22 Years ago my jaw slightly dislocated. I thought it clicked back into place the way it did when this first happened. About five years later I noticed my teeth were not meeting properly and I could feel tightness in and around my jaws. I realized then that my jaw did not go back into place 5 years earlier. I did not seek treatment because the symptoms were not that bad and I was told that the Ontario Health Care Plan (OHIP) did not cover costs for this. I figured it would not get much worse anyways.
Fast forward to today and I am suffering from every symptom that Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) has to offer.
I must raise $15,000 to cover the costs of TMJD treatment and jaw reconstruction.
My symptoms are as follows:
-Early arthritis in my left jaw since all the cartilage is depleted and it’s just bone rubbing against bone.
-Crepitus (clicking and popping of my jaw joints). This can be painful.
-Eating problems from the tongue muscle working extra hard trying to keep up with the deformity of my mouth and jaw.
-Dizziness from one of the jaw joints that pushes up and back against my inner ear putting pressure on it.
-Tinnitus (rining in the ears) from the pressure on the ear canal.
-Headaches and neck pain from the pressure on the muscles.
-Vision issues due to pressure being put on the bone behind my eyes since this bone is also connected to the jaw joint.
-Anxiety caused by the nerves in my face being under constant tension. TMJ Disorders can cause a central nervous system to get “stuck in high gear”.
These symptoms have been getting especially worse over the last couple of months.
I have a pre-existing anxiety/panic disorder (which the TMJD worsens) for which I am on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to help financially when I cannot work due to higher anxiety. In the last year, especially since last summer, all these symptoms began, or existing ones got worse. Not knowing they could all be caused by TMJD, several doctors told me that it must be my anxiety causing these symptoms since all tests kept showing no problem that could cause them. I thought I was going crazy until I landed upon information and stories about TMJD and all the symptoms they cause.
I have been to specialists in the jaw area including a Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Gnathic Neuro-muscular Dentist (GNM dentist). GNM dentists have much more training in jaw disorders and symptom treatment.
To get these symptoms under control, or to at least a manageable area, I need the treatment of a GNM Dentist, which includes wearing an appliance (orthotic) to get the jaw joints in a neutral position which will allow for symptom reduction and even elimination. I will then need surgery. The GNM Dentist told me that my case is very complex, unlike any other case he has ever seen before. My teeth do not match well, and my jaw does not match well which has all my facial muscles fighting both of these issues putting them in constant tension.
The appliance will need several modifications until I get relief from my symptoms. When that is achieved, the GNM Dentist can then give a Maxillofacial Surgeon the information on exactly where my jaw needs to be repositioned.
The estimated costs for treatments are as follows:
-$5000 for a GNM Dentist’s treatment.
-$5000 for an appliance (orthotic device).
-$5000 for the jaw surgery.
It could take from 6 months to 2 years to get everything done. Complications or extra treatments or devices could prolong recovery and add to the costs. Hopefully that won’t happen, but if there are extra costs, hopefully they wouldn't add up to much more.
None of these treatments or surgeries are covered by OHIP or even by ODSP. All jaw conditions fall under dentistry. Any surgery related to the jaw is considered “cosmetic”. Dentistry and cosmetic surgery are not covered by OHIP, no matter how severe the case is. What gets me is that the teeth play only 1 part of many in this and the treatments and surgery I need are not because I want to look better. I need to feel at least somewhat better, enough that I can start living my life again. That I can get back to work again, pursue my dreams and interests, have a social life again, not feel anxiety ridden from waking to bedtime. I want to live life to it’s fullest. Right now, I’m quite isolated due to all the symptoms of my TMJD symptoms which will only keep worsening until I can get treatment.
Please help me to get my life back!
*Any extra money from donations will be used to help promote the need to make TMJD a condition that should automatically be covered by a government's health care plan. The symptoms and treatments are nothing minor and deserve as much recognition and care as any other medical condition or illness. I will advocate as best I can for everyone out there suffering from this terrible and confusing condition like I am.
Thank you so much,
- Evelyn Swan
- Linda and Brian Bartlett
- Brian Melo
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