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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board


TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Board Index


Hi,
I feel the same way you do. TMJ is extremely under-researched and underdevelopped. The most recent dentist that I went to told me that he will not be able to cure me but that i will feel a lot better. I think how much better you get depends on what exactly your problem is. The earlier you catch this and the less damage that is done, the easier it will be to make you better. People on this board have posted that with proper treatment a lot of their symptoms are gone -so that has given me hope. I've been suffering from this for 6 years and I have seen that more and more people are becoming familiar with TMJ. My TMJ is a result of trauma - and at first I had really bad earaches and I was on antibiotics for weeks until an ENT told me that it looks like I have TMJ and sent me to a dentist. The dentist just told me to eat soft foods and that was it. Slowly my condition deteriorated more and more. Today, I find that whenever I go to any doctor and I say I have jaw pain - immediately they know it's TMJ and they can list the symptoms I have. So, I do think doctors are becoming more familiar with this. A lot more people are getting diagnosed with it as well. I had never heard of TMJ before and now it has become a very common thing. Many people have the easy case of TMJ - they grind at night and aren't really in pain.

You're definitely taking the correct first step in going to see a TMJ specialist. Hopefully he really is a specialist and not just some dentist who read a pamphlet on TMJ. One thing I have noticed that differentiates the specialists from the regular sentists is the type of forms they have you fill out when you first come. If they give you a couple of pages asking to circle your symptoms and they have a lot of forms on TMJ for you to fill out = GOOD SIGN. If they just have a regular form that has a few lines for you to list your problem = BAD SIGN. A lot of dentists falsely claim to be specialists - you really need to do your research about the doctor. Was he recommended by someone you know? Did you look him up online?

I suffer from really bad headaches as well but my doctor says that with treatment they will be gone. I just had a splint made and I am hoping it will help. TMJ become more complicated if you are suffering from other conditions as well - such as neck or back problems.

Usually during the first visit with a TMJ specialist, he will take x-rays, examine your bite, measure how much you can open your mouth, ask you what symptoms you have, etc. The ones that I have been to have offered to make me a splint withing 2 weeks of my initial visit. During the inital visit the doctor will take impressions of your teeth and if you decide to try the splint, it should be available withing 2 weeks. All they have to do is send the teeth impressions to another place and then the splint gets made and sent back to them. Splint prices vary and insurances sometimes cover it and sometimes don't. Mine cost $1300 and wasn't convered by insurance. X-rays, MRI, and doctor's visits should definitely be covered by insurance. There is no reason for the dentist to refer you to any other type of doctor such as an ENT. If he really is a specialist, he should be able to treat this on his own. The only other people he may recommend you see are physical therapists. The only other doctors that deal with TMJ are oral surgeons - but surgery is not very successful and should only be considered as a last last resort if at all. (many people on this board have gotten worse FROM surgery). Some doctors like to get MRI's done as well, some don't. It really depends on the doctor and his assessment of how serious your situation is. I had an MRI done because an oral surgeon I went to suspected my diss was dislocated and he was right. From my experience and from reading other people's experience, the thing that takes a long time is finding the RIGHT doctor. That is the trickiest part. You need to find someone that is nice, understanding, is willing to answer all of your questions, and seems to really know what he is talking about. You can usually tell by your first impression of the doctor whether or not you trust him or not. It is usually a good idea to get a few opinions before you spend any money. If you haven't had x-rays done, this dentist will probably want them done right away. But if you go to another dentist for a second opinion, you don't need to redo what you already did. Many dentists will suggest you do x-rays in their office ( becasue they want the $$), even if you just had them done the week before. So you just tell them I already had x-rays done and they came out fine. I would suggest shopping around a bit before you decide to go with one doctor. It's really hard to tell if a doctor is good or not if you can't compare him to another one.

I hope I was able to help. Keep asking questions. A lot of people on this board know a LOT.

Take care!

-Stacie





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