Crystal Hornback's TMD Surgery

Hello Everyone! Crystal Hornback is really in need of our help. She has been in a terrible amount of pain since pretty much the beginning of the year. It began as what was thought to be an earache. Treatment was given for an earache, and the pain seemed to come and go. The pain at that point was coming and going, and on some days seemed to be a toothache, others an earache. Bouncing from one doctor to another and being treated for an earache and sinus infection, the pain became so bad one evening that she decided to go to Urgent Care. A doctor there stated that he felt like it was her Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and gave her a referral to ENT the following morning. From there, she ended up at the dentist (again), due to what the ENT doctor stated his theory was.


At the dentist, they took X-Rays and immediately called a local orthodontist who specializes in TMJ treatment. She was sent directly over to their office. There, they took much more detailed X-Rays of her entire skull and neck. They took photos, measurements, and more. She was there all afternoon, and left with a bill for $2,500 to pay for a jaw splint which she’d been measured for, a diagnosis of  temporomandibular joint disorder, and an appointment with a TMD specialist in Arkansas. The pain never went away, and felt like a constant earache/toothache at the time.


During this time, she discovered that insurance would not cover the appt. with the TMD specialist, and had to pay $500 out of pocket to see them. The jaw splint that had been made at the orthodontist visit was helping, but not keeping the pain away completely, which continues to get worse.


Upon having an MRI and visiting the TMD specialist, who took more x-rays, measurements, and photos, she discovered that this issue had supposedly been oncoming over the last 8-10 years. During that time, the discs (meniscus) in both sides of her jaw began to slip due to degeneration of the right lower jaw bone.


The specialist showed her the diagrams which revealed that a portion of the lower right jaw had degenerated over time, causing the ligaments and tendons in that area (TMJ) to weaken, which allowed for the discs to slip. Her jaw bones had been bone-on-bone for several years, apparently, causing more degeneration, as well as a drastic shift in the bone structure to accommodate for the lost bone


He showed what her jaw/skull structure as it is now, and showed that within 18 months, if not treated, her face would stand the chance of being completely disfigured. He said that the cause for the pain is that the shift had gotten to a certain point where the left side of her jaw structure, nerves, ligaments, etc. couldn’t withstand it anymore. He also discovered that the left meniscus was either degenerated or slipped too far for the MRI to pick up.


Since all of this, the pain has gotten tremendously worse, and has had miss work to stay home and be on a heating pad all day, along with medication to try to handle it. She comes home every single night since this all started and lies down on a heating pad. She cannot talk except through her teeth, in an attempt to keep from moving her jaw as much as possible due to the tremendous pain. She has been living on a mostly liquid diet for MONTHS now, as she can’t open her mouth wide and can’t use her jaw to chew.


Crystal has seen a chiropractor who helps with TMD pain management. The chiropractor told her to expect the pain to get worse before it got better, which was the spot on truth! She is seeing her as often as she can, but financially, it’s a burden on top of everything else. Insurance has so far denied every appointment she’s had that pertains to this.


All this to say, Crystal needs surgery. A few actually. Plus braces.


Surgery will be done laparoscopically, from behind left and right ears. The disc (meniscus) which has slipped in the left jaw will be pinned back into place. The disc which has degenerated in the right jaw will be replaced with a temporary prosthesis, which will be pinned into place. This is the extent of the first surgery, which takes place on October 25, with Dr. Bolding in Rogers, AR. A half day pre-op will be necessary on October 23. At the end of the four to six week recovery, there will need to be a half day orthodontist appointment to have braces and a bar put in place on the teeth and roof of her mouth.


This is an out-of-pocket surgical procedure, due to three denials from UMR Medical and Delta Dental insurance, in spite of numerous letters of medical necessity from specialists in this field. After months of going back and forth with them, they finally sent a letter stating that their policy on TMJ surgery is that they will cover it only if it were the cause of acute trauma (like an accident) or cancer. She has had insurance “wiz’s” try to find loopholes within the policy to no avail.


Here comes the part where you can help. The total cost of the first surgery, which is the TMJ Arthroscopy, is nearly $30,000. At this point, she is planning to do their payment option (through a third party, similar to Care Credit), this requires an $8,500 down payment, plus $2,000 in advance to cover anesthesia. The down payment and anesthesia costs are due on October 23 at the pre-op appt. This surgery will help resolve an extremely painful period of time that began in February of 2018.


This is defiantly medically necessary even if insurance doesn’t think it is. She can’t go on living in her state of pain any longer. She needs this surgery and she needs our help.

Crystal  is too kind, and would never want to ask for money from people. She is a selfless, encourager, kind, and loving soul. This has really been a really tough year for her family, and anything you can give would be greatly appreciated. 
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    • $100 
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    • $300 
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    • $100 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Daphne Bass 
Joplin, MO
Crystal Hornback 
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