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Did I do the right thing?


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Old 11-11-2005, 07:36 PM   #1
laskalady
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Did I do the right thing?

Well, I finally found a doctor about an hour away in Los Angeles. He seemed much more knowledgeable than the other doctors..however, I do still have concerns. He wanted me to commit 100% to a 6-8 week program of soft diet, 24/7 splint, and physical therapy twice/week. It would cost me $2,600 for the splint and 6-8 wks of him seeing me, I guess to make adjustments or check on the progress. The physical therapist would cost me whatever she charges, which who knows what that is. He was eager to begin the impressions, but first I'd have to consent to this payment. I was weary, b/c I'm not so sure I can afford all of this, but if it will work...I would be willing to pay this money. However, I know I cant make it 2 this doctor and a physical therapist twice a week with my own hectic work schedule, terrible traffic here in California, and other obligations. I told him I'd have to think about it. I think he got a little upset b/c he told me well "You can get a second opinion, but people come from all over the world to see me, this is a progressive disorder that needs to be fixed before it gets worse." I know that he's right, and I really do want the help. I just dont want to be a victim. If I pay out lots of money on this I have to make sure I can commit to all of these appointments for treatment and therapy. Did you guys go through this same struggle. I feel like I dont know who I can really trust. He told me that if I did'nt do everything 100 percent as he had suggested that I wouldnt be sucessful. He said "no cheating, no eating bread or salad, make all your appointments, and wear the splint all the time" Therefore, I guess he was saying he isnt responsible if the treatment doesnt work. He did take panoramic x-rays..but he didn't necessarily tell me about the joint. He just said we need to re-align my joint, and that that takes 6-8 weeks of trial therapy and splint and soft diet only. I just want your opinions and suggestions. I'm not sure if I did the right thing by waiting. I've been seeing so many doctors, and my dental insurance wont pay for anything except a night-guard. "Your dental insurance will pay for No TMJ problems!" was made very clear by the receptionist when I put down my problem. How have you all been able to manage? Has anyone tried this 6-8 week program who can tell me if its reliable? Will PPO cover any TMJ treatment? Right now I only have an hmo, but I will get a PPO shortly and Im not sure if I shoud wait and see what help a PPO medical coverage might give me. I"m so lost on this thing guys! I'm not cheap really, I just have to be sure I can trust the person I"m giving thousands of dollars to. And of course I wanna know if I can go another route w/o breaking myself. All advice/suggestions or whatever will be greatly appreciated. Thanx for reading all fo this. Hope to hear from you.

 
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:57 PM   #2
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laskalady
He wanted me to commit 100% to a 6-8 week program of soft diet, 24/7 splint, and physical therapy twice/week. It would cost me $2,600 for the splint and 6-8 wks of him seeing me, I guess to make adjustments or check on the progress. The physical therapist would cost me whatever she charges, which who knows what that is. He was eager to begin the impressions, but first I'd have to consent to this payment. I was weary, b/c I'm not so sure I can afford all of this, but if it will work...I would be willing to pay this money. However, I know I cant make it 2 this doctor and a physical therapist twice a week with my own hectic work schedule, terrible traffic here in California, and other obligations. I told him I'd have to think about it. I think he got a little upset b/c he told me well "You can get a second opinion, but people come from all over the world to see me, this is a progressive disorder that needs to be fixed before it gets worse." I know that he's right, and I really do want the help. I just dont want to be a victim. If I pay out lots of money on this I have to make sure I can commit to all of these appointments for treatment and therapy. Did you guys go through this same struggle. I feel like I dont know who I can really trust. He told me that if I did'nt do everything 100 percent as he had suggested that I wouldnt be sucessful. He said "no cheating, no eating bread or salad, make all your appointments, and wear the splint all the time" Therefore, I guess he was saying he isnt responsible if the treatment doesnt work. He did take panoramic x-rays..but he didn't necessarily tell me about the joint. He just said we need to re-align my joint, and that that takes 6-8 weeks of trial therapy and splint and soft diet only. I just want your opinions and suggestions. I'm not sure if I did the right thing by waiting. I've been seeing so many doctors, and my dental insurance wont pay for anything except a night-guard. "Your dental insurance will pay for No TMJ problems!" was made very clear by the receptionist when I put down my problem. How have you all been able to manage? Has anyone tried this 6-8 week program who can tell me if its reliable? Will PPO cover any TMJ treatment? Right now I only have an hmo, but I will get a PPO shortly and Im not sure if I shoud wait and see what help a PPO medical coverage might give me. I"m so lost on this thing guys! I'm not cheap really, I just have to be sure I can trust the person I"m giving thousands of dollars to. And of course I wanna know if I can go another route w/o breaking myself. All advice/suggestions or whatever will be greatly appreciated. Thanx for reading all fo this. Hope to hear from you.
Hi:
I don't think you are cheap. I think you are extremely wise. Just from what you have said I would not trust this person because he got so offensive when you said you would have to think about it. If he was sure of himself he wouldn't mind if you got other opinions. Another thing that concerns me is that NO splint therapy is going to work in ONLY 6-8 weeks. It takes alot longer than that for it to work. That is too short of a time period. It also concerns me that he was so quick to say if you eat anything that he doesn't ok then the treatment won't work. It sounds to me like he is setting up his defense so if it doesn't work he can blame YOU and not take responsibility for his failed treatment. I know a gal who had surgery and she did absolutely EVERYTHING she was told to do, never cheated and wore her splint 24/7. The surgery failed and her surgeon blamed HER for his failure saying she was too nervous and she should go on a diet and lose some weight. It sounds like this guy is setting up his defense so he can blame you. He just sounds shady to me. I also wanted to tell you this: You said you will be getting new insurance and I was thinking if you waited until you got the new insurance and you got the dentist or whoever is treating you to put down you diagnosis as MPD (Myofascial Pain Dysfunction) instead of TMJ the insurance might pay for it. I know of several people who have gotten their insurance to pay because their treating professional used the diagnosis of MPD rather than TMJ. It might be worth a try. It also bothers me that this dentist tried to scare you by saying TMJ is progressive. While that is true it doesn't progress THAT FAST and the way he said it just because you said you needed to think about it just worries me. TMJ costs alot of money and it is alot of trying things and hoping they work but it just concerns me the way this man spoke to you. Just my thoughts on the whole thing.
Tiffany

 
Old 11-11-2005, 11:46 PM   #3
laskalady
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Tiffany,

You make points that I didnt even think of! I'm so glad you're on this board and that it exists. You're right about this guy. I honestly will say that he made me very sceptical. All the while he was talking to me, the office manager stood over me with her little pen and paper putting down the calculations. That made me uneasy also. I dont want someone standing over me with a pen in hand ready for my signature to commit to thousands of dollars for a 6-8 week stunt. I'm definitely gonna try this PPO MPD thing. It sounds worth a try. I"m so glad you reminded me about the whole progression thing. He really did make it sound like I needed to act right then and there. They play this video to start, which talks about how skilled he is..and make you sit there and watch it. I think its all for money. Even the specialists want TMJ money. Thanx again for your help. I think I'm going to at least get the night guard for now, then try going through PPO in January for further treatment.

 
Old 11-12-2005, 09:30 AM   #4
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

That's alot of money. I thought my splint cost alot. (750$)

I guess it depends on what he is doing in terms of adjustments. I think there are some doctors who keep adjusting as things progress. Not sure from what I read if that is what he is doing.

Ray

 
Old 11-12-2005, 11:48 AM   #5
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

laskalady: What part of Ca. are you in? I'm in San Diego and have a great DDS who helped me with TMJ after seeing 4 really bad ones. I went through splint therapy with him and then braces b/c my bite was so off. I haven't had any TMJ symptoms in quite awhile. I'll be getting my braces off this coming week. Let me know if you want his name, even if it's just to contact him for a referral close to where you live. Good luck.

 
Old 11-12-2005, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Sunshine-I'd love any info you can provide me with. I'd honestly go see anyone who really can help me. I'm in Orange County Calif. How long did you go through your splint therapy? How often did you have to go back for adjustments? How much does he charge? Does he accept any medical insurance? I know, so many questions! :-) Thanks for your help.

 
Old 11-12-2005, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

laskalady: I don't remember exactly how much he charged me. He isn't cheap, but he's thorough without being too thorough. He takes transcranial xrays, pictures, etc. Everyone who works there is very nice too. I believe the adjustments were once a month, or sooner if I was having a problem. I wore the splint about 6 months this time, but with previous DDS, I had to wear one longer. We have lousy insurance (Cigna) that paid for some of my TMJ treatment, but you can check with the DDS office and see how they would bill your insur. co. You can use a credit card or take out a loan, if necessary. Anyway, the DDS name is: Greg Friedman. He's in the Scripps Ranch section of San Diego. I can't give you his phone # here, but you can look it up online. Let me know what happens and good luck. Sue

 
Old 11-13-2005, 11:07 PM   #8
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Thank you very much for this info. I'm going to try one more local doctor, and if that goes bad, I think I'll be making my way to San Diego. I've been checking out the website. Thanks again.

 
Old 11-14-2005, 04:47 PM   #9
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

You definately did the right thing. That doctor sounds like a real jerk and I echo everything that Tiffany said. He is setting himself up to blame you if things don't work for you and you don't get better. There is no one treatment or therapy that works for everyone. Each treatment plan needs to be tailor made to address each person's specific problems and it does not sound like this doctor did that with you. It sounds like this is his standard approach with every patient. While it may work with some of his patients, it will not work with everybody, and he already has his excuse for it not working - the patient failed! He sounds rude and abrasive and not someone I would want to work with, let alone see twice a week, lol. It is very difficult to figure out who to believe and who to trust. It is hard to know who knows the "right" treatment for you and your specific problems. I have gone through several bad doctors myself and have gotten much worse from it. I have learned my lesson, albeit a very hard one. Now, I go with my gut. I research everything, I am a knowledgeable patient, I am not afraid to question my doctors, and if they get offended by that, then they are not the right doctor for me. I need someone that is willing to let me be a partner in my own treatment and care. I am not afraid to say NO to anything that does not feel right, and I am not afraid to walk out of a doctor's office if I get a bad vibe. The best thing you can do for yourself is to become educated on your specific problems, research your condition and be your own best advocate. Be willing to stand up for yourself and don't let anyone push you into anything that does not seem right.

You did the right thing here. I would have told him to kiss my sweet cheeks and give me a money back guarantee in writing. I am quite sure he would not be willing to do that.

VA-gal

 
Old 11-15-2005, 06:33 AM   #10
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Just one more vote that you did the right thing. If you had not said you were in California, I would swear I had been to the same "expert" here in Maryland. Except his splint cost $7,000 and not $2,500, and when I questioned him why it cost so much more than the first one I had ($650), said I was paying the privilege of being treated by him because he one of the best and people came from all over the country to see him. His shtick was not PT, it was chiropractic from a very specialized chiro three times a week. I did not go this route and am so glad I did not...I have found someone who is willing to listen to me and work with the my oral surgeon who does the inexpensive splints, and I feel I am slowly but surely making progress. Go with your gut!

 
Old 11-15-2005, 07:01 AM   #11
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

LaskaLady, I feel for you!agree, if you run into an doc a/an defensive attitude like that in any area, that's a red flag.The first TMJ expert I saw went thru an expensive diagnosis, and am currently seeing others for second opinions, but I have to at least give him and his office credit - they were polite and
handed over MRI's w/no questions.

And am new to this, but it seems that if you see an oral surgeon and emphasis pain symptons and see if they can't do splints it's more likely insurance will pay at least a little, as opposed to a dentist to do splints or anything at all, which they don't want to pay squat. Do you find it easier to get insurance to pay oral sugeons charges over straight dentists? It's crazy it's all medical, it's all pain related!

and can tell almost off the bat who takes insurance and who doesn't when you call to book consultations. the non insurance docs can usually book in about 3 mins, seriously, no waiting. guess they figure if you have 30k to burn up front you don't have to wait as long. and the few TMD docs who do take insurance it's about a 3 year wait.

agree about all of this am so leary and just started the process, and would be willing to pay more too if you knew a treatment would actually work. but you start feeling like everyone's trying hook into the dental gravy train to make a buck and trying to find out whose a lot w/TMJ and who hasn't etc etc makes you nutty.

so far, one dentist said ortho only, splints don't work.
an oral surgoen/dentist said splints, plus surgery, then ortho.
one dentist said night guard only.
two different radiologists said yes to dislocation- one said degenerative arthritis, the other said no sign of it

am booked w/two more oral surgeons in the next two weeks and then's that's it gotta make a decision.
good luck

 
Old 11-15-2005, 10:57 AM   #12
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Soupdejour- AWW isnt it horrible? Yeah, I've gotten so many different opinions myself. As far as my insurance goes..its hmo so go figure. The oral surgeon they finally sent me to didnt even do a mri or anything. He basically just told me that I had a dislocated joint and he could open it for me by use of arthrocentesis..-which i skipped that appt, b/c i've been warned about anything invasive. This guy didnt recommend a splint or anything... the one dentist was just like "tmj dentist" by name and website only and it was very obvious...so i l skipped out on him.. the regular dentist i ended back up with so that i can get a nightguard. i'm so lost..haha. I'm gonna keep trying. I get PPO in January. I'm hoping the dentists will take my ppo insurance. I called up one place that takes PPO. and you're sooo right about the appts. When they want TMJ money..u can come in any time!!! They're so polite only b/c they want your money. The docs are usually cocky no matter what. I've had some bad apples dealing with this problem. I'm just hoping that changes. Are you getting your treatment through oral surgeons? The hmo oral surgeons wouldnt even give me an x-ray so I know they wont make me a splint.. i'm gonna find an oral surgeon through ppo insurance b/c that way I can go to anyone I want. I'm hoping this helps. If non of these insurance options work..I"m gonna go out of pocket I guess. Thanks for your reply... I'm new to this also, but we'll get by I hope..! oh yeah and this last tmj dentist goes..i think I see a bit of arthritis also..im like come on dude!! do u think or do u really see it? I'm so weary now.

 
Old 11-15-2005, 03:19 PM   #13
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

I know how you all feel. I am going through the same thing. Oral surgeon, dentist, TMJ specialist, doctor, in network, out of networkk, TMJ coverage (or lack of). It's nuts. Everyone has a different opinion and a different approach. One thing I know from past experience is that the first course of treatment is usually splint therapy along with maybe some other physical therapies. Once they get the painful symptoms somewhat under control, then they can talk about additional steps. I think one of the stressful things about all of this is the money factor. If you don't really look into what is going on and try to learn all you can, you can be wiped out as far as money. I just emailed a guy in Mountain Lakes, NJ, relatively close to where I work. I saw him on the AAOP website. I'm hoping he emails me back and tells me he is accepting patients. I heard those docs on there are pretty good. I am getting desperate. I have been up at 4am the last three days due to the neck and teeth pain. I'm so sick of feeling sick! I hope you all find some relief!!

Last edited by newjerseyguy; 11-15-2005 at 03:21 PM.

 
Old 11-15-2005, 04:05 PM   #14
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

I've found that same website you're mentioning and have heard the same thing. Supposedly they are by invitaion only? Let me know how it goes for you. I'm gonna start searching that list right now as a matter of fact.

 
Old 11-15-2005, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: Did I do the right thing?

Have you spoke with your primary physician about writing your TMJ up as a medical problem and bypass your Dental insurance. I know my dental insurance company told me TMJ was cosmetic and my family doctor bypassed my dental insurance and went through my helath insurance since the TMJ was causing so many physical problems, ear aches, facial swelling, slurred speach and PAIN and for the last five years I have not had to deal with my dental insurance at all and just my health insurance. I really hope you get some help.
Shirlett

 
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