My saga begins at birth, 8-15-1941. World War II had just taken my doctor away. My Mother was left with the old town family doctor who did not believe that an automatic C-Section was the choice of delivery for me as prescribed by my doctor due to a slight case of polio that my Mother had when she was a child, making it difficult for her pelvic bones to expand. As a result, my Mother was in full labor for 5 days, I was finally delivered with forceps, and my saga began. Unlike my 3 years older sister or my 3 years younger brother, my life was quite different. I was the only one with coordination issues, learning difficulties, allergies requiring weekly shots until I left for college, severe eczema, switching of letters, and, ultimately, a narrow upper arch with a lingual bilateral cross bite, an over closed bite, and the maxilla and mandible retruded. I was supposed to have orthodontics, but my sister broke a front tooth requiring a crown so I did not receive the orthodontic treatment I needed. If only I had seen a cranial osteopath at birth, things might have been different.
Significant memories of growing up include being accused of being “stuck up” as I walked around with my nose in the air…little did I know that I was trying to open my posterior airway! Gym class was always a trial and tribulation for me! I hated sports!
Scholastically I achieved, but it came with the cost of hours of homework to get the A’s. On the plus side, I have always been intensely motivated, dedicated, organized, efficient, caring, want the individual to be valued and heard, and have an intense love for God.
When my daughter was born in 1968, I experienced 24 hours of labor and finally had to have a C-Section delivery. The first morning home, I was having breakfast, opened my mouth to put in some scrambled eggs, my jaw locked open and it heralded the beginning of my TMJ pain and issues. The gnathologist that I worked for, Thomas Brown, DDS, began my first full mouth reconstruction, corrected the maxillary cross bite with the crown design and designed my case on the Stuart Instrument with Peter K Thomas cusp-fossae technique. I also discovered myofunctional therapy during this time, realized it was part of my problem, and retrained myself after having studied with Daniel Garliner, SLP at The Institute of Myofunctional Therapy in Coral Gables, FL.
The reconstruction did not seem to solve my problem and my pain actually increased, I became suicidal, but I had a 2-year old daughter to care for (my husband had left me when she was 3 months old) so I had to survive. The other major symptom of the reconstruction/TMD issues was a ringing in my ears (which I have to this day and it is now severe and 24 hours a day).
Fortunately, at that time, two of my myofunctional patients’ lives had been saved by Viola Frymann, DO with cranial osteopathy. I went to meet her to learn about the concept and my life was transformed. Not only did I learn about a form of treatment that would change 100’s of my patient’s lives, but she saved my life. At that time, she was going to present a lecture at USC to Gene Dyer’s Gnathology Study Club about the relationship of the cranial bones to the TMJ. She had never treated a TMJ patient (she only saw children), she discovered my history and took me on as a patient. On the third treatment visit, I was on the table with her hands on my occipital bones. Suddenly, I felt what seemed like two hands moving up the sides of my head (but I could feel her hands cradling my head). When they reached the top of my head, the sound of a cork being released from a Champagne bottle happened inside of my head, and all the pain was gone! My hands fell to my sides off the table and I thought I was dead. I was thanking God for this gift because I had been in pain 24 hours a day for over two years. Suddenly, I felt myself lift my hands and place them on my chest. Oh my God, I was not dead and the pain was gone! It was truly the experience of a lifetime.
She continued to treat me until the presentation, but just before leaving, my dentist did a new reading on the Stuart Instrument. When he tightened down the clutch between my teeth, I could feel the bones in my skull move! I felt tension return in my face and head. From that moment I had a major headache and jaw pain. At the seminar with Dr. Frymann, I had difficulty focusing and continued to be in pain. At noon, she brought me up on the stage, put me on my back, invited anyone up who wished to come, and proceeded to treat me. After a few minutes of working on my head, I suddenly felt the bones shift again, and all the pain was gone! Izzy Imber, DDS, an orthodontist, was standing over my face and he shouted “Oh my God, her face just moved!” After that day, Dr. Frymann told me she wished she had never met me because her phone was ringing off the wall with dentists calling her about all their TMD adult patients in hopes she could help them!
My bite and jaw joints continued to be an issue, however. No one told me that I should have surgery to move the maxilla and mandible forward. Instead, I went through a variety of splints with Gene Dyer, DDS and other clinicians; I had a reaction to many of the materials used in my FMRC and was treated extensively with homeopathic remedies; and through it all, I continued to have to have cranial adjustments to stay sane.
14 years later, I was diagnosed with the Vertox System and did splint therapy with Elliott Green, DDS and did a Myo Monitor evaluation with Wallace Lipp, DDS. Dr. Lipp began a SECOND full mouth reconstruction of crowns and bridgework. My ear ringing continued to worsen. Again, no one diagnosed that I was wearing out my jaw joints and discs and that I needed surgery to advance the maxilla and mandible.
I began to have OSA symptoms with a sleep study diagnosing me as mild to moderate sleep apnea. I was placed on a C-Pap machine. I could not tolerate the various facial masks due to skin sensitivity so I had a Myo Monitor reading done and a J-Pap appliance fabricated. Because this pulled my bite forward, I always awoke with no real bite.
I had been working with William Hang, DDS, MSD for several years with his Biobloc patients, doing myofunctional therapy for them. He reviewed my case taking an I-Cat scan and an x-ray study determining I had a 1.4 posterior airway, no disc on the left with the joint severely modified, and I was wearing out the right disc and joint as well. He sent me to Larry Wolford, DDS in Dallas, TX with an MRI confirming the need for jaw joint replacement and advancement of the maxilla and mandible.
Because of my finances, I could not do the surgery right away. I was in a serious car accident in 2011 that caused more joint damage, leaving me with bone fragments between the joint and the eminentia. I had a broken leg that ended in a knee replacement.
A settlement finally allowed me, in 2014, to have the surgery done with Reza Movahed, DDS in St. Louis, MO. My maxilla was moved 13mm forward and my mandible 14mm forward. I am now a titanium woman with a knee and jaw joints (I am allergic to cobalt).
Unfortunately, the surgery did not affect the ear ringing so that is still a major issue in my life and causing significant hearing loss. Also, unfortunately, I did not end up with a posterior bite; I had a serious condition with damage to my right eye (it was wide open, could not blink, and the lower eye lid drooped…fortunately it healed after a few months); and I had damage to my lips with what looked like a stroke on the right side of my lips and face….most of that has healed also with some residual lip issues; I had blood clots in my lung and right leg, being taken to the hospital 3 days after returning home from St. Louis….fortunately treated with Coumadin; and I ended up in surgery 2 weeks later for cataracts in both eyes!
This began the saga of my THIRD full mouth reconstruction, beginning at the end of 2014, with Kathryn Carson, DDS in Agoura Hills, CA. She found I had two crowns fractured to the root and decay under several of my crowns placed 38 years prior. I ended up losing 3 teeth. With previously missing teeth in bridgework, I have had 5 implants placed. Dr. Carson has changed my teeth to all single type crowns except for a 3 unit bridge on the UL and a 3 unit bridge on the LR. I am thankful, beyond measure, to her, her periodontist Natalie Dianati, DDS, and her lab man’s efforts at Williams Laboratory to safe my mouth.
I do, however, hope this is the end of the saga! However, if you are in need of any reconstructive work, crowns, bridgework, implants, cosmetic dentistry, this is the office to go to. I have worked in dentistry for many years, but I have never found a more up to date office in the equipment they use (no more of those ghastly needles coming at you to numb you!), in their concepts of treatment, in their caring attitude, in their fabulous staff, in their delivery of excellent care, and in their warm, caring environment. I am mentoring Timbrey Lind, RDH in her myofunctional therapy talents in their office also. I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to Westlake Dental Arts.
I am telling you this story because it is so important that a patient’s history begins with their birth history; that birth trauma is taken into consideration; that the baby is diagnosed for the lingual and labial tongue and lip ties; that proper nursing/feeding is accomplished; that Baby-Led-Weaning is done instead of soft baby foods; that cranial osteopathy is accomplished for any birth or childhood trauma; that early orthodontic intervention with the Biobloc treatment method is done between the ages of 6-10 to create big beautiful mouths with proper placement of the maxilla and mandible in the face, allow for ample posterior airway, maximize nasal airway breathing capacity, create plenty of room for the tongue, and develop a correct bite; that how the muscles are being used always be taken into consideration and treated if there is a problem; that dysfunctional habits are treated early; and we grow children who are free of Autism, ADHD, dysfunctional bites and musculature, with good head-neck-body posture, and a much better chance in life.
Adult issues need to be treated more comprehensively also. I see far too many patients that have all sorts of treatments, but the basics have been overlooked. They have frenum issues, they have significant trauma histories, there are failed orthodontic/dental/surgical procedures, they are in pain, their muscle dysfunction has never been addressed, they have habits that are challenging their face, mouth, and body 24/7, and they are depressed because they have not found the answers to their needs.
I wish my story had been different, but, because it wasn’t, I know I have helped many find an easier path; I am here hoping to help other people find answers; to help you see your patients differently and be open to other modalities of treatment; to help mentor those just learning myofunctional therapy; and I truly know I have made a difference.
Dr. Frymann always stated “the potential of the human body is infinite”. If we always believe that, we will help many people.