‘A Bottomless Pit’: How Out-of-Pocket TMJ Costs Drive Patients Into Debt

by | Jul 11, 2024 | Health

Over three decades of relentless pain, Jonna Tallant has tried about every TMJ treatment: mouthguards, six sets of braces, dental crowns and appliances, drugs, physical therapy, Botox, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and surgery.

Nothing has helped. Tallant, 51, of Knoxville, Tennessee, said she lives in agony and cannot eat any food that must be chewed. Despite spending a small fortune on treatment, she can barely open her mouth enough to squeeze in a toothbrush.

Tallant estimates she has paid at least $200,000 for TMJ care. She provided medical records showing more than $60,000 in out-of-pocket spending in just the past decade. She has exhausted her savings and borrowed money, she said, and her family sold a plot of land to help pay the bills.

Tallant will need another jaw surgery later this year, which could cost as much as $75,000. Her insurance is unlikely to pay for any of it, she said.

“It’s a bottomless pit,” Tallant said, choking up, as she leafed through a pile of medical records splayed on her dining table. “It has consumed so much of my life that there is not much left.”

Temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMJ or TMD, cause pain and stiffnes …

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Over three decades of relentless pain, Jonna Tallant has tried about every TMJ treatment: mouthguards, six sets of braces, dental crowns and appliances, drugs, physical therapy, Botox, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and surgery.

Nothing has helped. Tallant, 51, of Knoxville, Tennessee, said she lives in agony and cannot eat any food that must be chewed. Despite spending a small fortune on treatment, she can barely open her mouth enough to squeeze in a toothbrush.

Tallant estimates she has paid at least $200,000 for TMJ care. She provided medical records showing more than $60,000 in out-of-pocket spending in just the past decade. She has exhausted her savings and borrowed money, she said, and her family sold a plot of land to help pay the bills.

Tallant will need another jaw surgery later this year, which could cost as much as $75,000. Her insurance is unlikely to pay for any of it, she said.

“It’s a bottomless pit,” Tallant said, choking up, as she leafed through a pile of medical records splayed on her dining table. “It has consumed so much of my life that there is not much left.”

Temporomandibular joint disorders, known as TMJ or TMD, cause pain and stiffnes …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]

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