I have a referral from another patient on this board to see this Dr. Wolford in Michigan. He will be a second opinion for me. His office told me that he is an oral surgeon but the paper work I got from them calls him D. Gary Wolford, D.D.S., P.C
then underneath his name says Oral and Maillogacial Surgery. They sent me a list of his tests and charges which I think is very upfront and honest.
Knowing full well that I already have tmj, I am wondering if I want to take these tests or not. I am sure that my insurance will not cover the computerized test that he uses for making the splint and so on. I just really am not sure which avenue I want to use for treatment.
The receptionist did tell me that even though this Doc is an oral surgeon that he is finding much more success in treating patients with a lower jaw splint and has only done 3 jaw surgery procedures this year.
A bit of my history in case you don't know it. I have been in treatment for tmj since spring of 2001., with another DDS. I had tomograms done, all the testing, an upper jaw splint made and physical therapy. My insurance paid a good amount. I felt relief from the headaces and general muscular pain in my face but the splint did just about nothing for me. I did not change my eating habbits though. I was hypermobile in my jaw. Then when it seemed to my Dr. (an older gentelman who has been running his practice the same way for 20 years) that he had done all that he could for me he sent me to an OS for athrocentesis. I had the procedure done in November, then followed up with 6 weeks of physical therapy. After the procedure my opening went from very very big to temporarily locking up at about 22 mm. This has gotten worse since and that is my status about 50% of the time. Other times the opening is still ok, about 30-35 comfortably. The only solution my current tmj doc has for me is more surgery. After much deliberation (and driving you guyes nuts) I opted no surgery.
Now I am just tired of living with this locking up but am not in terrible pain or anything. I decided to go in search of other answers, like the lower jaw device that some of you are having success with. I had a lead to this Doc and I am just not wanting to go rack up hundreds of dollars in co-pays, wish I knew how to find our more about this Doc before I agree to it all. Any ideas for me? He is younger, more trained on the newer techniques, and seems so far to be less surgery hell bent. His receptionist just now told me that he sees many unhappy patients from the guyes I was seeing,and that people come from all over the country to see him. How can I find out facts and not her opinions?
Thanks again you all, you are such a blessing to me in trying to work out decisons without anyone I know personally going through this process.
[This message has been edited by Isew4work (edited 05-19-2003).]
I am like you in the fact that I already know I have TMJ and I am not interested in some dentist ordering thousands of dollars of worthless tests and I refuse to consent to surgery under any terms. I am very definite on this fact. I will not agree to surgery. I am currently seeking a dentist who treats with splints. Thus far though, most offices that I call are very quick to say well they try a splint but if that doesn't work they do surgery and when I press and ask how much success they have had with splints they all say the same "most people end up with surgery". Surgery=big bucks for them. I sure understand your dilemma.
Can anyone tell me a clever way they have used to find out more information on a Dr.? It was his receptionist that told me he has only done 3 surgeries this year and is much more successful using splint therapy. I asked her what hospital he operates out of, and now that I am typing this I have a neighbor who is a nurse anestestesist there in the OR. Maybe she could find out for me how much he's been down there. Any other ideas that you have used?
I guess the first visit is the first step, I am probably being way too skeptical until I see him at least once. Haven't even called for my appt yet and I have this guy pegged as another money hungry doc.
You can try doing some research on your prospective doctor by typing his name in quotes in a "google" search online. This should bring up any and all things ever published by and about him (and available on internet). Beware of promotional websites...but you may find good solid information based on research he's published in medical journals, or articles written about his methods. I've used this method before to gather info about various doctors - and it has proven pretty effective. You may even access opinions about him from others on various message boards - but keep in mind that one patients hero-doctor is the next patients nightmare-doc. I guess if you see a pattern of postive or negative feedback, it may be something to consider. Good luck to you. By the way -- I notice you said your tmj was hypermobile. What were your symptoms with regard to the hypermboility?? I believe this is my problem too. Thanks much, Robyn
Hi again Mary,
Just wanted to let you know I did try searching out your prospective new doctor's name. There is quite a bit of info available...including a transcript from a talk he gave at a Food and Drug Administration meeting (question and answers and all). You can get a good feel for his background, and treatment approach. As far as I can tell, he seems extremely competent -and compassionate. Take a look and let me know how you make out. Best, Robyn