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Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

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Old 08-09-2005, 06:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2005
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TMJMom HB User
Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

My 15 year old has been diagnosed with TMJ by our dentist. His diagnosis was based on an MRI, and the fact that she has facial assymetry. She has no other symptoms - no pain, no discomfort, nothing. She's been wearing a night guard for the last 3 months and the dentist says her joint is deteriorating. He recommends seeing Dr. Mark Piper and considering surgery. The dentist says that she'll have severe problems as an adult if this condition is not corrected now and at that point surgery will be much more invasive/painful/etc. Has anyone else had this condition (no symptoms)? What did you do (surgery or not) and what was the outcome? Any opinions on Dr. Piper? After reading other postings, I'm really reluctant to put my kid through the surgery. I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks so much!

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Old 08-10-2005, 05:47 AM   #2
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tanglefoot HB User
Re: Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

Most people have facial asymmetry, and most Maxillofacial surgeons will tell you that. The people that don't are the pretty people, models. They did a study on this on one of the famous News shows 60 mins of 20/20. Their conclulsion was that most people that have symmetrical facial features are just more pleasing to the eye. The only problem didn't state how this is effecting her TMJ and what actual damage has been done. There are a lot of doctors out there that are just wanting to make a few bucks. How is your daughter's bite? If her bite is off, maybe she just needs braces. If my daughter wasn't having any pain and depending on the degree of asymmetry, I would certainly get a second opinion. I have been through a very botched surgery and now I have to have another to correct the first one. My face was once symmetrical and now it is not.
Also, the first measure of treatment for TMJ should be splint therapy. Does her jaw pop, lock, ...does she have any symptoms what so ever? I am a nurse and if she has no symptoms, maybe the doctor wants to use her TMJ as an excuse to do cosmetic surgery. Can you tell me exactly what the MRI showed? Keep me posted on your search, but the least invasive route would be my first choice. Good Luck!!!

Old 10-17-2005, 12:55 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2005
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reina_marie HB User
Re: Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

I have a similar problem. I have just been diagnosed with TMJ, mainly because of my facial assymetry. I have no symptoms except for jaw popping that does not occur that often. My dentist also said that even if I'm not having problems with the TMJ now, it might worsen in the future so I agreed to getting a splint. The best advise I've been getting from everyone is not to resort to surgery because it's permanent and if the surgery doesn't work it's hard if not impossible to get things back to before. Even braces are considered permanent. I'm wearing a splint now, unfortunately, after 2 days of wearing it I've experienced the worse headaches and dizzines and neck pains. I'm not sure if this is normal reaction to a first time splint user. I'm not sure yet if this is the best solution. I'm reconsidering if this is worth it, but at least the splint is temporary. See if it works for your kid.

Old 10-17-2005, 08:52 AM   #4
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Catswold HB User
Re: Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

Hello, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but both dentists scare me. Surgery should never be suggested to someone (TMJ or not) unless there is a big problem and quality of life is going down hill dramatically. It does not sound like that for either TMJMom and REina-Marie. Is there something else going on that's not mentioned here?

TMJMom, I don't mean to sound so dramatic, but take your daughter to a different dentist and get her away from this guy. TMJ is diagnosed when there is PAIN and when there is POPPING and LOCKED JAW. Your daughter has none. Assymetry means nothing. PAIN and FUNCTION means everything. I will almost come out bluntly and say your daughter does not have TMJ. Even a disc that is out of joint does not mean TMJ. Many people who do not have TMJ or pain have both assymetry and out-of-joint discs.

Please take your daughter to someone else - a "specialist" in TMJ. Could be a dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon. I'm not even sure she needs to wear the bite splint. I do not know Dr. Piper, but if he has a reputation for TMJ surgery and is an advocate of surgery as the way to fix TMJ, I would hesitate to go to him. I will pray that everything works out and that you find a good TMJ Specialist.

R_Marie - now that I have scared TMJMOM, I hope you won't mind if I say something similar to you. Surgery is the LAST step and even then, I don't know. Braces is also a pretty drastic step particularly if you are only having occasionally popping sound. Lots and lots of people have that. It really means nothing. About the splint - I just don't know what to tell you. If I were you, I think I'd go get 2nd and 3rd opinions. Bite splint might not be necessary. Or if you are having problems with this one, a different kind might be better.

But, don't just take my word for any of this. Get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., opinions from trained TMJ people. See what others have to say on this board and others. I would like to know the outcome, though, when you get to that point.

You will both be in my prayers.
God bless...

Old 10-17-2005, 04:00 PM   #5
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TiffanyAnn HB User
Re: Facial assymetry, TMJ - should consider surgery?

Hi TMJmom:
If your daughter is not having any pain or problems I would strongly suggest you RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Surgery is way overused these days and I can guarantee your daughter will have problems and ever lasting pain IF you allow surgery to be done on her. My God, please do NOT allow surgery to be done on her. I think you will regret it for the rest of your life. I know she will.

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