Facial pain and jaw pain were once a big part of my life. For a time, I thought it would be the end of me. Eventually, I recovered with patience, physical therapy and time.
This phrase saved my life: Treatments should be conservative, reversible and noninvasive. Following that advice allowed me to avoid harmful treatments. And eventually, I got better. That was more than 10 years ago and though I am normal again, I will always remember those difficult days.
I developed facial pain in 1997 when a dentist left a filling too high. He gave me a hard plastic splint to “re-position” my jaw. Bad idea! Most facial pain is muscular and will get better on its own with time and simple treatments. Unfortunately providers may treat with aggressive measures that cause more harm. That’s what happened to me.
The splint caused a permanent injury and left me in terrible pain. About this time I found The TMJ Association, which saved my life. The TMJ Association provided science-based, reliable information about facial pain and TMJ disorders. I also read a brochure from the National Institutes of Health with the life-changing phrase. “Treatments should be conservative, reversible and noninvasive.” The pain was very bad and I just wanted to feel better. Many of us reach that point and agree to harmful, costly treatments. When we don’t get better, we are often abandoned by our dental providers.
After discovering the TMJ Association and information from the National Institutes of Health, I felt hope. I saw a compassionate family doctor who prescribed physical therapy with a specially trained therapist. I got better and eventually, the pain was gone. These days, I have respectful dentist who understands my need to avoid wide opening and whose approaches are conservative.
Because of my gratitude to the TMJ Association, I became a patient volunteer several years ago. The TMJ Association patient support network offers a way for me to reach out and help others.
I have three dogs and three cats. I work as a freelance writer and enjoy running, swimming, hiking, yoga and music. I am a fan of House MD.
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