I have been having headaches for a while now. I mentioned it to my dentist. He mentioned that could be a symptom of TMJ and started messing with my jaw. He said I need something called a full-mouth reconstruction and his assistant gave me an estimate that is, frankly, a fortune. Is this really necessary for a recurring headache?
Based on what you’ve said, it seems like there are some things your dentist is doing is right about and some he is jumping the gun on. First, it is true that recurring headaches can be a symptom of TMJ Disorder. Second, TMJ Disorder does need treatment.
I think he’s jumping the gun on the type of treatment you need. Most dentists who do a lot of TMJ work will start with the most conservative threatment first.
There are several reasons for TMJ Disorder. Which treatment you use depends on the cause. In some cases, Bruxism (the clenching and grinding of your teeth) is the cause. Most people don’t realize they do it because it happens while they are sleeping. Other times it’s because your teeth are misaligned.
Treatment can vary from wearing a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding, to a bite splint, all the way to a full-mouth reconstruction.
Get a Second Opinion from a TMJ Dentist
I want you to get a second opinion before jumping into this. While there isn’t a recognized TMJ Specialty, there are dentists who’ve invested significant time in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ Disorder.
Here is Dr. Becker’s TMJ Training from some of the most reputable institutions in the country:
- Dr. Peter Dawson Advanced Dental Seminars
- Seattle Institute for Advanced Dental Education in State-of-the-Art Esthetics
- U.S. Dental Institute for Orthodontic Training
- Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education
- Post-graduate training at Northwestern University Dental School in Periodontal Surgery
If it does turn out you need a full-mouth reconstruction, which involves crowning of all your teeth, make sure it is done by a dentist with the type of training listed above. It’s a very advanced procedure and an inexperienced dentist could permanently mess up your bite.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.