Letters From Our TMJ, Head, Neck & Facial Pain Patients

Dr. Simon,

I am writing this letter to let you know how pleased I am with the incredible job you’ve done on my mouth.

Prior to the time I came to you I was in a great deal of pain due to the TMJ problem. I was having lots of headaches and lots of soreness in my jaw joints accompanied by a loud clicking noise, and no one really knew what to do. I’ve been to many dentists that gave me advice on what to do for the pain, such as massaging my jaw muscles, applying heart, and doing away with anything chewy, but none of them knew how to correct it once and for all. They even suggested trying a mouth piece to keep my jaw in place while I was sleeping.

Since there was no one I knew who specialized in TMJ, I was at a loss, so I dealt with the pain for many years, along with the help of some Advil.

I noticed that the TMJ started about six years ago when I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. When I went back to the doctor for a check-up, I told her all of my symptoms and she told me it was normal and my jaw would revert back to its normal way after I healed up a little more. My jaw never got any better, it only got progressively worse.

Thanks to coming to you my headaches, tightness of the jaw, and everything that went along with the TMJ, has totally gone away. I am completely amazed at how well the whole procedure went. It was painless and only took a few short visits.

Now I can live without depending on that bottle of Advil every day, and go on living pain free.

Thanks again,
Erica Kellogg

My name is Donna Bradley and I am a patient of Dr. Simon for sometime. I was having bad headaches and migraines. And for the life of me. I could not figure out. what was wrong. And one day when I could not stand the pain and the migraines and headaches Any longer. I called Dr. Simon D.D.S. And to my surprise, He took some x rays. And told me that I have what they call Temporomandibular joint problem. And since then no more migraines, or headaches. And my bite is much better.

Thanks Dr. Simon, D.D.S.
Donna Bradley

Dr. Jerome Simon:

For a number of years, I have been clenching my jaw during my sleep and often wake up with a tightness after doing so. I have been doing it for so long and ignoring it that I actually cracked a molar from the force of my clenching which lost me part of a tooth and earned me a big dental bill for a crown. I have also suffered from neck and shoulder pain that I dealt with through exercise and massage therapy but that regimen never successfully eliminated the problem, it just eased it somewhat. Lastly, I often awakened from a night’s sleep with a headache.

After seeking your professional advice, you informed and educated me about the signs and symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. My symptoms sounded pretty classic and you recommended a course of treatment which consisted of grinding down small areas of the biting surfaces of my teeth, to adjust my bite to eliminate the night clenching and associated symptoms. While I did wonder about the efficacy of this method since it sounded so easy and I was somewhat doubtful, I decided to try it since it sounded plausible and nothing else had worked to date. My previous dentist made me a plastic device to wear at night so that I would not crack any more teeth but the tension in my jaw remained and I clenched with regularity with the plastic device in my mouth. That is also when I traded in my old dentist and sought your help.

After some 8 to I0 bite adjustments, I can truly and honestly say that I clench very rarely, if ever. My neck and shoulder tension has dissipated and I feel a lot better. It is a relief to me and I thank you for your pioneering work in the field. I am sure that my symptoms would not have disappeared without your treatment and I am glad that I found you!

Sincerely,
Mady Goldstein

Dear Dr. Simon:

I just wanted to tell you how happy I am that I decided to through with the TMJ. The neck pain that I had been suffering for years has completely disappeared, thanks to have my bite adjusted. I was fortunate enough to have the sense to follow your sound advice, and that of my friends and family who also recommended the procedure from their own experiences.

Also, I’d like to thank you and your entire staff for the wonderful care and attention that is always provided. I can’t say that a trip to the dentist’s office is one of the greater joys in my life, but you all certainly put me at my ease.

Happy holidays to one and all.

Sincerely,
Sharon Sterling

Dear Dr. Simon,

Before I came to your office as a new patient, I had been experiencing many years of headache and what I thought “sinus pressure”

You explained to me that my “bite situation” was most possibly the cause for my headache.

Already during and after I underwent “bite correction” gradually I had less and less headache

Today I want to thank you, Dr. Simon, for having me freed of this terrible headache and wishing you and your staff a world of special reasons for happiness each season of the year.

Yours,
Libylle Wagner

Dear Dr. Simon:

I have been a patient of yours since the early I980’s. Before moving to Stamford, CT, I lived In California and had a roommate who was a dentist. From him I knew of TMJ syndrome, but was never aware that I suffered from any of the symptoms.

After about a seven year hiatus from regular dental care In the late I980’s and early I990’s, I returned to your office, Initially for some emergency work and to get back on a regular dental care schedule. It was at that time you noticed that I was experiencing some uneven wear on my teeth, particularly where crowns were coming into contact with my own teeth. You also asked if I was grinding my teeth at night, which I was.

It was at this time that you suggested that I undergo a bite alignment procedure. While I was reluctant at the time, I did sign up for the procedure. After a series of short appointments to adjust and correctly align my bite, I must admit that I was rather amazed with the results. I have stopped grinding my teeth at night, and the uneven wear of my teeth as stopped.

As I said, I never knew that I suffered from TMJ. I owe you a great deal of thanks for your diligence and knowledge to catch this problem early, and to recommend the appropriate treatment. Now I can lock forward to having “my teeth” for many more years to come.

George E. Bate

Dear Dr. Simon,

I have had headaches everyday for at least 25 years. I went to my regular doctor and he said it was headaches caused by tension and stress. This went on for years.

I then received a flyer from your office and since my front bottom teeth were sensitive, I decided to make an appointment. You noticed that I grinded my teeth and we talked about adjusting my bite. At first I didn’t believe that this could be the cause of my headaches. You put together a little plastic device to put in my mouth to show me. After 4 or so visits the headaches started to go away.

Recently, I have gone two weeks without a single headache.

Sincerely,
Anna Dellicarpini

Dear Dr. Simon:

At last I am responding to your request for a letter describing my experiences with the TMJ treatment you’ve administered over the past several months. I am happy to do so – I have been so well cared for by you and your entire staff it’s the least I can do.

I originally consulted you for assistance in completing a dental implant procedure that began while I lived in the UK, inconveniently interrupted by my transfer back to the US. This implant was to replace a tooth that cracked so deeply that extraction was required – the third time I’d lost a tooth for this reason. In addition to extractions I’ve had numerous crowns and root canal treatments due to these and other severe tooth fractures.

It is difficult to describe the scope of my investment in time, money and frustration. My teeth were so sensitive and painful that there were days that it hurt to chew bread! Additionally there were all the symptoms I now know were related – tight and stiff jaw muscles, chronic morning headaches and sinus pressure and my favorite – chronic pain in my right ear. I thought it was somewhat normal to take ibuprofen at least once per day.

Since my early twenties (I’m forty) I’ve sought a permanent solution. I’ve visited numerous dentists and was told repeatedly that there is no solution. Simultaneously, I sought periodic help from physicians for headaches, facial pain and chronic earaches.

Dentists repeatedly told me that my teeth were hard and virtually cavity-free. They all said my bite was fine thanks to orthodontics. However, since I’d clenched my teeth since childhood I had and would continue to produce serious, irreparable damage. I was given a variety of dental splints – which provided some relief provided I wore them while sleeping and during the day. This was inconvenient – the appliances are unattractive and impair normal speech. Although I could identify years in advance those teeth that were going to crack or require root canal treatment, I was advised that there was only one solution: to reduce the stress in my life, since the assumption was that this caused the clenching. I was usually told to consider psychological help.

A couple of dentists diagnosed the problem as TMJ – most discussed the limited options, among them surgery, which was considered by all of us as too aggressive and risky, and physical therapy to relax the shoulder and neck muscles. This was expensive and ineffective.

Doctors said my headaches, facial pain and earaches were most likely stress related. Of course, psychological counseling was advised. Some doctors said the headaches were either cluster or muscular tension headaches and the facial pain was probably chronic sinusitis. And, although I was convinced I had a chronic ear infection, (proof that 1 made a sound career choice not to go into medicine) doctors could not explain its persistence.

As an active and healthy female the situation was exasperating. In addition to the symptoms, I began to doubt myself and wonder if the problems were indeed psychological. While my life had its share of stress, I didn’t feel incapable of managing it in normal and healthy ways such as exercise. I stopped going to doctors for awhile, regardless of the illness, dreading the “stress” diagnosis. Were it not for 6-month check-ups and the never-ending cracked teeth, crowns and root canals, I would have probably stopped visiting dentists as well. It

Fortunately I ended up in your office last year. For the first time in years, I go months without a headache and my mysterious earaches have completely disappeared. The teeth and jaw pain still surface, though usually with less frequency or intensity, and a few visits provide respite.

I was very skeptical when I first began the treatment, but would heartily recommend it to anyone with similar symptoms. While people with my temperament need to commit initially to frequent visits for several months, the outcome is worth the effort. I’m sure many people are like my husband, whose problem and pain was worse than mine and who has had almost complete relief for almost a year, without any signs of change.

I apologize for the lateness of my letter, and thanks again for your support for the past year.

Sincerely,
Judith Roberts

Dear Dr. Simon,

This past March I returned to Dental Care after a five-year hiatus. Everyone from the technicians to the office staff to you, asked the obvious question…where had I been?

Six years ago I was diagnosed with fibromnyalgia. I had been suffering with pervasive pain for several years prior to this, but had been able to manage the discomfort via various alternative therapies. Everything I tried helped for a time but eventually, the pain would return. As time went on, the period of relief became short, the duration and intensity of pain, greater. Slowly but surely, my world became smaller and smaller as I had to eliminate activities due to the severity of the pain. Unfortunately for my mouth, dental care was among those things eliminated. The pain was too great for me too even entertain the idea of holding my mouth open, and my head back, for any length of time.

Eventually, the pain became so debilitating that I could only drive on ‘good’ days, could only work very part time, had a very limited social life, and had even eliminated going to the beauty parlor! My lift centered on the pain and marching for answers to its cause. Finally, I discovered a medical practice that offered a comprehensive approach to my pain. They were less interested in labeling it and more interested in addressing it from a multidimensional perspective.

Consequently, the pain became more manageable again. I slowly began to prioritize and reintroduce normal activities into my daily schedule. I was far from being pain free, but I knew I could go to physical therapy and then feel well enough for a few hours to take a chance on returning to regular dental care.

After hearing my story, you said you remember us discussing my pain when I was last in, over five years ago. Apparently, you mentioned the possibility of TMJ having a role in my situation, although I don’t recall this. (I became aware many years ago that I was so enmeshed in pain that I missed many things said to, or
simply didn’t process what was said.) You suggested that we incorporate TMJ treatment into my dental treatment plan. Thirty seconds with the Discluder convinced me this was a legitimate approach.

I have since had five TMJ treatments. While the previously mentioned comprehensive treatment plan had brought me back to being able to manage the pain and, consequently, life, I had reached a plateau. While I was so happy to be able to reintroduce long avoided activities into my life, I was also resigned to always living with some degree of pain. After my first treatment I thought I felt better but really believed it was the placebo effect. After the second treatment, I began to realize I had moved beyond the plateau but thought the new exercises introduced into my physical therapy treatment were at least as responsible as the TMJ treatment.

Suddenly, I was so busy that I had to cut my physical therapy appointments back from three to two appointments weekly. Yet, after my third TMJ treatment, I felt so great I made an appointment to have my hair permed.. This appointment necessitated three hours in the chair to address the hair negligence of the past few years. When I left the beauty parlor, I was able to continue on with a full schedule for the remainder of the day. Previously, if I had a good day and introduced a new activity, it would be all I could do for the day. By the end of each new activity, I would find the pain creeping back. If I didn’t address it immediately, it would consume me, setting me back significantly. Now I cautiously approached each item on my schedule, prepared to abandon it and go home at any point. That point never came.

As I entered into my forth TMJ treatment I still had waves of severe, sharp pain two or three times a day with an ever present dull pain and tightness the rest of the day. Since the forth treatment, I have been so busy that I have gone an entire week without any physical therapy. My schedule is full, and I have had two more hair appointments (lots of repair work!). My jaw pain is gone, my neck pain minimum. The fibromnyalgia trigger points are still sensitive, but only when touched. I have not had shooting pains in my neck and back since the last treatment! My stamina has increased significantly. When I am tired, it is with legitimate reason because I have had a full day. I am no longer fatigued into a catatonic state!

This letter may seem premature, as we have not yet completed the full course of TMJ treatments. However, if things continue to progress at the same rate as they have been, I anticipate being so busy it may be difficult to find the free time to sit and write! I have a great deal of living to catch up on!

I thank you for getting your message through to me this time; for your gentle approach; for your expertise and for the swiftness with which you addressed my situation.

With Gratitude,
Recina Cashman-Janowski

I am writing to you in regards to the TMJ condition that you had diagnosed me with. I was very skeptical about the procedure and the outcome that you assured me that would happen. I have always been troubled with headaches. I associated them with my sinus problems. You were quite confident that my headaches were caused by TMJ.

Well, I went along with your recommendations for solving the problem and much to my amazement…… it worked. I very seldom have headaches anymore. I’m sure Tylenol’s stock went down considerably after my treatments were finished.

I just wanted to let you know that I am a very satisfied patient.

Thank you again,
Linda Calyanis

Dear Dr. Simon,

It was the summer before my senior year of college and I was at home trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. As one can imagine that can be, and was for me, an enormously stressful time. In so many ways it should be exciting because at the age of twenty you have the world at your finger tips and yet I wasn’t able to see the possibilities. All I could see is a huge world which I couldn’t figure out where I fit in. Trying to figure out whether I wanted to go to graduate school or not and if did what I did I want to study consumed my every thought night and day.

One afternoon as I was sitting on the couch looking at graduate school catalogs my head began pounding. I never in my life had more then a minor headache so when my head started to throb I immediately panicked. I called a friend who lived around the corner and asked her to drive me to my family doctor because I was afraid to drive. My head hurt so much I could hardly see straight. I couldn’t imagine what could have brought on such a sudden headache.

When I got to the doctor he gave me a regular once over, checked my ears, eyes and listened to my heart. His final conclusion was that I had a migraine headache and that there wasn’t too much that could be done about it. He explained they they probably wouldn’t happen too often and that i should take Extra-Strength Tylenol when it does happen. As my friend drove me home from the doctor that day I wondered how I could ever survive if I continued getting these headaches. Could I end up like people who can’t work because they have such severe migraines?

For the next week I continue to get these headaches, it felt like someone was pounding on my head. I even left work early one day because I couldn’t bear the noise in the room and looking at my computer. The next day I was talking to a friend of mine and when I told her what had been going on she suggested to me that I might have TMJ. She said that a year before she had been having headaches and neck problems and didn’t know what it was from. She had gone to a chiropractor for six months before she told her dentist about the situation and he said he wanted to check her jaw because it might be related to her bite. She thought that, that might be a problem as well and suggested that I go see her dentist.

I have to admit that at first I didn’t believe my friend. I figured that if my doctor didn’t tell me about TMJ then it couldn’t be the cause of my headaches. I soon learned that even doctors don’t know everything because as the headaches continued and increased in frequency I became more desperate and decided to visit my friends dentist. Since then I have not had a single headache like those of that awful summer. Through just a handful of visits to my doctor when he adjusted my bite my headache problem was solved. Now whenever I hear someone say they are experiencing severe headaches I tell them to consider that it may not be their head at all, it may be caused by their jaw and grinding their teeth due to an uneven bite.

Tina Sims

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