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Jessica’s Arthroscopy Story, Part Two – Patients Who Give Us Hope!

TMJ arthroscopy story

This is part two of Jessica’s TMJ story. A couple days ago, we left off with Jessica telling us about her first arthroscopy. In this interview, we pick up with Jessica telling us about her most recent TMJ surgery. (Catch up on the first interview.)

Here’s the rest of our chat:

Stacy: Prior to your recent arthroscopy did you do anything
different?
Jessica: I changed my diet to soft foods, took muscle relaxers and
pain medication.  My dentist gave me some physical therapy
exercises, but they made the pain worse. I have become a
big proponent of MRI’s, but this time around my MRI came
back normal. I was confused because I had the same
symptoms as before.  I gave the report to my doctor and
found out that the MRI was read wrong. She said that a lot of
radiologists don’t have the experience, or the knowledge they
need to read a TMJ MRI, and as a result they get it wrong.

Stacy: Your current surgeon gave you the option of having
arthrocentesis the second time around, why did you choose
arthroscopy instead?
Jessica: I questioned why if I had a more invasive procedure the first
time would a more conservative procedure work this time?
Again I had zero quality of life. We talked about both options
and agreed to do arthroscopy again.  I had my second one
in June of this year.Read More »Jessica’s Arthroscopy Story, Part Two – Patients Who Give Us Hope!

Jessica's Arthroscopy Story, Part Two – Patients Who Give Us Hope!

TMJ arthroscopy story

This is part two of Jessica’s TMJ story. A couple days ago, we left off with Jessica telling us about her first arthroscopy. In this interview, we pick up with Jessica telling us about her most recent TMJ surgery. (Catch up on the first interview.)
Here’s the rest of our chat:
Stacy: Prior to your recent arthroscopy did you do anything
different?
Jessica: I changed my diet to soft foods, took muscle relaxers and
pain medication.  My dentist gave me some physical therapy
exercises, but they made the pain worse. I have become a
big proponent of MRI’s, but this time around my MRI came
back normal. I was confused because I had the same
symptoms as before.  I gave the report to my doctor and
found out that the MRI was read wrong. She said that a lot of
radiologists don’t have the experience, or the knowledge they
need to read a TMJ MRI, and as a result they get it wrong.

Stacy: Your current surgeon gave you the option of having
arthrocentesis the second time around, why did you choose
arthroscopy instead?
Jessica: I questioned why if I had a more invasive procedure the first
time would a more conservative procedure work this time?
Again I had zero quality of life. We talked about both options
and agreed to do arthroscopy again.  I had my second one
in June of this year.Read More »Jessica's Arthroscopy Story, Part Two – Patients Who Give Us Hope!

TMJ Disorder Questions & Answers Part Three

is there a cure for TMJ?
Here are the latest questions that have been submitted by TMJ disorder patients. Do you have a TMJ related question? Ask in the comments section below or send it to us and your question could be featured in our next Q&A!


1. Once you have TMJ do you have the problem for life or can you get rid of it completely?

This is a hard question to answer. Some patients find that they get better almost immediately with self-care techniques like a soft diet or heat or ice. Other patients however, don’t get better so fast. They might need some follow-up treatment with their dentist, splints, physical therapy, some medications, or other treatments. An even smaller percentage still may need to go on to more invasive treatment, like surgery. Please understand that this percentage is very small. Right now we don’t have any specific data on how many people end up having jaw surgery, but we do know that it’s a very small percentage – possibly in the 5% (or lower) percentile.
So to answer your question, is TMJ disorder something you will have for life, or can you get rid of it? I am not sure – everyone is so different. Most people don’t have it for life as far as we can tell, but I think it’s also something that you will always be aware of. For example, you might always have some jaw discomfort after eating something that is chewy. So it may be something that you have to deal with on and off throughout your life.
We find that many patients have periods in their lives where they are not affected by TMJ disorder, then other times where it does have an effect on their life and how they live. Stress is obviously a factor, and many patients find that if they are able to get rid of the TMJ pain for a long time, a period of high stress will make it come back.
I hope this answers your question, I know it’s complicated and I wish there was one answer that was 100% definitive but unfortunately there isn’t yet.Read More »TMJ Disorder Questions & Answers Part Three

TMJ Disorder Questions & Answers Part Three

is there a cure for TMJ?
Here are the latest questions that have been submitted by TMJ disorder patients. Do you have a TMJ related question? Ask in the comments section below or send it to us and your question could be featured in our next Q&A!


1. Once you have TMJ do you have the problem for life or can you get rid of it completely?

This is a hard question to answer. Some patients find that they get better almost immediately with self-care techniques like a soft diet or heat or ice. Other patients however, don’t get better so fast. They might need some follow-up treatment with their dentist, splints, physical therapy, some medications, or other treatments. An even smaller percentage still may need to go on to more invasive treatment, like surgery. Please understand that this percentage is very small. Right now we don’t have any specific data on how many people end up having jaw surgery, but we do know that it’s a very small percentage – possibly in the 5% (or lower) percentile.
So to answer your question, is TMJ disorder something you will have for life, or can you get rid of it? I am not sure – everyone is so different. Most people don’t have it for life as far as we can tell, but I think it’s also something that you will always be aware of. For example, you might always have some jaw discomfort after eating something that is chewy. So it may be something that you have to deal with on and off throughout your life.
We find that many patients have periods in their lives where they are not affected by TMJ disorder, then other times where it does have an effect on their life and how they live. Stress is obviously a factor, and many patients find that if they are able to get rid of the TMJ pain for a long time, a period of high stress will make it come back.
I hope this answers your question, I know it’s complicated and I wish there was one answer that was 100% definitive but unfortunately there isn’t yet.Read More »TMJ Disorder Questions & Answers Part Three

TMJ surgery recovery tips

TMJ Surgery Tips – What Has Helped You Through Recovery?

TMJ Surgery Recovery Arthrocentesis Arthroscopy Arthroplasty

TMJ surgery can be a nerve wracking process if you are not prepared…but if you take some time to anticipate what you might need, and learn from patients who have been through it before you, we think you will feel empowered and less nervous.
I have talked with many TMJ disorder patients over the years, and they have shared their tips for surgery with me. After a while, I noticed most of the advice was very similar… it didn’t matter if the patient was having a TMJ arthroplasty, arthrocentesis, or any other type of TMJ surgery.
Most patients felt MUCH better and less nervous if they took the time before jaw surgery to prepare, become knowledgeable about their condition and particular procedure, go over the options, and talk with and get support from fellow patients who had been through the same thing before them. I don’t think this is unique for TMJ, it applies to any kind of surgery!
Here are some specific tips to help you prepare for surgery:

  • Test out different types of meal replacement shakes (Ensure, Boost), or protein powders *before surgery so that you know which ones you like the most.
  • Purchase supportive pillowsto keep yourself comfortable in bed. Everyone is different, but the most mentioned pillows are back wedges, neck supports, and regular pillows to put on either side of you to support your arms while you need to be laying upright.
  • Set up your bed area and nightstands or couch so that you do not need to bend over, get up, or move around to find things when you are recovering.
  • Get your prescriptions filled before the surgery.
  • Depending on what your doctor recommends, a child sized toothbrush or water-pik could be useful if you cannot open your mouth very wide.
  • Stock up on your favorite frozen veggies to make moldable ice packs (we like frozen peas or corn).
  • Buy pajamas that do not have to be put on over your head.
  • Robes are also convenient if you get hot or cold easily, or if you will be having visitors in the hospital.  Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Robes are SO soft, they are my favorites & the ones I always give as gifts.  Click below for more tips and to share your tips!Read More »TMJ Surgery Tips – What Has Helped You Through Recovery?