TMJ Case Study: Gail Johnson

Submitted by our TMJ client, Gail Johnson:

It has been a little over two years since I completed my dental program with Dr. Nicholas Meyer. For the most part I am pain free, I have not taken an aspirin or Advil in close to a year, I can sleep at night and have even learned how to relax my jaw. Dr. Meyer is honest, ethical and professional. Most importantly what he did for me worked! It has been two years and I cannot remember being in pain. Now that’s what I call a testimonial.

Here’s my story…
When I met Dr. Meyer in 1999 I was at the end of my rope. I had tried everything trying to address my TMD. I had spent years and tens of thousands of dollars on dental treatments, untold dental fillings, crowns and crown replacements, night guards, physical facial therapy and massage.

My symptoms included continuous pain in my jaw-not just that dull ache right near the ear lobes that nagged me night and day, but recurring and long lasting muscle spasms on the sides of my face. I had earaches, pulsating headaches and several sensitive teeth a few of which caused searing pain when I bit down. I could not relax my jaw and was continually clenching my teeth. In addition I endured constant neck and shoulder pain and recurring sinus problems.

I had visited several dentists to no avail and I had just cracked my right rear crown for the third time in a year and was facing replacing it again. I could hardly eat or sleep and I was exhausted. I was taking from eight to ten aspirin or Advil per day depending on what type of pain I was experiencing. When I came to work each day I immediately went to the coffee machine and got a steaming cup of coffee just so I could place the warmth against my face. Yep, I was a complete mess and desperate for relief. It seemed like the pain and problems were now accelerating at a rapid pace.

Thinking back, I am sure that I had TMD since I was in my teens. I probably was not the most coordinated of kids and I had a few accidents: a fall off a bicycle face first, facial injury incurred as a passenger in a car accident and I had even ran head first into a parked truck while playing hide-n-seek on my 10th birthday. To top that off, I had extensive orthodontic treatment including four extractions.

I did quite a bit of research to learn about treatment options. I spent time on the internet, read several books and reference material. I knew I would not consider jaw surgery and I wasn’t to thrilled about filing down my teeth to make my bite better as my last dentist had suggested. I was looking for a complete expert and someone with experience. I was willing to go anywhere to find the right person to resolve my problem even if I had to travel.

I chose Dr. Meyer because he was extremely qualified with numerous degrees and certifications. Lucky for me he was right in my own backyard in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was able to get an appointment fairly quickly and in a few sessions he completed a comprehensive examination, both visually and with a computer program. He determined that my bite was not in the correct position. He spent time with both my husband and myself in his office carefully describing a plan for correction and answering all of our questions. He provided me with references of current and former patients to call. My treatment did not include any surgery, but rather a bite adjustment.

The bite adjustment was done in a series of phases beginning with mouth guard appliances for both my top and bottom teeth that had to be worn 24 hours a day. Within one to two weeks of wearing them my symptoms had disappeared. After six months I had all of my crowns replaced to match my new bite and I no longer needed the appliances. The transition phase was a bit difficult, but Dr. Meyer was patient, persistent and quick with a reassuring hug when needed. He expertly got everything to line up just right

So here I am two years later, I have never needed another adjustment, I am pain free and don’t have any symptoms. It was a challenge to write this because I have forgotten all of the pain and problems I was experiencing when I first met my friend Dr. Nicholas Meyer. I put my trust in his able hands, he changed my life by bringing me relief I so desperately sought. By the way I now just refer to him as “St. Nick!”

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