Ruth Ann’s story…
Three years ago while at a luncheon, suddenly I had the most excruciating pain in my jaw and couldn’t even eat. It felt like my jaw collapsed. My jaw felt heavy and tight most of the time.From then on I couldn’t open my mouth all the way. It was so scary, I was afraid to talk and move my mouth. I was unable to bite into anything and had to cut everything into small pieces. Sleeping on my side was also very painful and I was not able to get enough sleep.
I made an appointment with my dentist and the treatment he recommended was not optimal and I felt like I needed a second opinion. I visited my chiropractor and he did several manual adjustments around the area and nothing helped. At the Women’s Lifestyle Expo I stopped by the Rehabilitation Works booth where they had a pamphlet on jaw pain. I was so excited at the thought of getting some relief through them that I immediately made an appointment. After the first visit I got some relief but only for about an hour. I continued going where I received manual therapy, ultra sound, and electrical stimulation. After a few months the therapist and I decided that the treatment was not having the desired effect. The therapist knew of a dentist that treated patients for this kind of jaw pain. She referred me to Robin P Steely DDS, where we began treatment.
There is a dreadful story of how a little disease always leads to a little more. Disease in the mouth is the same – a little bleeding leads to a little more until gum infections claim the teeth, a little decay always leads to a little more, and bite issues always lead to breakdown of the system and system failure. Ruth Ann was no exception.
She found her way to me through a physical therapist that had helped her some.But it wouldn’t last. It wasn’t that the pain was debilitating. It just was nagging in the background and didn’t seem to go away. She had always seen her dentist on a checkup and had her teeth cleaned, but there didn’t seem to be any answers. She had followed his recommendations, cleaned her mouth meticulously and had repaired missing and broken down teeth with crowns, fillings and bridges. These had been done over a period of time as was recommended to her. She had tried to do everything right.
When we sat down together for the first time, I asked her some questions about her pain and how it was affecting her life. We talked about the Dreadful Story of a little disease always leads to a little more. I asked her if she would like to know how she could seek total health and stability in her mouth and live her life pain-free. I asked her if she would like to look younger and be free of constant repairs and dental disease. I showed her that I could not take her disease away from her. I could, however, give her complete control over her mouth and restore health.
This co-discovery process allowed her to make a decision that would impact her life. She decided that using an orthotic full time for a period might just help improve her quality of life.
Using carefully crafted models, a removable orthotic was placed on her upper teeth and carefully adjusted. Wearing it full time, she found that the pain and tenderness in her face disappeared and stayed away. It became her friend, allowing her to live pain and headache free.
As a few weeks passed, we discovered that her jaws had been pulled forward slightly out of their sockets so that she could get her teeth to fit together. The muscles of her face were constantly in tension. The system was failing!
There are 3 areas that allow our jaws to function properly – the joints, the muscles and the teeth. The only place that we can effectively change is the teeth. Wearing her orthotic full time for a period of time allowed her bite to be covered and her jaws to heal and stabilize. It also allowed her to discover how much of her teeth that she had worn off. In other words, she discovered how her mouth affected her entire system.In short, she became pain free.
Next time: From Discovery to Correction.
Dr. Robin P. Steely, DDS, provides exceptional services for Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and surrounding Southwest Michigan communities. Dr. Steely’s passion is Oral Fitness Coaching – partnering with people who wish to transform the quality of their lives and pursue a lifetime of health and wellness. http://www.steelydds.com/