5 Best Ways to Choose a TMJ Specialist Near You
By Dr. Brett Silverman | May 3, 2022 | TMJ Treatment
If you’re looking for a TMJ specialist near you to treat nagging jaw pain or you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, you may not need surgery. A TMJ specialist or dentist with advanced training in TMJ therapies can help.
Relying on painkillers to dull your mouth, jaw, head, and neck pain will only mask the underlying problems that actually cause your symptoms. In addition, long-term NSAID use harms the kidneys. If you struggle with TMJ pain, the best treatment path is to correct the root of the problem, which is often one or two improperly-seated TMJ joints.
General dentists with advanced training in TMJ therapies can determine whether your condition qualifies for non-invasive or minimally-invasive treatment. A TMJ dentist who has focused his or her continuing education in TMJ therapies will also know when to refer a patient to an oral surgeon.
At Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, our dentists have studied TMJ disorder and the use of equilibration and/or oral appliance therapy to balance the TMJ system for complete symptom relief.
If you live or work near Alpharetta, GA, schedule a consultation today to talk with Dr. Brett Silverman, or Dr. Darrell Morton about your need for a TMJ specialist. You may also call our office at 678-736-8633.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
The temporomandibular joints connect the lower jawbone, or mandible, to the skull’s temporal bone on both sides of the face. Essential to mouth movement, TMJs assist in everyday tasks such as speaking and chewing. They are strong joints, but when the bones and discs in these joints aren’t correctly aligned, the subsequent pain ranges from aggravating to debilitating.
The side effects of temporomandibular joint disorder flare up when the nerves, ligaments, and muscles surrounding the joints become irritated and inflamed. Pain is typically caused when one or both TMJs experience disc slippage, associated muscle spasms, or trauma.
A common cause of TMJ pain is subconscious teeth grinding, which is a condition known as bruxism. Untreated, bruxism leads to dental wear and breakage, particularly of molars. This then affects the patient’s bite, which further contributes to TMJ disorder. It’s a vicious cycle of deterioration and pain.
Symptoms of TMJ vary based on a patient’s level of stress and biological damage; they include but aren’t limited to:
- Facial pain
- Jaw pain
- Jaw locking
- Jaw stiffness
- Pain when chewing
- Ear pain
- Ringing ears/tinnitus
- Headaches or migraines
- Clicking or popping jaw joints
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Uneven tooth wear, cracks, crazing, and breakage
- Pain in cheeks and/or temples
- Tingling fingers and/or toes
- Loss of strength and/or balance
A TMJ specialist, oral surgeon, or general dentist trained in TMJ therapies can diagnose and treat the underlying cause of these symptoms.
After identifying the root of your TMJ disorder, our TMJ specialist or dentist will review treatment options with you and help you determine the best course of action.
Tips for Choosing a TMJ Specialist
Google is a great resource. A quick search is sure to yield multiple TMJ specialists near you. However, patients may feel overwhelmed having to choose a doctor to treat a condition they only know by its symptoms.
What criteria should a wise patient look for in a good TMJ specialist?
In this blog, we’ll explore 5 best ways to choose a TMJ specialist:
- Evaluate experience and training
- Determine your individual needs
- Learn about common treatment options
- Read patient reviews
- Research nearby TMJ specialists or dentists
With planning and preparation, you can find a respected TMJ doctor to administer treatment that will end your symptoms for good.
1) Evaluate Experience and Training
First, narrow down your list of TMJ specialists by the proximity of their offices to your home, work, or travel route.
Next, schedule an exploratory visit with the doctors, and ask about:
- The diagnostic tools or techniques they use to find the cause of jaw pain
- Their formal education and training in treating TMJ disorder
- Their experience treating cases like yours
- Success stories
- Failure stories
- How long until you should notice results
- Longevity of treatment results
- Re-treatment options
- The importance of patient compliance with therapies
What to Expect
At Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, our compassionate, professional dentists have extensive experience treating patients with TMJ disorder.
At your initial consultation, our dentist will discuss your concerns, answer all of your questions, and manually manipulate your jaw joints to assess their function and form.
2) Determine Your Individual Needs
It is important for our doctor to thoroughly examine your jaw joints and determine the complexity of your case prior to creating a treatment plan. For optimal results, TMJ treatment should be tailored to each patient.
Options for treatment include:
- Rebuilding molars to correct malocclusion (a bad bite)
- Wearing braces to correct malocclusion
- Wearing an oral appliance to (1) stop teeth grinding, (2) retrain muscles to hold the jaw joints in the most comfortable resting position, and (3) allow strained muscles to rest
- Avoiding oral stress, such as chewing on pen caps, gum, and fingernails
- Practicing stress-relieving exercises, like yoga or listening to classical music
- Undergoing surgery
What to Expect
At Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, our TMJ dentist will work one-on-one with you, from the initial meeting, through diagnosis, to creating and completing your uniquely designed treatment plan. We will follow up with you to track progress and answer your questions along the journey.
3) Learn About Treatment Options
TMJ treatment typically involves improving the relationship between the position of the teeth, the muscles of the jaw, and the TMJs themselves. Depending on your situation, some treatments can be done in one phase, while others may take multiple phases.
Familiarize yourself with the TMJ specialist’s most common treatment methods, and ask questions. You should gain insight into what treatment will entail so that you feel confident before officially beginning therapy of any kind.
What to Expect
We often treat jaw pain associated with TMJ disorder by prescribing a custom-fitted mouthguard to wear during sleep. The mouthguard repositions the jaws to prevent teeth grinding, and to retrain the muscles so that they adopt or “memorize” the correct jaw joint position.
Our dentist may prescribe muscle relaxers (in some cases), and we also teach patients specially-designed exercises and therapies that help heal the TMJs and restore optimal health.
4) Read Patient Reviews
Reading reviews and testimonials can be a good source of information. Google makes it difficult to fake a review, so the reviews on Google are usually legitimate.
Read what previous patients think about the TMJ specialists on your short list. You will invariably run across a few people who had negative experiences, so consider the entirety of a doctor’s reviews rather than only a select few.
The more stars a Google Review has, the more favorable the doctor is rated.
If you go to the doctor’s Google Business Profile and click “control + f” on your keyboard, you’ll be able to search for terms. Try “TMJ” and “jaw pain” to identify topic-relevant reviews.
What to Expect
Many Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry patients have posted reviews and testimonials. Take a look for yourself!
Our patients, including those we treated for TMJ disorder, regularly mention our team’s excellent service, as well as the life-changing results of our care.
5) Research TMJ Specialists Near You
All doctors must complete specific training and residency before being awarded a license to practice. That is where the similarities usually end.
Aspects of the patient experience, such as the office’s appearance, atmosphere, and technology, and the team’s attitude, vary from practice to practice.
Find an office where you feel confident, comfortable, and well cared for, and you’ll be more apt to enjoy your treatment experience.
Being in pain, you may feel anxious, irritable, or fearful about seeing a TMJ specialist. If so, visit the doctor’s website to find out how his or her practice helps patients have peace of mind and body. Some offer sedatives; others provide comforting amenities and an attentive, caring chair-side manner.
Also, visit the doctor’s “about us” or “meet the team” page on his or her website (you can find ours here). Additionally, click the follow links to learn more about our dentists:
There, you should learn about the TMJ specialist’s training, philosophy of care, and personality. Again, selecting a practitioner whom you like, and an office where you feel comfortable, are the main goals.
What to Expect
At Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we offer blankets, pillows, and refreshments to help our patients feel welcome and comfy.
We can also administer medications (sedation dentistry) that relieve anxiety and pain. Your comfort is one of our top priorities, so just let us know what we can do for you.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Are you experiencing temporomandibular joint pain? If you need a physician, dentist, or TMJ specialist in Alpharetta, GA, schedule a consultation with Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. Call 678-736-8633 or contact us online today.