miwitch (miwitch) wrote,

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I had..... Temporomandibular Joint Disorders & my experience to Raffles Dental

On Tuesday (3 Aug) morning, I woke up and yawn... Found out that my mouth couldn't open wide! Immediately I know what was the problem...

About 5 years back my right face was slammed against a shelving when I had too much fun playing around. My jaw became a little loose since then. When I open my jaw widely, it has clicking sound. Once in a bluemoon, my jaw couldn't open but its only for a few minutes and then my jaw will align back to the right position again.
On and off I am experiencing this but I told noone except my loved ones.

So I tried to move my jaw up and down left and right and just couldn't get the alignment back. I couldn't brush my teeth, eat & bite well because my mouth could only open half wide.

On Wednesday, when I woke up hoping that miracles will happen to me, but it didn't.. (I know I sound silly saying that.. =_=)
So I took MC by going to the nearby dentist as I know GP doesn't deal with such cases (I knew it ever since young when my Mum told me about her friend's jaw being dislocated which she went to GP but they do not know the structure of a jawbone, so she ended up going to dentist). Indeed the dentist knows what to do with a lock jaw, but this Dr doesn't know what is wrong with my jaw!
He mention that a lock jaw is whereby the jaw totally got misaligned and it will never close. Whereelse my case is that I can still open and close my mouth but it doesn't open fully.
He recommended me to see a specialist located at Raffles Hospital.

The first thing that cross my mind is "$$$$$ flys away~" as it's definitely very ex to be treated in Raffles Hospital. I ended up paying $20 just for a MC for Wednesday. Pathetic.. =_= But $10 out of total is claimable from my company.

On Thursday I went to google and find other dentists and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons numbers. I called Changi Hospital & Alexandra Hospital and their appointment dates are like 16 Aug or Sept! *Dies*
Hence, I have no other choice but to call Raffles to book appointment under Dr Adrain Yap. Immediately I got a slot on Friday morning 9.45am. I was thinking 'Surely this Dr must have charged very high hence his slots are mostly empty.. keke..'

This morning (Friday) I went down to Raffles Hospital Level 13 Dental department. I was the 2nd person in queue. Very quick, I was sent into a X-Ray room to take X-ray of my jaw.

The nurse put on a very heavy apron thingy onto my shoulders and ask me to stand under a machine with a revolving head.

(Similar machine to: )

Standing up, my chin rest on a small cushion, teeth biting onto a stick wrapped with plastic (smells so plastic! Bleh!), hands holding onto 2 handles like I'm driving an airplane. I felt so alien standing there doing the pose with that heavy apron/jacket!. The nurse went out of the room and the machine started to count down with a nice lady robotic voice. It told me to close my eyes and the revolving head started to give out a... revolving sound. You know, like those in the movie where they have high-tech scanning facility and stuffs..

Images of a naked human lying on a bed going through a round tunnel with red laser scanning onto him flashes through my mind.. hahax~
After the revolving head stopped turning, the nurse came in and I'm called into the 2nd room where I met PROFESSOR Adrian Yap. (I think he had upgraded from DR. eh?)

He was very professional, but he sound more like a mental health counselor than a Surgeon or TMJ Consultant... to me. hahax~ He kept repeatedly saying "Welcome Home" and I was like... Home? o_O
I guess its just his trick to get his patients relax and don't get too freaked out when he tell them the truth about their jaw problems.
I told him my side of story about how I think I got this jaw problem (known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder "TMJ Disorder") and then he told me his side of story on how the jaw and muscles are connected and why I often have headache and ear ringing sounds.. NOW i know why!!!
You can read more here: http://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/ImgCont/884/solution-to-a-jaw-problem.pdf (the man in the pic is Prof. Adrain)
& here: http://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/dental/our-services/headache-treatment.aspx

Picture in here (http://catalog.nucleusinc.com/enlargeexhibit.php?ID=2441) shows how the muscles and the jaw are connected. If you have jaw problems, the pain will go to the muscles around the jaw and then lead to the side of the heads (where your side temples are). I think that is why the reason my side temples are always hurting!
When you clench your teeth, you will feel the muscles moving infront of your ears and on side temples. Both of these are connected together & are also the places where you often massage to relax the muscles.
This page clearly shows how the disk at the jaw joint works (http://www.chiro.org/rc_schafer/Monograph_13.shtml) When Prof. Adrain show me a similar pic to this, I can feel my heart racing.. I always knew how important the disks are to us but I didn't know the jaw disk is so easily damaged as like the kneecaps and the spine. But thinking back, our jaw is one of the most frequently used joint in our body, so it is logical that the first disk to spoil should be the jaw's.
I can don't walk and don't stand, but I cannot live without opening my jaw to eat my food! *DARN it...*

But yet again, this might also become an opportunity for me not to eat too much hard, fried food and slim down... (trying to think positively.. =_=" sigh~)

He break down a TO DO list for me on the spot:
1st, fix my jaw back (no charges he said).
2nd, mould out a bite splint now, as he said I have no other choices already. If I don't do it now, I will have to go for surgery in future when problem arises again. Told me the splint cost $700 ever since 15 years back till today never change. (I was like OMG $700!!!!!!~~~ >0<~~ Splint pic: http://www.frankjdimaurodmd.com/services/tmj_therapy.html)
3rd, wear the splint every night for the rest of my life (the words "for the rest of my life~~~life~~~life~~~life~~~" echoed in my ears again & again... *dances to 2pm song*)
4th, try anyways to relax my muscles, not to clench my teeth, take soft foods etc
5th, in future when jaw is ok, I should consider to remove my wisdom tooth.. (Ha. ha.. h... ^v^"")

He also mentioned that if my stress level is very high at my workplace, its better to think of changing my job. OTL||| I want to cry already I tell u! ~:>,<:~
And most importantly, I must get enough sleep because lesser sleep increases stress to muscles and that will lead too all kinds of problems, not only the jaw.. Ok, I admit that I really sleep too little. I will TRY... my.... best.... *twitch*

He then started moulding the splint by putting in metal plates filled with blue gluey-rubber-plastic thingy into my mouth. To both upper and lower jaw.

Lastly, he's going to perform magical trick with my jaw.. He sprayed something super icy cold water on my right jaw and it HURTS! Its like slicing my skin with sharp pointed ice....sticks! I think that is suppose to numb the jaw but it felt more like trying to distract my feel while he grab on my upper teeth with his left fingers and his right fingers on my bottom teeth and PULL!
.... And that's it.
I went "HUH?" (I only know he pulled my lower jaw outwards but there wasn't any feeling or sound at all!)
He said, "does it hurt?"
I said "Nope.. no feeling..." But my right cheeks still hurts a little from that spray.
I tried opening my jaw, he took a ruler to measure the distance from upper to lower teeth and said, "see now its wider". However I can still feel the pain when I open too wide and wasn't able to open fully like I used to. I asked him why.
He said "You don't expect a sprained ankle to heal on the day it gets treatment, right?"
Okkk... i totally understand but I just had to always hope for miracles to happen when I go through any treatments (just like when I go for a facial, I hope my skin turns out radiant and flawless when I see the mirror but its not. ~=_=~ yah, go ahead and laugh at me..)

He assured me that my mouth can open wider now, I just had to give it some time.. He showed me other patient's X-rays and said that my case is better than theirs because some of them totally had no more disk and their lower jaw was slanted sideways! SCARY! He said most of these patients are very young, one who is 31 yrs old female already had slanted jaw.. OMG... *heart pounding* (i did remember clearly seeing some people who have slanted jaw issues but I always tot they are born to be like that!)
The splint given to me is for lifetime. So $700 divides a lifetime isn't that bad really, unless I bite too hard and break it, he said. (Ha..ha..h... ^v^")
It won't give cure but it help to prevent the disk from slipping again, provided that I do my self-care for TMJ everyday.

The experience was superb with Prof. Adrian and I also got a berry wonderful bill that cost $920.20!
No way I can claim from insurance after I called my agent and Raffles hospital doesn't allow deduction from Medisave as its not a surgery. DARN! I just had to ask my company to check what's the max amount i can claim from the total bill.. Gahh....
Anyways I paid half the sum and the other half of the bill I shall pay it up after I got my salary.

When I always try to save money for certain purposes, I ended up using it up for emergencies. What is going on with my life!! ~\(>0<)/~ *stretches hands up to the sky*
Humans always tend to blame the god instead of themselves when it comes to this. =_= Pathetic...

I was scheduled a follow-up appointment on the 18th August to collect the splint, exactly a day after the Hair colour seminar. Without the splint, I'd to survive another 1 & half week.. I hope my jaw won't jam up again before that!
Talking about beauty, jaw is also one of its aspects!

*stucks mouth full of cotton pads & goes to sleep*
Tags: dentist, disorder, doctor, hospital, jaw, tmj

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