But for many people that’s exactly the case. A segment on the television show The Doctors that focused on neuromuscular dentistry shows both how TMJ can develop after an injury and how treating TMJ can turn a person’s life around.
The Doctors: Mindy’s Accident
The Doctors segment focuses on the story of Mindy, who suffered TMJ after a serious elevator accident. The elevator she was in suddenly plunged 75 feet. To prevent the deadly crash of the elevator, the emergency brakes came on three times, which likely saved Mindy, but each time subjected her body to tremendous compressive deceleration forces, injuring her spine and, her jaw.
Mindy had two major back surgeries, involving the removal of two of the cushioning discs in her back. She had suffered paralysis of the stomach and had to have a feeding tube. She became almost bedridden, according to her husband, and she said she wasn’t getting better and had no quality of life.
TMJ Treatment to Complete Recovery
Mindy noticed she was repeatedly grinding her teeth and that she had excruciating headaches that involved her inner ears. She visited a neuromuscular dentist who diagnosed her TMJ and manufactured an oral appliance that repositioned her teeth to improve airflow, put her teeth in a better relationship to one another and improved the comfort of her jaw.
When she started wearing the orthotic, her husband described her recovery as “coming back to life,” and she saw her headache, grinding, and other effects go away.
TMJ Whiplash Injuries
Mindy likely suffered what can be described as a TMJ whiplash injury. The intense deceleration of the elevator brakes was sufficient to crush and rupture discs in her back also impacted the discs and other soft tissue in her jaw.
The jaw hangs by the jaw joints and by the jaw muscles. In a rapid acceleration event like a car accident (or elevator accident), the stresses on the jaw can damage, displace, or strain these tissues. The effects may be immediately evident or they may take months or years to surface, sometimes, as in Mindy’s case, they may be mediated by teeth grinding.
The good news is that if you suffer this type of injury, TMJ treatment can have a dramatic effect on you and your quality of life. As in Mindy’s case, it may only require a simple orthotic that you wear while you sleep, but it can result in complete recovery.
You don’t have to keep suffering with TMJ. To learn more about treatment, please call 610-272-0828 today for an appointment with Philadelphia neuromuscular dentist Dr. Ken Siegel at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.