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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

  • Hi, I'm new and have many questions,Please help

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    Old 11-08-2002, 02:12 PM   #1
    RachelH
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    Question Hi, I'm new and have many questions,Please help

    To ALL Message Board Members,
    Hello, I am happy I have found you and hope that you will all take the time to help me. Please except my Thanks in advance just for reading my post. If you are short on time and unable to read my story, please skip to my questions and give me some answers if you can.

    ALmost 2 years ago I was injured in an auto accident. I was proceeding through an intersection and a man coming from the opposite direction made a left turn into my path and the front of his truck struck my car directly on the drivers side where I was seated and driving.
    I'm currently in the process of putting together my case to his insurance company for payment for my injuries and other accident related expenses.
    Immedietly after the accident at the hospital my jaw was locking and popping. It had never done this before, infact my regular dentist does a TMJ screening at each and every regular check-up and cleaning. He has never found any evidence of a problem and I have never complained of one.
    Initially I was unable and advised not to persue treatment. I was pregnant at the time of my accident and my OB/GYN wanted to focus 100% on getting through the last few months of pregnancy and having a healthy baby. Luckily that happened and my baby was fine.
    My jaw problem continued as well as many other problems, unassociated as well as associated. I had many symptoms but my Doctor never equated most of them with the TMJ. I have since learned many things and have almost all the possible symptoms.
    Currently I am recieving treatment with a moulth splint. Prior to the moulth splint I had an oral device that was used to prepare for the splint treatment.
    So far I feel the Splint is not working. My jaw is out of place all the time. I'm still experiencing headaches, migraines, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, teeth pain, eye pain, ear pain, ringing in the ears as well as popping, grinding and limited motion. I can't open my moulth more than half way. I have many other symptoms that I feel are related as well. I'm sure all of you with your experiences know all of these symptoms far too well.
    Now that I've shared my basic story and you've taken the time to get an idea of my situation (thankyou!), I have many questions and your responses will help me tremendously!

    My orthodontists treatments (moulth device and splint) have cost me over $4,000. My orthodontist, as all others can not garrentee results and has informed me that after this splint treatment he feels the only other treatment option available for my condition would be surgery. However, he does not perform surgery, rarely reccomends it and can't tell me what it costs. I have called the only surgeon in town that I've found who does this surgery but he won't give me any information without a consultation first. That would be fine except that my time is limited in dealing with this. I need some information quickly to make some important decisions. If you are unable to answer all my questions due to time issues, please answer the first few for me, Thankyou again!

    QUESTIONS:
    For those who have consulted surgery or have had it, what was the total cost without insurance payment?

    My next questions is regarding treatment. For those who have gone through the Splint treatment and didn't find relief, what were your other treatment options before surgery?

    Has anyone found splint treatment to be effective?

    Did you have to move on to other treatments after using a splint?

    Has anyone made a full recovery?

    Do you feel this is a permanent condition that you will be suffering from indefinately?

    If you have the time and don't mind could you all possibly include in your post a list of the treatments you've tried or are currently undergoing and an estimate of what the total cost of all treatment has been thus far?

    What future treatments do you anticipate?

    What lifestyle changes have you made or found useful in coping with this condition?

    Any other information you feel to be useful for me is welcomed! I have searched through some past postings and checked out posted links to some very informative sites. However I still feel confused, not about the condition itself but the treatments, financial costs and my future with TMJ.
    Thankyou all for your help and support!

     
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    Old 11-08-2002, 02:32 PM   #2
    Elaine
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    Rachel,
    Put your case together good, as the accident will affect you the rest of your life. My TMJD was also caused from an accident. Three surgeries later, I am worse than if I never had surgery at all. I am not going to post about me, just read through the many pages on this board, it is all there. If you have any chance of getting open medical in your settlement, push for it. TMJD is not covered by most insurance and it can literally bankrupt you. Not to mention problems you may develop with your spine later on. My last surgery in 1997 was around $15,000. How far are you from Chicago, there is a excellent doctor there. Don't go to someone, just because he is the only one in town, there may be a reason for that!!!! I settled for $25,000, stupid on my part. I have lived a life of hell every since. Only "you", know how bad you are hurt. Are you actually thinking surgery, or just getting prices to settle with?
    Elaine

     
    Old 11-08-2002, 10:35 PM   #3
    justanotherday
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    first before you even consider surgery i would give it more time to heal on its own at least another year or so. If by then the symptoms are the same or worse then you can start seriously thinking about surgery. i've read on numerous websites maybe 2-3% of all tmj patients need surgery. even if you do go forward with the surgery it doesn't guarantee an improvement. i've even been told by an oral surgeon himself that the surgery can cause many arthritic changes in the joint and can actually limit your opening even more. You say you can open your jaw halfway right now but a bad surgery can make it even less then that. Go with the consultation appointment i am sure he will tell you the same thing. Anyway if you do want to continue down the conservative treatments path try orthodontic treatment, muscle relaxants or some therapy to control your stress levels...basically the more you can relax those muscles the better off you will feel good luck!

     
    Old 11-09-2002, 10:48 AM   #4
    RachelH
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    Elaine,
    you must know exactly what I'm dealing with, thanx for your response and if you have any more advice for me I'd love to hear it! I am looking at surgery as a last ditch effort. As you said... I need to know in order to know whats fair for my claim. Thankyou so much!

    Justanotherday,
    I understand completely where you are coming from, Its been almost 2 years and things have only progressively worsened. BUT... as you said I plan on continuing conservative treatments for another year at the very least if not longer but need to protect my future by knowing what I might be up against financially in the long run. At this moment I have every sypmtom possible, my jaw sits sideways and forward and I have no bite whatsoever. Its been rough but I'm sure you all understand what thats like, thanx for your response!

    Thankyou Elaine and Justanotherday for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions. If you have anything more please feel free to add it. I'm not easily offended so even if you don't agree with me or have advice that you feel goes against what I've said I'm still interested in it. I promise to consider everyones opinions equally. This is and will continue to be a big learning experience for me. I can't believe I hadn't looked for others on the web like me until now. I'm glad I found you!

    To anyone else, please feel free to share as well. I'll also do some more searching here. Thanx again!

     
    Old 11-09-2002, 01:12 PM   #5
    cfreund
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    The fact that your jaw sits forward and is off to the side and you have no bite sounds like my mouth. You probably have a displacement, which is really common and can cause a lot of symptoms. Splint therapy may be all you need to "recapture" the disc and realign your joint. Tomographic x-rays will tell you where the bones are, but not the disc. An MRI can show the disc and how it is moving inside the jaw. I suggest finding a doctor that specializes in TMJ and is NOT ready to jump into surgery. There are many things to try before you take that drastic of a step. I am wearing splints now 24/7 and showing some progress and I was told I needed surgery over the summer. The people on this board convinced me otherwise. Stick around. There's a lot to be gained from the folks on this board!!! good luck.
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    Old 11-09-2002, 05:35 PM   #6
    *Cat*
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    Hi RachelH

    I just wanted to say hello, and tell you I am only at the beginning stages so I cannot offer you too much advice wise. But, as you have probably noticed this board has many great people with a lot of knowledge in TMJD.

    I would have to agree with everyone, search out a good TMJ doctor who will really listen to you. Someone who takes the time to research your individual case. That is what I am currently searching for myself!

    Take care and I'm sure you will find a lot of support here.

    Hugs

    Cat

     
    Old 11-09-2002, 09:46 PM   #7
    Elaine
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    Rachel,
    The main thing "IF" you really do have TMJ related problems that affect you, go for open medical. You will find very few insurance companies that will cover this, should you have serious problems later on. Like I said, I settled for pennies, compared to what I have had to put out for surgeries caused by my initial accident. Most of it didn't surface at the time but then the circumstances were a little different. I was broad-sided by someone going 60 or 70mph on my side. I was lucky to have gotten out with my life and to this day I am amazed that I did. Some days I don't know if this is life or not but....The worst thing is I eat and get a headache, therefore I will go without eating to avoid it. I have lost 25 pounds since January, I am tired of mush!!! You are definitely entitled to damages for pain and suffering. Just don't cut yourself short...most of all, if you think you are going to have future problems, protect yourself with open medical if at all possible. Money is nice but medical coverage is more important when it comes to this mess!!!
    Elaine

     
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