors that could help you find some relief and save your beautiful smile! Thanks for sharing–I'm sure your story will help others.

    Kathy Lang

  • Allison F September 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    This really was a great post! I can't imagine what an inconvenience all of this was – driving into Dallas once a week with two littles, going through SO many doctors, and now the 1 hour therapy every morning. Whew! Thankful you figured out the problem, and like others said, thank you for being so honest!

  • Megan September 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I had no idea you went through all of this! You are so brave! When I met you had braces and Smith was only a few days old. Glad you found those doctors!!

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing these details. I thought it was fascinating – I had no idea the tongue was so important or capable of such damage! While I may not have any of these symptoms, it's so helpful to have the knowledge in case it comes up for someone I know.

  • Amie September 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Wow that is amazing! I have always thought you have the most beautiful teeth, who would have known all you have been through to get there and are still going through. Thank you so much for this post, I know it will probably help many people.

  • kristinwithani September 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Shay, thank you for explaining. As I read, I paid attention to my dang tongue! Something I've never considered. There it rested on the roof of my mouth. Something you'll never take for granted.

    i'm so thankful you found the right team of doctors!

  • Talley Family September 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Bless your sweet heart! Thank you for sharing and you are beautiful no matter what!So thankful your pain is better! Everyone has a story!

  • Trish September 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    What a fascinating post! Of course, I feel for you, having to go through so very much. And a truly inspiring story, especially thinking about your ongoing chronic pain and work. You know, I've noticed before how different your face looks when you post photos from when your little ones were born, and thought "Wow, that was some orthodontia she had to go through to change her whole facial structure so much!" Now it all fits together so well. Thank you so much for sharing. As you noted, someone somewhere is going to read this and it will answer so many questions. You're changing lives!!

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I have problems with the right side of my jaw. It POPS all the time. Especially when I try to take a bigger bite of something (say a whole apple or a sub sandwich or even a hot dog!). I will talk to my dentist/ortho about this and do some research into this type of therapy. Thanks for the PSA! Sorry you had to go thru so much and that you still experience pain.

  • Angela Ellingson September 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Wow, so vulnerable and caring of you to share such a personal story! So happy for you that you are mostly better now.

  • Haley @ Cupcakes and Sunshine September 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    It's so great to hear that you found a solution to the problem! Great post! Thanks so much for your honesty and faith to not give up!!

  • Modern Maven September 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for posting. I am wondering if this could be my problem…though not as extreme…I have the pain, I was told it was TMJ, I know I have tongue thrust from my ortho. I will look into this in my area. THANKS!

  • Emily September 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    This is very interesting! I will be asking my dentist/husband about this. While I do not have jaw pain, when I was a teenager my orthodontist put spikes in my mouth after my braces were removed to correct my tongue thrusting. I just learned to work around them and never properly trained my tongue, and now that I google this therapy looks like maybe I could benefit! Didn't realize it could be connected to sinus issues, which I constantly have sinus pain. Thanks for your post!!! I will also make sure my husband, who is a dentist, reads this in case he ever can help recognize it early on for one of his patients!

  • melissabunny100 September 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Wow….What a great post..I am so glad you are better!

  • Grace September 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    This is an incredible story! I'm so inspired by your consistency and work ethic that it seems like you have in every aspect of your life. Praise God!

  • Keisha Dawson September 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    You are so sweet to share your story. I'm sure there are many women in your same situation that have tried just about everything, and this is going to change their lives! Blessings to you!

  • Lora G September 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    As a dentist and a loyal blog reader, I am so glad you shared your story!

  • Shesabigstar September 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I don't suffer from this but I do suffer w/ another sort of chronic pain and I actually just blogged about it last week. I think when we're moms, it's so easy to get caught up in taking care of everyone else that we don't always take care of ourselves… I love reading this and the encouragement it gives others to take care of themselves too!

  • Jill Moerschell September 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for your post. My jaw is uneven, mild TMJ, and several different dentists/orthodontists have recommended varying things. My new dentist told me my tongue was causing a lot of my issues (first time I had heard this) and that I needed to train it to rest on the roof of my mouth. I am doing some things on my own, but maybe I should consider the therapy. Would you mind sharing your doctors info? I'm in the Dallas area. Thanks~

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I have some similar issues. Looking into braces now but have never heard of the tonsil issue or myofunctional therapy. My tongue is an issue and my teeth no longer line up since I had a root canal 1.5 years ago. I'm very discouraged and tired of the whole process – it certainly doesn't compare to what you've been through.

    Can you please tell me – do you have to work to place your teeth together now or do they naturally rest on one another? I would love to know about that.
    Thanks so much for addressing these issues!

    • Mix and Match Mama September 23, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      They rest together now but they never did before.

  • Erin September 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for this post Shay! When I was younger I had a dental "appliance" installed for a few years to correct a tongue thrust (my tongue also did not sit against the roof of my mouth and caused my tooth structure to be a mess). It was easily fixed and I moved onto braces, but I had no idea how serious things could have gotten had I not corrected that! I appreciate my parents & dentists even more now. So glad you kept at it and found your dream team. xo

  • Atemple September 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I emailed you but wondering if you could tell me what doctors you went to! Hopeful for relief!

  • Darcy September 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    What a testimony! Thanks for sharing – you never know who you may have helped with this post. 🙂

  • Val @ Chicken Scratch. September 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    While I dont *Think* we have the exact same thing I am encouranges by your persistance. Im nearly 2 years in with my craniofacial specialist for my severe jaw pain and limited mouth opening. Ive been in 3 different mouth pieces and finally on a 7wk taper to removed my day time appliance. I still have pain and always will as My jaw has been labeled "degenerative" but Im finally sleeping all night and not waking up from such severe pain and ear aches. Thanks for sharing your story. I was feeling like no one understands what Im going through around here!

  • Alicia xoxxo September 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Wow. What a journey! Thank God you are better now. I have had TMJ pain for over half my life. I had tonsils removed when I was 4. TMJ pain started when I was 17. I have seen so many doctors. I have had braces, splints, mouth guards for grinding. PT, etc… I still have pain in my jaw, neck, head, and shoulder daily. I have just learned to deal with it. But you got me thinking. I need to take better care of myself. I am going to try and find a new doc to help me. Thanks for your post!

  • Lynn September 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Where was your tongue resting before, if I may ask? I was born with my tongue tied to where it couldn't touch the roof of my mouth like it was supposed to (I think more so with my mouth open, not when it was resting). I had braces off and on from 13-17 years old and had jaw surgery when I was 17 because I had a very severe underbite, and also had my tongue clipped then. I still have a slight underbite, but it is hardly noticeable now. They wanted me to go to speech therapy to teach my tongue not to press against the back of my teeth anymore (is that what you did?). I was too embarrassed to go to speech therapy when I was 17-18 years old (kids!!!) so I never did. Instead I just try to tell myself to make sure I swallow, etc by pushing on the roof of my mouth instead of the back of my teeth. Now I'm wondering if I should go to therapy?!? I don't have any pain or problems that I know of though, and I'm sure if it was a big issue they would have pushed me harder to go, right? lol

    Seriously though, thank you for sharing your story! 🙂

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} September 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Bless your heart (and I say this in a genuine way, not that tongue-in-cheek southern way.) 😉 So glad for finally finding the right doctor, gorgeous girl!

  • Kathleen {Life With Red} September 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    My jaw pops terribly, now of course I think I want to fly to Texas to see doctor #17!! When in reality, I'll bring it up to my dentist this fall!!!

  • Valerie September 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story! I have terrible TMJ and wear a night guard I hate every night and my jaw pops all. the. time. I had this horrible dentist tell me that my jaw pain would go away when I had babies…um, I was 16 at the time! I didn’t have my first child until last year when I was 34…and the pain has only gotten worse. I would like to send him a note and tell him he was WRONG and how dare he say something like that to a young girl, who has a career ahead of her, and who may have not been able to bare children. I’m sure he didn’t mean to say something so awful, and hopefully he has educated himself since then. Anyway – I will have to look into myofunctional therapy, I have never heard of it before today. Again, thank you!

  • CherBear September 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    So glad you persevered! Nobody would ever know, looking at your gorgeous face! Much respect for you for sharing such a painful journey.

  • CherBear September 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    So glad you persevered! Nobody would ever know, looking at your gorgeous face! Much respect for you for sharing such a painful journey.

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace} September 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this with us Shay. What a road it has been for you. So glad you finally found doctor #17!

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Shay!!! This was divine intervention. Thanks to you, I just called my Ortho to schedule an appointment after 10 years of not a single visit! I have had two sets of braces, jaw surgery, and the pain continues to this day. Jaw popping, misalignment, headaches, earaches…and my Dentist told me it was TMJ! My face structure is also off! THANK YOU! I can't thank you enough for sharing your knowledge!!!

  • Living-by-Faith September 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Love this. It's so real and honest. Praise Jesus that doctor 17 was able to help!

  • Sarah September 23, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Wow! I never would have guessed, I thought the braces were to correct your teeth…in the normal kind of way. Thanks for sharing! I hope your story can help others too!

  • Jes September 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Amazing to know how much work went into your gorgeous smile Shay- you make it look so effortless. It's brave of you to describe your experience so others can learn from it. Most people give up after the first few doctors, but as you show, sometimes (unfortunately) it can take many, many opinions (a lot of them wrong opinions) to get at the root of your medical condition. I really enjoyed this post and am glad you are healthy and well.

  • Lauren and Eddie September 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    You just described me. Oh my word. I've never even heard of this. My smile is sideways (more gum shows on one side), my gums are receding rapidly, my bite is off, my tongue doesn't rest comfortably anywhere. I sleep with my mouth wide open at night. I bite my lips to keep my jaw propped open because that's the only thing that's comfortable. Headaches, neck aches, etc. etc. OH MY WORD.

  • Tracy September 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Bless your heart! What a journey you've been on! The tonsils alone are horrible to deal with (worst pain I ever felt). So glad you kept on going and got the help you needed!

    I love "old school" blog posts that simply tell about the blogger's life! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Melanie Cantelmo September 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Both my sister and I have tongue thrust. My sister had to do therapy once per week and my parents didn't want to spend the money on me. So my friend, who was a doctor taught me how to hold my tongue in his spare time. I still have teeth problems! I'm on it with my young daughters who both have tongue thrust. So we will get them both in as soon as their old enough!

  • Alison September 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Yay Doctor #17! Thank you for sharing your story Shay!

  • Sandra Litcher September 23, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks for posting this Shay! Our dentist just referred my daughter to an orthodontist to have her tongue thrust corrected. I had never heard of it and was feeling quite in the dark. I still hadn't scheduled the appt. I will be sure to schedule it ASAP after reading this!

  • Amy Lawrence September 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Love this post. I have TMJ or that's what it's been diagnosed as with three dentist so far. I have never even questioned it. But I also have daily pain from that. I actually do grind my teeth though.

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I can't even imagine how painful and terrible this has been. thank the lord for those past few doctors.

    can I ask a more personal question. from the pictures you.showed, then your new one in the pink plad, it looks like you have lost weight as you have gotton older… is that true? and what classes do you take?

  • Anonymous September 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Bless your heart!

  • Jeanie September 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    What a nightmare for you! I'm so glad the doctors finally figured it out and you're now doing well.

  • sasha September 23, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    I'm in the 1% that this article applies to. Thank you for writing it. I'm forwarding to my orthodontist now.

  • Lana September 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    You poor thing! I never knew such a thing existed. Doctors 17-19 did a wonderful job, because your smile is beautiful! Thanks for sharing this – I'm sure someone will recognize themselves.

  • September 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    shay, what a nightmare!… so happy that doctor. yikes

  • JCS September 24, 2014 at 2:26 am

    I'm so glad that you found the right doctor to give you the right answers! You look great now and have a beautiful smile.

    Friendly side note – as a dental hygienist, I often hear people state that they have TMJ and are experiencing lots of pain. In fact, we ALL have TMJ! This is simply the temporomandibular joint. What you did have is actually known as TMD – temporomandibular disorder! 🙂

  • Anonymous September 24, 2014 at 2:44 am

    I have a request, and I bet you have not had this request before, but let's talk about sex! how do you keep the spark going after 10+ years. do u think it's important, and.what's the.norm frequency wise.. don't you hope others talk about this stuff!

  • allison September 24, 2014 at 3:08 am

    i had a slight lisp growing up, and my back teeth had a big gap between the upper and lowers….my orthodontist diagnosed me with tongue thrust when i was 16, and i had to go to speech therapy. i had the same tongue-peeking-through-your-teeth smile! now i feel very lucky that this was diagnosed when i was so young!
    it also must explain my gum recession….my gums were receding, but then stopped. must have been the speech therapy to fix my tongue!
    makes me want to be more diligent about consciously keeping my tongue in check!

  • Shannon September 24, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I follow your blog daily but this is the first time to comment… I needed this post. I have been having strange symptoms for a year… Tingling in cheek, lips and dry mouth! Jaw feels tense ALL the time. Now the pain in my shoulder and arms. Been to GP Dentist and neurologist. I am now beginning to think my jaw is out of line and causing these problems.. IS THAT POSSIBLE?

  • Jaren September 24, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Wow Shay! So glad you were able to finally get relief after so long! That is really amazing how your tongue can cause such destruction to bone structure. Really great post! You'll help a lot of people too!

  • Chantelle September 24, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Thanks for posting this Shay!
    There are so many blessings in your life to be celebrated, which is great… yet it's also good to see some challenges and hear how you've worked to overcome them. It just makes you that much more real and brings hope to others, like me, who have challenges to overcome too!

  • Kathy Olson September 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I'm sorry you had to go through so much, but thank you for sharing this. I thought about it several times yesterday after I had read it. Bless you for being so honest and helping so many:)

  • Jenna September 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. My mom always tells me we have to be our own health advocates. When it comes to ourselves and our families, no one else cares like we do and we have to keep looking and searching for answers. Thanks for taking the time to write this very personal post. I pray it helps many others who may be having a similar struggle.

  • September 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing that! It's very serious. You were honest and I know that had to be a very tough time.

  • Anonymous September 25, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Thank you for reminding all of us that doctors don't always have the answer. And to trust what we know about our bodies. I went to my dentist because of jaw pain and because my teeth had shifted position literally over night. My front teeth no longer matched up with my lower teeth. My dentist told me I was grinding my teeth at night and I needed a mouth guard. That just didn't make sense to me. Why would my teeth shift position so suddenly. To make a long story short I had dislocated my jaw! I had every symptom in the book and my dentist didn't recognize it. I walked around with a dislocated jaw for a month! It was my persistence of checking symptoms online and talking to my childrens' orthodontist before we finally found out what was really wrong. We know our bodies best and need to listen to what our bodies are telling us!

  • Steph September 25, 2014 at 12:44 am

    So crazy to read this post! I started Myofunctional Therapy in 5th grade, with the hopes of preventing jaw surgery. It didn't end up doing enough to correct my problems, so I had the surgery — but to this day I'm still so conscious of where my tongue is at and what it's doing all the time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Steph September 25, 2014 at 12:57 am

    So crazy to read this post! I started Myofunctional Therapy in 5th grade, with the hopes of preventing jaw surgery. It didn't end up doing enough to correct my problems, so I had the surgery — but to this day I'm still so conscious of where my tongue is at and what it's doing all the time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Steph September 25, 2014 at 12:57 am

    So crazy to read this post! I started Myofunctional Therapy in 5th grade, with the hopes of preventing jaw surgery. It didn't end up doing enough to correct my problems, so I had the surgery — but to this day I'm still so conscious of where my tongue is at and what it's doing all the time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Anonymous September 25, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Thank you so much for this post!!

    I have huge tonsils and my tongue has never rested on the roof of my mouth. I had no idea what problems this could cause.
    I am definitely going to look into this now!

  • Anonymous September 25, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Thanks for sharing! One question – the tooth that died, did you have it pulled OR did you get a root canal done…? Can't have both 🙂

  • Meghann September 25, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Going to research this…I got braces on my 21st birthday (yay, right!!) to 'correct' my popping jaw, which still pops, and had the gum surgery at 23. I read thru the comments and saw where you said your teeth natural touch when 'resting' and as I type this mine are not.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • DetroitDuchess October 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Shay! I am so happy to hear that you finally have some answers!

    I just had to start wearing a mouthguard because the dentist said I am grinding my teeth/clenching. I think I am doing this, but after reading this I will pay close attention and make sure to monitor my symptoms more closely.

  • November 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    A friend of mine shared your post with me regarding your jaw issues. I've been dealing with severe jaw pain that my dentist blamed on TMJ. After wearing a mouth guard, using a heating pad, and lots of Advil, it still hurts. This has been ongoing since February. The pain is actually getting worse. Was wondering if you would consider sharing your group of doctors with me or sharing what kind of doctors you found helpful. I believe I would benefit from the same treatments you received. Thank you!

  • Ashley February 7, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Thank you for posting this. I've suffered from TMJ my whole life and have grinded my teeth. I currently am on my second professional night guard and have had everything from fillings being replaced because of me grinding them down to crowns being put on my teeth from grinding. I'm currently 26 and feel way too young to be dealing with this. My dentist actually said that my gums are receding as well. Have you tried botox for your jaw? I used it a few months ago and it helped tremendously. The downside is that it only lasts about 6 months, but its well worth it. Would you mind posting the doctor that you used in Dallas? I'm currently in Austin and would love to visit him.

  • Unknown May 6, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Would you mind messaging me your orthontist and ent info?

    I am a dentist in dallas and I am always looking for intuitive doctors to work with.

    Thank you.

    Dr. Aly Sergie
    Aly @ infocusdentistry .com

    Thank you.

  • Shulamith Webster May 27, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    You linked this blog post in today's post, and I was so excited! I've had braces and been going to therapy for a year now! I'm doing awesome with resting posture, eating, and drinking. But I cannot get myself to sleep with my tongue in the correct position. My mouth is always open with my tongue down on the bottom of my mouth when I sleep. How did you train yourself?!? I also have HUGE tonsils but neither my orthodontist or my speech therapist has told me to get them out. Maybe that's something to look into? Thank you so much for sharing this! You're he first person I've ever heard of having this besides me. Having braces at 30 is no fun, but reading this makes me think it's worth it. 🙂

  • Kelly Largent June 2, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Could you share your orthodontist and therapy doctors information?!