Saturday, February 9, 2008

Second and third opinions

I went to two different orthodontists for consultations. The first said my bite was causing my TMJ problems and referred me to a surgeon. The second said there was no scientific proof that poor bites cause TMJ problems and that if I was doing the surgery to fix them, I was doing it for the wrong reason.

Very confused, I decided to go to the consultation with the surgeon and ask him what he thought. When I told him the two opposite opinions of the orthodontists, the surgeon said, "It's a very controversial area." Apparently, there is a lot of debate on this topic in the orthodontic/surgery field. My surgeon's response was that there is evidence that people with overbites have more TMJ problems than other people. But, at the same time, there are people who have these bites who never have any problems.

He also stated that, statistically, 90 per cent of people who have the surgery see their TMJ problems get better or stay the same, while 10 per cent of people's problems get worse. Based on that information, in addition to the conflicting opinions of the two orthodontists, it was up to me to make the decision.

The next day, I called and booked the appointments to have four of my teeth removed to prepare for the braces and surgery. Something in my gut very strongly told me that my bite was causing my problems. That, and I had been reading the stories of others whose TMJ problems were helped by the surgery. Of course, there were some who had more problems as a result of the surgery, but, as the surgeon said, that does happen. Ten per cent is low, but it's still a possibility.

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