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

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Jonna Tallant of Knoxville, Tennessee, has spent over $200,000 on unsuccessful treatments for her temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Despite the debilitating pain and financial strain, Tallant, like many TMJ patients, struggles with inadequate insurance coverage for treatments. The lack of coverage leads patients to pay high out-of-pocket costs, often for treatments that are not recommended by experts. Many patients resort to surgery, which is often the only treatment option covered by insurance plans, despite the availability of more conservative and effective treatment options provided by orofacial pain specialists. Limited insurance coverage for orofacial pain specialists contributes to the ongoing challenges of TMJ care in the United States.

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