My doctor has been unable to find a cause for my headaches. They are debilitating, especially in the morning. It’s kept me from being the mom I want to be. At my last visit, my doc suggested I see a dentist and ask about TMJ Disorder. He called it a “Hail Mary”, because he doesn’t know what else to do for me. I did see my dentist and mentioned what my doc said. He told me if I have headaches in the morning it is because of TMJ and I’ll need to have a full-mouth reconstruction. He had the business office write me up an estimate. It will cost me a fortune. Before I invest in this, I just want to make sure this is the correct course of action. Should I move forward or get a second opinion first?
While a full-mouth reconstruction is a legitimate treatment for certain cases of TMJ Disorder, there are other treatments. Treatments which are much less invasive. Which treatment is used, depends on what the underlying cause is. You need the right treatment for the right cause. If that is the right treatment, it requires a dentist with exceptional training in both restorative and neuromuscular dentistry that is not gained in dental school. Because of that, I am going to suggest you get a second opinion by someone with the right training.
Sometimes, those headaches in the morning are caused by your clenching or grinding your teeth. Many patients don’t even realize they are doing it because they only do it at night. It is hard to know what you are doing in your sleep. A full-mouth reconstruction wouldn’t even help that issue. Instead, all you would need for this is to wear a night guard while you slept. It’s a simple and comfortable mouthpiece that is worn over your teeth.
Finding a Qualified Dentist to Evaluate Your TMJ
What you want is a dentist who invested time in post-graduate training. There are several schools which have great TMJ training. Here are a few of the best:
- The Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Study
- The Las Vegas Center for Advanced Dental Studies
- The Pankey Institute
- The Kois Center
A dentist who has studied at one of these institutes will be qualified to both diagnose and treat you. It may be something simple, such as I mentioned earlier. If it turns out that you do need a full-mouth reconstruction and it requires putting a dental crown on every tooth, you will need a dentist with an additional qualification. Because this treatment is a combination of fixing your bite and creating a new one, you’ll need someone who is also skilled in cosmetic dentistry. I’d look for someone who has reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.