First thing – I hope you appreciate that I make the effort to at least try to come up with these inviting and interesting titles! Just kidding. I do hope that by blogs are not too boring and do help you a bit to understand what TMD treatment is all about. In today’s blog I would like to discuss someone who I just met the other day. She lives in New England and she came here to the DC area to see me after some very frustrating treatments. I did my exam and discovered that her right jaw joint was crunching like crazy- sorry for all the big words- and it sounded like broken glass in the joint. Then I noticed her left ear/eye/eyebrow were all quite elevated relative to the right side. Her xrays that she brought showed severe condylar (jaw bone) degeneration as they were totally flattened out and sharp on the edges.
Now the interesting portion of our program begins. She reported she already had both discs surgically removed from the TM joints- ooopps! She was not wearing a surgical splint to protect the joints so she was likely bone on bone inside the joints (the condyles were worn down due to this) – another ooopps! So here she comes along and wants me to fix all of this. OK folks, I’ll admit I can figure out what is going on, but to fix what is so terribly damaged might not be possible and I told her this. She showed me photos of how someone had put brackets on her teeth in an effort to pull them together. She came in with one of those huge binders holding all her data and I was amazed at how she had been to California, Florida, and all over the US talking to various doctors.
It was most interesting that she said she would gladly consider surgery if I thought it might make a difference. It was then that I explained why the previous surgery did not turn out so good: her condyles or jaw bones were not even at all. It’s kind of like saying the front-end alignment is way off on the front tires of your car. Just putting on new tires won’t help in the slightest -you need to align the front end first! Well, your body is the same – those cranial bones and jaw joint sockets need to be level and aligned to get a good surgical result. This lady had surgery done, yet none of the doctors involved had spotted the misaligned cranial bones, so nothing could work properly anyway! After hearing all this, she said she now understood why her shoulders were uneven, why her back hurt, why her face looked distorted, and why there was so much pain!
As all of you dear readers already know, the previous doctors focused in on her teeth and barely even noticed the joints. They completely missed the distorted cranial bones. Even if this lady wants to do surgery, I told her there is no point in doing this now- maybe later if we can level out the bones and get the joints functioning better, then perhaps it might be something to consider. So that’s it for today folks -the message is that you need to take the time to analyze and diagnose, but isn’t that the same message I put out there every day? You get it. You got it. Good.