TMJ and herbst appliance...questions?

I was never officially diagnosed with TMJ, but I am almost positive I have it. Ever since I got my herbst appliance off, I have had jaw problems. One day the right side of my jaw felt really stiff and kind of hard to open. After that I had major popping on the right side of my jaw. We told my orthodontist and he... show more I was never officially diagnosed with TMJ, but I am almost positive I have it. Ever since I got my herbst appliance off, I have had jaw problems. One day the right side of my jaw felt really stiff and kind of hard to open. After that I had major popping on the right side of my jaw. We told my orthodontist and he said it was nothing and not to worry about it (and if it caused any pain to take pain killer...which it didn't). I went back to the orthodontist again for work on my mouth and after opening and closing my jaw for that entire appointment my jaw eventually got stuck and I could only open it a little bit. Once again I told him and once again he just said to take pain killer for pain. It's been several weeks since that appointment, and now both my right and left side of my jaw are popping. If I work my jaw too much it feels really tight or stiff. When I chew simple things like goldfish or even a bit of bread I can hear my jaw loudly popping (not just a little click) when chewing. Every once in a while it gets stuck so that I can only open it a little bit, and when I try to open it wider it hurts really bad. When that happens, I just keep opening and closing my mouth until it goes back to normal again. I also get occasional ear aches. Once I even thought I had an ear infection, went to the doctor, and they said it was nothing and my ears were fine. I'm assuming that had something to do with my jaw.

So I researched online and found out that the herbst appliance COULD cause jaw problems/TMJ, which makes me pretty angry because my orthodontist did not even mention that to me before he put the herbst appliance in. Like I said, now that it's off I have jaw issues. It also bothers me that he JUST told me that years ago I had teeth grinding problems, and I doubt he ever really tried to fix it. He also told me that COULD cause TMJ. I'm upset that he never told me any of this before. Now everytime I tell him about my jaw issues he just shrugs it off and tells me to take pain killer. The pain killer doesn't even work.

Now I'm starting to think that he's just saying all this to get more money. He probably knows I have a jaw problem but doesn't want to refer me to a different doctor, because it could interfere with his dental work on my mouth/with money.

Anyway, I'd like to know if you think I have TMJ, and if I do, what should I do about it?

Also, could the herbst appliance have caused my jaw problems?

...And are there any types of gums that I CAN chew or can I not chew any gum with this issue.

Thanks