JJ is no stranger to jaw problems. As a child, she began experiencing severe jaw pain that would often lead to migraine headaches. Other jaw problems developed throughout her teen years, including a clicking and catching sound when she was eating or talking. “The first time my jaw dislocated and got stuck, I was so scared and didn’t know what to do,” remembers JJ. “That was the beginning of a six-year orthodontic treatment journey that we always knew would end with a need for jaw surgery.”
While JJ was a social child, she says she always felt a little awkward. “I had some close friends that I felt comfortable with, but even with them, I would decline invitations to events that involved a meal,” JJ explains. “I had to really maneuver my jaw to chew food and it made me feel very self-conscious. I always felt like I looked “off” and I hated being in pictures. Kids in high school called me lots of terrible nicknames and it really destroyed my self-esteem.”
Though her parents were supportive, JJ says she had to wait until she was an adult to get her jaw surgery. “When I turned 18, I told my parents that this was something I really wanted to do, and now that I was old enough to help out financially, I was going to make it happen. I spent a year writing letters to my insurance company trying to get coverage, but they declined. I was worried about the cost and almost gave up. Then, through my research, I found Dr. Nordstrom and Alaska Center for Oral + Facial Surgery. I felt like he was my one last hope so I booked an appointment. I was really nervous when I first went in, but the staff were all so friendly and then I met Dr. Nordstrom – he told a few jokes and I was instantly at ease. I really liked everyone after that first meeting, but I had no idea how much I would love them by the end of this journey,” JJ says.
“My biggest concern was the cost. In all my research and two other consultations, I just knew it was going to be super-expensive. I explained my financial situation to the Alaska Center for Oral + Facial Surgery staff and they instantly began developing a payment plan I could handle. But, the absolute best part was that the jaw surgery cost was only one quarter of what I was expecting! I was also able to have my procedure done at their outpatient surgery center, and that was a big cost-savings as well,” shares JJ. “I am very grateful for the assistance on this aspect.”
“After my surgery, I had to sleep sitting up for six weeks. Honestly, that was the worst part. My pain was well managed and I received excellent care from Dr. Nordstrom and his staff. If I needed anything, they were there for me right away,” recalls JJ.
Life now is “pretty great” according to JJ. “I smile so much more and love my new appearance. My lips are much fuller and my mom jokes I got Botox! I am confident, happy, and I don’t have to worry about my jaw clicking or hurting. I now love making new friends and am more likely to approach people. My speech has improved – family have commented that I pronounce things more clearly,” JJ says. “Even my parents, who were hesitant about this surgery, are going around recommending Dr. Nordstrom to anyone who will listen. We are all so happy with the results!”
According to JJ, if a person is considering jaw surgery, s/he should definitely reach out to Alaska Center for Oral + Facial Surgery. She says, “It’s OK to be scared, it is a big deal, but you’re in great hands with Dr. Nordstrom and the staff. From day one I felt very comfortable there, and they all do great work. They will help you set aside the financial stress so you can focus on your procedure and getting better. Afterwards, you’re going to feel like a million bucks!”