My name is Kim Conroy. I am 53 years old and have lived in Jacksonville for the past 2.5 years. I am married with two adult sons.
My journey to find Admira Dentistry took me over three years of endless doctors' visits in New York and Florida to find the root cause of a constellation of symptoms like intense orofacial pain, incessant vertigo, drooling, speech and swallowing difficulties, sinus infections, and ear pain. The pain was so intense that I was unable to sleep. I could not eat without frequent choking on food or water. My voice became hoarse after talking to guests which impacted my ability to work as a nurse practitioner. My face changed; my smile disappeared and I did not recognize myself in the mirror.
Numerous medical specialists assured me these symptoms were benign and encouraged me to subscribe to “mind over matter” or, better yet, try another drug to dull the pain. I had a medicine cabinet full of needless antibiotics, antidepressants, nasal spray, oral rinse, and ear drops. Each specialist was quick to speculate a diagnosis and sent me on my way to continue suffering. I went to PT, speech therapy, and underwent numerous types of medical imaging that I now know I did not need. These treatments left me with little hope of any quality of life, not to mention thousands of dollars in medical bills. Once very social and outgoing, I started to withdraw from seeing friends and exercising. I was exhausted and gained 25 pounds, and I no longer could be the wife and mother I desired.
I felt so misunderstood and dismissed that on more than one occasion felt ending my life was the only reasonable option to ease my pain. My PCP suggested I see Dr. Barton and I was very skeptical of yet another practitioner telling me there was nothing wrong with me. My first experience with Rhonda on the phone was refreshingly different. I cried telling her how much I was suffering in pain and she assured me I could be helped.
Dr. Barton took so much time at my consultation to explain my symptoms could possibly be related to jaw misalignment and told me he would take the time needed to diagnose my problem so he could offer me a solution. He took scans, measurements, and impressions and ultimately deduced I have TMJ and was able to link all the debilitating symptoms to a medical condition, and most importantly, offered me hope. Once he placed my temporary orthotic, I felt real relief from three years of incessant pain. We worked on posture, yoga, deep breathing, and periodic TENS. With less pain, I was able to be cycling again and lost all the weight I gained. I then started myofunctional therapy to strengthen my tongue and the floor of my mouth and have fewer voice and swallowing issues which increased my confidence more.
My treatment has not been easy, with some setbacks, but I was supported every step of the way by Dr. Barton and his wonderful team. As I head into my permanent restorative phase, I am looking forward to a future with optimism that my better days are truly ahead, because of Admira Dentistry.