I was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease 4 years ago, with my left condyle having worn through the posterior attachment tissues and now in direct contact with the fossa. In addition, it was reported to me that my disk had become irrecoverable and a replacement requiring a piece of my ear cartilage would be necessary with surgical intervention. I had recently experienced a Tonsillectomy at age 19, and was still recovering. This had been my main decision to postpone the surgery as well as the inconclusive 50/50 results of recurrence. In short I was scared, and to this day regret that decision. Following I had many life changes including moving out, getting a job and my own insurance. My condition at first was manageable, but since has worsened greatly over the years. Now I am plagued with the following symptoms:
Incredibly restricted speech and range off jaw movement
Loss of hearing
Intense orbital pain
Gaze evoked tinnitus
Consistent chronic pain
Some other possibly urelated symptoms are diminishing smell and taste capabilities.
I am worried possible damage to my external/internal acoustic meatus that houses the Vestibulocochlear and Facial Nerve have caused some of these symptoms. In addition to the pain, my diet has become soft and liquid foods only, and my range of ability to complete the most common tasks of everyday life, ranging to my ability to perform at work, have become greatly limited. I have taken up Yoga as a stress reducer and pain management, and generally resort to using a variation of 400-800 mg of Ibuprofen in response to pain/inflammation.
My one goal in life right now is working towards relief of the source to alleviate the physical and psychological damage accumulated, however, my insurance company has dismissed all coverage to TMJ. I understand most insurance companies do not cover TMJ/TMD and consistent rebuttal is it is Dental and not Medical. I live in Oregon, which has not created any additional state laws to restrict insurance companies from doing this.
The process of having surgical management approved requires extensive non-surgical management to be used first to assess the issue. This includes:
Reversible Intra-Oral Appliances
Relaxation Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Acupuncture, Dry Needling and Trigger Point Injections
If I understand my insurance providers coverage correctly, none of these would be covered as well with its relation to the Tempromandibular Joint.
Could Non-surgical management help me with my current situation and if not, is there any advice anyone can give me in fighting this?