The shorten version of my jaw

glassquiltSeptember 14, 2006

IÂm having my left joint replaced. I have known for almost 20 years that my bite, when IÂm standing, is not the same as when IÂm lying down. Found that out when I got my first crown. I never thought anything of it  had no idea it wasnÂt normal.

For the past 2 years my bit has been changing. My teeth no longer touch on my right side. My dentist couldn't do anything and sent me to someone who sent me to Loyola. They took a wrap-around X-ray. On the X-ray I could see that my left jaw joint is no longer a ball & socket. It looks like a mushroom or an anvil - the bottom is flat on top. Dr Steinberg, at Loyola, told me that was from a traumatic injury sometime ago. For years the two parts have been rubbing against each other and wore away. My left side is now 1cm shorter that the right.

I don't know when I suffered the whatever. I have a vague memory of something happening before I was in school but since both of my parents are gone I'll never know. I have been able to hear a grinding noise in my jaw; that is now I know it's a grinding noise.

Jan 4,Â06 I had the CT scan done. In order to keep my jaw in place it was wired shut. That was an experience. IÂll bet the subordinate doctor used a dozen shots of Novocain. My face was so numb I had trouble talking to ask directions as I walked from the oral health building to the building with the CT equipment. After the scan another doctor cut the wires the kept my jaws immobile but left the wires wrapped around the teeth in place for future use during the surgery.

The surgery was first scheduled for Feb 28th. It was postponed till April and then put on an indefinite hold because my insurance company felt it wasnÂt necessary at this time. So for the past six/seven months there have been phone calls back & forth between the insurance company & the surgeonÂs office. I saw Dr S July 31st because he was concerned about the wires in my mouth. While I was there, I found out that a copy of the CT scan had never been sent to the insurance company. Bureaucratic mess up between the two staffs apparently. I went to the records department myself, got a copy and hand carried it to my insurance companies office.

Finally a month ago I got pre-determination. An interesting aside: the women I was talking to at the insurance company told me they were sending the CT downtown for a doctor to look at it. Does that mean the first refusals were made by someone other than a doctor?

So thatÂs my story to date

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I'm glad you can finally have the surgery and get straightened out. Sounds like you went through an insurance nightmare. It's terrible what the health care in this country has come down to--always the bottom line. It would be interesting to know what caused this in the first place.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 4:07PM
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Good grief! I have heard of insurance night mares before, but never knew anyone who was having them! Been very lucky! What is wrong with these companies!! You wanted this surgery because???? Thought it would be fun!! Heck no because it is needed!

So if I understand correctly you have wires just waiting for a surgery that hasn't taken place!

shaking head

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 4:11PM
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I been thinking about you and this surgery. I need a bit of a longer version. How long of a surgery, hospital stay, time to recoup and what plus when will you be able to eat? When my mother had her knee replacement she was sitting up in bed that night. Does this mean you will be chewing by evening?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:08PM
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I'm so glad this is finally coming together for you!! It's a little frightening sometimes to realize the power insurance companies wield when it comes to our health and well-being. Hope you have favorable results from this and a speedy recovery!!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:12PM
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Hi All,

Usually lurker here, only recent poster. Congrats on (finally) getting the big insurance OK!

Assuming you're in US (not Canada) yes, sometimes the initial decision (decline) is by a non-doctor. I had this happen yrs. ago w/ a Workers Comp injury of lower back. This was back when MRIs were very new & still much more costly than now. They were standardly refused due to cost.

When my treating Chiro said I would need MRI when pregnant, Worker's Comp refused the procedure (as usual). Only when I went to Court myself (pro se, as my atty was blowing it off), on medical proof that a pregnancy w/out it would be unsafe, to me if not the fetus as well, it was OKed. As I was in the prime of my child-bearing yrs. at the time, but not pregnant (or even married) I had the Judge order it into the record that were I EVER to become pregnant, the cost of MRI(s) would be covered, specifically so I wouldn't have to jump thru same hoops again. Never had occassion to use it.

Yes, unfortunately, often times in the good old USA bean-counters rule medical procedures BEFORE docotors, appalling isn't it!


May it goes smoothly as possible, w/ the least possible amount of discomfort & fastest recovery on record!! All the very best.

(PG) Karen

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:26PM
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I donÂt know the answers to a lot of your questions. I joined a TMJ forum. I think IÂll get some real, practical information from them. For instance when I asked the doctor who called this morning for a ball-park estimate of how long I might be off of work, he thought two weeks but on the forum they said longer. IÂm going with the forum estimate since theyÂve been on the receiving end of the surgery.

DonÂt know how long the surgery itself lasts.
I might be in just one night. I sure hope so but IÂm not going to force the issue of going home.
I think IÂll be on a very limited diet. The folks on the forum have hints & receipts.

TMJ Surgery Chat Forum

This link is to the company that is making my joint replacements

Here is a link that might be useful: TMJ Concepts

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:51PM
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Wow! A forum all its own! I read thru the TMJ Concepts! You are lucky to have the forum for the real answers! Seeing is believing theory!
Are you aware you must give up all, contact sports.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:21PM
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Drat and I was going to play with the Bears this year.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:20PM
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