Ryan's TMJ Treatment Fund

I'm raising money to treat a jaw joint disorder that's causing me chronic pain on the entire left side of my body. 

I've always had misaligned jaws, and went through three rounds of braces (ten years total) to fix them. I've had to have almost half my teeth pulled out to make room for crowding, but none of this treatment fixed the underlying problem. The problem is quickly getting worse, because the entire left side of my bottom bridge of teeth is inside the upper and collapsing even more. I have no chewing power on the left side of my mouth and chewing at all is painful.

TMJ is a degenerative joint disorder, which usually starts to cause pain and problems in the early 20's. My pain started about two years ago and has gotten worse the further in my 20's I've gotten. What started with jaw pain became headaches, and ear pain, which led to a clogged left ear and trouble hearing. Because my muscles have to compensate for the bad position of my jaws, I experience muscular pain in the neck, shoulders and back. This is becoming increasingly harder to cope with as my muscles are getting more strained trying to support my misaligned jaws. Over the past few months, I've begun to feel unbalanced on my feet, my posture is worsening, and all my joints (in my wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and feet) crack and ache when I move. 

Because I have trouble chewing, I've cut down on eating and eliminated certain foods from my diet just to avoid pain, which has affected the quality of my nutrition. It's also getting harder for me to exercise and get in a comfortable position to sleep, which has affected how much sleep I get. The condition is adversely affecting my day-to-day life, and I don't know how much worse it will get, but eventually my jaw will start to lock, I will barely be able to open my mouth, and the bone in my jaw joint will become deformed from the pressure of not being situated properly. 

Medical insurance would help with this, but I currently don't have it. Earlier this year I lost my medical insurance and am in limbo as I work to find a full-time job. Currently, I'm not financially stable enough to spare the $7,000 required for treatment. I applied for a CareCredit card to get treatment, but my credit score and student loan debt did not allow me to get approved. 

The only ways to fix my problem are through surgery or jaw repositioning therapy. I'm shooting for the latter. It's done with an orthotic that has to be worn 24 hours to reposition the jaw in the correct position. After six months of that, I will probably have to go through yet another set of braces to make sure the teeth fit together and the jaws stay properly positioned. I need to take care of the issue now, because it will only worsen as I get older and be harder to fix. 

Dealing with the chronic pain of this condition and not having a way out due of financial insecurity has been devastating (especially since I wore braces almost half my life). I've been wrangling with the thought of living with this for the rest of my life and taking pain medicine but I don't think I can do that forever.

I didn't want to start this because I am embarrassed to ask for money, but I'm trying to look for solutions anywhere I can, and appreciate everyone with the means and generosity to donate.
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Ryan Douglass Williams 
Decatur, GA
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