Is a full mouth recontruction really necessary for TMJ?

I mentioned to my dentist that I had a headache. He asked if that happened often. When I said yes, he started examining my jaw. He feels I have TMJ and that a full-mouth reconstruction will be necessary to treat it.  The cost quoted to me was astronomical. Is a full mouth reconstruction common for treating TMJ?

Monica- Oregon

Dear Monica,

While headaches are a symptom of TMJ, that alone won’t be a good diagnosis. It doesn’t sound like they took the time to explain why you received the diagnosis.  TMJ is a  disorder of the temporomandibular joint in your jawbone.

Some of the causes can be:

  • Clenching your jaw/Grinding your teeth. This is often a habit people have without realize it. Some only do it in their sleep.
  • Malalignment. When your teeth aren’t lined up properly it can lead to pain, headaches and improper movement of your jaw.

If these things are left untreated, they can do permanent damage to your teeth and/or jawbone.

It seems a little premature to jump into a full mouth reconstruction, especially without adequate explanation of the diagnosis. There are times when that is necessary, but generally when the problem has been ongoing and is pretty severe.

I would be more comfortable is some more conservative treatments were tried first.  Go see  a dentist who’s gotten some specialized training in TMJ.  Look at Dr. Burba’s TMJ qualifications to get some idea of what you are looking for in a TMJ dentist.

The reason I say this is because a full mouth reconstruction is a complicated procedure. A lot can go wrong, causing you to be in pain for the rest of your life if it is not done properly. You want to be sure the person doing it is extrememly qualified.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.



Don’t want the problems of dentures

I am losing my teeth. I don’t want the problems of dentures, but I can’t afford dental implants. What do you suggest? Am I just stuck?

Delores D. – Milwaukee


You’re in a tough spot, but there is a decent solution.  You could get snap on dentures.  When you’re losing your teeth, you’ll want a full set of implants, but if you can’t do that you can get as few as two implants placed onto the snap on dentures. It will keep them in place and solve many of the problems that come wtih dentures.

Dental implants are still the best option. If you decide you’ll still want implants, they’ll be possible in the future.  This will give you some of the time you need to save up for them.  Or, you may decide the snap on dentures are perfectly satisfactory and stick with them.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic dentist Dr. Randall Burba.