My TMJ issues have been present for the last ten years. It started as migraine headaches and progressed into neck and shoulder pain. Doctors sent me to physical therapy and treated the headaches with numerous medications. We started narrowing down the pain to the jaw area. One day my physical therapist tried to loosen up my jaw for some stretching and didn't like what she felt. She stopped immediately and told me I should go see an oral surgeon. At first I didn't understand but I was willing to try anything to treat the pain issues I was facing on a daily basis.
Upon visiting the oral surgeon he some x-rays and an MRI and said my condition was too severe for him to treat. He referred to two medical centers. Once he described to the issues I decided to get a second opinion. He told me the bone leading up to the socket in my jaw was cracked, disfigured, and falling apart. The bone had ground up the cartilage, disc, and socket. Without getting surgery soon, I would face not being able to open and close my mouth to talk or eat. I knew that surgery was not something I wanted.
My second opinion turned into seeing nine different doctors all over the state. Every doctor I saw told me the same thing. You need surgery soon and I can't do it. Finally I contact the two medical centers and set up a consultation. I also found patients that had the surgery and the type of device that both places recommended. I did my own interview process and decided on a hospital and the TMJ Concepts device. After waiting seven months I had surgery to replace my left joint, socket and mandible on Jan 24th, 2011.
The surgery went very well. Once home the only issues I faced was controlling the pain and swelling. I am currently in week six of my healing and with every week the pain is reducing. The swelling is coming down at a very slow pace. I can talk, chew, and eat soft foods. I only experience a little of the former pain I used to have and the doctor told me that should decrease with time. I'm so grateful for how I was treated and the good out come I have had to far. I would recommend to anyone that has to have this surgery to consider the device I had put in since it's customized to your specific skull. Once I was in surgery they removed the degenerative pieces of my jaw, overlaid the new pieces and attached it to my bone. I feel this process has helped with my recovery process.
As far as how long my device will last, we will see. I hope to take good care of the joint and have it last longer than the average time we are currently seeing in other patients.
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