Tips for Choosing a Patient-Focused TMJ Specialist

shutterstock_1174849Our extensively trained dentist, Dr. Arthur Chal, is very familiar with the trouble TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) can generate and the difficulties associated with finding high-quality care. After being diagnosed with TMD following a car accident, Dr. Chal discovered there were many unscrupulous “TMJ pain clinics” that operated more as profit-centered businesses than as patient-focused care centers. To help others in the same position, he offers these tips to help choose a qualified dental professional who has your needs in mind:

Not all TMJ care clinics are bad, just as not all of them are good. It’s important to do your research. A university-backed TMJ or orofacial pain center generally can be a trusted resource. However, corporate pain clinics should be reviewed carefully before being considered. If a TMJ pain clinic suggests BOTOX® injections, you may wish to take your concerns elsewhere. While BOTOX® injections can reduce muscle spasms, they offer only short-term relief and do not address the underlying cause of the disorder. As a result, you will be stuck getting these injections repeatedly for the foreseeable future.

Another warning sign may be the number of splints, or orthotics, that they recommend. Splints can be very helpful in the treatment of TMD, but they must be made correctly and fit precisely. Additionally, only one should be used, either for the upper jaw or the lower—never both. It can help to ask if the clinic performs other dental treatments such as restorative or preventive procedures. If they don’t perform any other type of dentistry, we recommend walking away.

Diagnosing and treating TMD requires extensive training, and this type of education isn’t covered in the standard curriculum for physicians or dentists. This is why Dr. Chal has completed additional intensive courses specific to the field of TMD. It’s important to note, there is no TMJ specialist certification in dentistry. However, checking to see if a dentist has obtained certain credentials can help you determine if he or she may be right for you. Dr. Chal has trained under Dr. Peter Dawson and Dr. Mark Piper, both are authorities on TMD. Furthermore, Dr. Chal is an active member of several prestigious dental associations with exacting criteria for acceptance.

We understand that TMD can be painful, and you probably want to be treated as quickly as possible. However, we urge you to investigate a practice or practitioner before accepting care. Your comfort, safety, and well-being are worth the extra effort.

For more information about TMD and Dr. Chal’s TMJ experience, please contact our office today. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to answer questions or to help you schedule a consultation.

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