Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Facts

Guess I'll start this post by boring you with the facts. Condylar resorption is a rare condition that affects the jaw joints and most commonly starts in adolescence. This is a poorly understood disease process that occurs with a 9:1 female-to-male frequency ratio and rarely develops after the age of 20 years old. They don't fully understand why this happens but I have read and was told that auto-immune diseases are the main contributor, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Also, participating in sports activities which, through minor or major trauma to the jaws, can initiate or make the condition worse. It has also been linked to very high estrogen levels but there is no definitive answer on how or why I have been diagnosed with this. The disease causes the head of the temporomandibular joint to degenerate till there is no joint left in one or both jaw joints in my case and causes headaches, ear pain, and the lower jaw to shift back blocking my airway and making it very difficult to bite down and chew.

This is my horrible profile now. I can't wait to see it after surgery

The oral surgeon that I saw referred me to see Dr. Larry Wolford in Dallas, Texas at Baylor Medical Center. He is one of the very few surgeons in the United States to do this type of surgery and is also within driving distance from us. He has been doing this particular surgery for more years than I am old and have seen so many people with wonderful results that I feel so comforted knowing that I am in good hands.


Well I have really debated over making a series of you tube videos or writing a blog during these challenging months ahead for my family and I.  After realizing that I am not going to be good at videotaping myself talking, I figured the best way to follow my progress for friends, family and others living with this condition is thru a blog. The best and most comforting information I have received is from other people that have this disease that have graciously put themselves out there to give people like me a place to turn to for information and to know what to expect before and after surgery. So, if I can help give back and be able to explain my experiences dealing with multiple doctors, dentists, orthodontists and maxillofacial surgeons to someone that might feel as lost as I was when I got diagnosed then I feel that putting my personal journey out there is worth it in the end.

Lets see I started having problems several years ago, probably sometime in my early twenties. I noticed that my bite felt like it was off more than usual and was harder to eat. Around that time it seemed like I was having trouble breathing thru my nose, sleep and breath only with my mouth open. It is very difficult to breath thru my nose without feeling like I can't catch my breath but didn't think much about it at that time. Within the last two years my bite is so severely off that I can only bite with my very back teeth, my chin has receded so far back that it is pretty much not existent and what finally prompted me to go to the doctor was my headaches that I had been having for about the last year and a half that I wake up with almost every day. I finally put all the pieces together and knew that this is not normal. My doctor referred me to the oral surgeon here in Rogers, AR in August 2012 that also specializes in orthognathic (jaw surgery that moves your lower jaw forward if it is not not in the right position) I was thinking that this is what I probably need to have done to fix the issues I have been dealing with. When he came into the room to see me he pulled up the most recent x-ray that I had my dentist send over and he pulled up an x-ray of another patient to better explain the disease process that is happening in both of my jaw joints. I have never seen a surgeon so speechless describing a condition that is so rarely seen especially when he is one of the best surgeons in this area that actually does jaw surgery I literally was in shock and devastated. I went into his office and at worst I thought he would tell me that I needed to have surgery to correct my lower jaw but I left the office that day in tears with a piece of paper with the words "Idopathic Condylar Resorption" written on it and he told me to research it as much as I could before my appointment with one of the only surgeons in the United States that could actually do surgery to correct the disease process in my jaw joints.