I had 3.5 hours of dental work at the end of September 2020 which involved the dentist using a retainer to keep my mouth open. The next day I had severe pain in my left jaw, however a return trip to the dentist could not identify the cause for this, there was no infection or tooth damage. The dental work was to the centre of my mouth so it always seemed unlikely that the treatment itself would have been the cause.
The pain in my left jaw was constant and I realised I was unable to open my mouth more than about 15mm, even getting a teaspoon of food in was a challenge. Additionally, I was unable to bite (even a slice of bread) due to severe stabbing pains in my left jaw and was only able to chew very soft food gently and slowly on the right side of my mouth.
After several trips to an osteopath and dentist with no improvement, my osteopath (Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy) suggested that it might be a problem with the discs in my jaw and recommended Mr Cascarini to me. Luckily, I also remembered I had BUPA cover through my work, but honestly I was so miserable at this point I would have gladly paid! I was unable to eat properly and taking ibuprofen or co-codamol on a daily basis for the pain. It may sound trivial to anyone who hasn’t suffered TMJ problems, but it had such an impact on my quality of life having to plan meals, miss out on favourite foods and not being able to even eat a sandwich. Mealtimes with my partner became a very disjointed affair and home cooking became very dull.
Mr Cascarini recommended a bilateral arthroscopy with BMAC to clean out the joints and get the articular discs back in position. This was fully explained and of course I Googled Mr Cascarini’s reviews and also did some research which confirmed that this approach was considered very effective. By this point I had gone through an unhappy Christmas of eating the same soft foods and was thoroughly despondent.
It was hoped that I could be pain free and increase my mouth opening to 30mm or so, I was made aware of the slim chance of some risks (as with all surgery) and was hopeful that I would get some use of my jaw back.
The surgery itself was quick, the hospital was very well equipped, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. I was admitted at 7am, taken down to theatre around 8.30 and was back in my room by 10.30, home for 2pm. I was given intravenous pain relief and pain killers to take home so at no point was I in pain. Mr Cascarini saw me in my room after surgery to explain the work he had done and called me the next morning to make sure everything was OK (it was!) People I spoke to didn’t even notice the stitches until I pointed them out and there was just a small puncture near my hip bone where they had harvested the bone marrow.
The day after my surgery I was in less pain than I had been for the previous 3 months! My mouth opening was improved and although I was still on soft foods while I healed, I could already feel the difference. I had some pain relief for a few days but needed nothing after that.
It is such a relief to have had this treatment! I have no pain and have not needed pain killers since. I am gently starting to bite and chew food with no pain whatsoever. Mr Cascarini gave me an Ora-stretch device and clear instructions on how to exercise and stretch my jaw, which I have followed faithfully, so desperate am I to never go back to my pre-surgery state. I am now (two weeks after surgery) achieving 35mm mouth opening and this is improving (it was 30mm after 1 week).
My advice for patients with similar problems is don’t despair! I honestly couldn’t see a way out of my discomfort, having been to the dentist and osteopath several times and having been in pain for so long. Please see a TMJ specialist (and I cannot praise Mr Cascarini highly enough) and whilst I know there are people with much worse conditions, don’t be fobbed off until you’ve explored all avenues. During the current pandemic I knew (and fully understood) that it wouldn’t be a priority for the NHS so could not see an end to my pain and limitations.
From my very first contact with Mr Cascarini’s office I have received the highest level of care and received detailed information at all stages. I was amazed to be undergoing surgery barely 6 weeks after my initial consultation and delighted with the improvements. Even two weeks post-surgery my life feels very different and I am looking forward to a celebratory Valentine’s Day meal with my partner, something unimaginable a month ago. The surgery itself was brief and recovery quick so there really is no reason to suffer when there are such amazing interventions. I would hate to think of anyone else living day to day with these mood sapping symptoms when there is such an easy solution, I would undergo this surgery again in a heartbeat, although I have every confidence that I will not need to, thanks to Mr Cascarini’s knowledge and skill. Thank you so much.
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