Tag Archives: Boston TMJ dentist

Does TMJ Require Surgery?

I’ve been having jaw pain. I did some research to find out what it could be and all the online articles point to TMJ. They also say it can require surgery to fix. I’m only 25 but am completely on my own financially. I don’t think there is any way I can afford surgery. Are there other options? Can they give you a med that allows you time to save up for surgery?

Melissa

Dear Melissa,

Chart of TMJ and Neuromuscular Dentistry

We’re jumping the gun here a bit. The first thing you’d want to do is see a dentist to see if you are suffering from TMJ Disorder. Even if you are, surgery isn’t generally the first go to. Your TMJ Dentist will look for the cause of the TMJ pain first, before outlining any treatment plan.

As you can see from the chart above, there are many reasons why you could be in pain. Sometimes it is something other than the joint itself. For instance, your bite could be out of alignment and starting to wear down the temporomandibular joint.

If that’s the case, your dentist will decide if you need a temporary orthotic to shift your bite and align it into proper positioning, or if you need some additional dental work like a dental implant or porcelain crown.

Only in very rare cases is anything like a full-mouth reconstruction or surgery necessary.

The Key to Proper TMJ Treatment

To ensure you get the proper treatment, you need to make sure you are going to an experienced TMJ Dentist. There isn’t a recognized TMJ Specialty, so it is up to the patient to find out what type of qualifications their dentist has to give them the right treatment.

Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist what type of TMJ training they have. Dental school isn’t enough. It must be post-doctoral work. I’m going to suggest you click here to look at Dr. Burba’s TMJ Dentist page in order to know what type of training you should look for.

Bear in mind, a good dentist will recommend the least invasive treatment for this type of situation first.

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

My Mouth Is Sinking In

I need some advice. You can barely see my front teeth when I smile. It makes it look like I don’t have any and is embarrassing. I do have jaw pain which I wear a night guard for. My face feels more comfortable and natural when I wear it. But, most of the time, my jaw tightens and I have trouble forming certain letter sounds. My dentist suggested porcelain veneers but I wanted to get a second opinion. What do you think?

Pamela

Dear Pamela,

A Chart showing how joints muscles and teeth all work together in TMJ

I’m concerned by some things I’m hearing. I think you need a different dentist. While it is true that getting porcelain veneers can give you a gorgeous smile, it will not help the root of your problem. In fact, it’s likely to make it worse, specifically your jaw pain and issues with pronunciation. You may actually end up with a locked jaw.

Go see a dentist with a lot of training and experience in TMJ Disorder. You’re probably thinking, “Great, that’s not a specialty. How do I find one of those?” Well, I’m glad you asked. You can look on their website or ask their staff where they received their TMJ training. If they only mention their dental school, that’s insufficient. Here are some great institutions. I’d want them to list at least one of them:

  • The Pankey Institute
  • Dawson Academy
  • Spear Education
  • The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies

It sounds like this has happened over time, which may mean you’ve worn your teeth down causing them to overclose. If that’s the case, then it’s very likely you’ll need a full mouth reconstruction. Picking the right dentist for that is just as important as finding an expert in TMJ Treatment.

You want to have a functional smile, but one you’ll also be proud to show everyone. In your place, I’d start by finding an expert TMJ Dentist, but then also see if they’re an expert cosmetic dentist. It is possible to get both. For cosmetic dentistry, the ideal is to get a dentist who has attained accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

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

If you grind your teeth, your mouth is NOT fine

I had a check up. I told my dentist that I’ve been having some pain in my teeth/gums. It’s kind of a low-value pain (say on a scale from 1-10 being about a 4 0r 5), but it feels like someone is grabbing my tooth and then letting go. He checked me over and even did some x-rays. He said it looks like I grind my teeth, but I have no cavities or anything and my mouth looks fine. What could be the cause of the pain?

Jen H. – Milwaukee

Jen,

Regardless of what your dentist says, if you grind your teeth everything is absolutely not fine. In fact, the grinding issue needs to be addressed. It’s obvious your dentist is just a cavity / filling type of dentist. However, there are some other dental issues that need to be addressed in your case, such as the strong possibility you have gum disease, TMJ, and possibly occlusion issues.  Some of these can be quite serious. Do not allow your dentist to brush this off.

You’ll have to bear in mind that I haven’t actually examined you and can only just make educated guesses from your descriptions. The pain could be from progressive gum disease or from your grinding. If either are left untreated you will lose your teeth. If it’s gum disease, your teeth will come loose and fall out. If it’s from the grinding, you will literally grind your teeth down to nubs. Additionally, this can lead to some serious TMJ issues.

If you treat this conditions early, it will be a lot simpler and a lot less expensive.  For gum disease, your dentist will have you come in for some extra cleanings. He’ll probably prescribe some fluoride to you as well.  He may suggest some other things as well, depending on the severity of your case.

Even if gum disease is what is causing your pain, you need to address the grinding. The simplest solution is to wear a night guard. If there are some other occlusal issues, some additional treatment might be necessary.

I don’t think your dentist is qualified to address your grinding/tmj issues. I strongly recommend you find a dentist with specific TMJ training. Look for someone who was trained with either the LVI, Dawson Academy, or Spear.

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