The temporomandibular joint in your jaw is responsible for allowing you to move your jaw comfortably. It is a huge asset with chewing and yawning, but occasionally, disorders develop. These can come about from trauma, medications or repetitive stress. When looking for the best TMJ doctor to treat it, here are some actions to take.
1. Ask for Testimonials
During the initial consultation with the TMJ doctor, you can always ask for him or her to share patient testimonials. Before meeting with a doctor, you can also look up reviews on sites, such as Yelp.
2. Find Out Success Rate
It may be impossible for a doctor to provide percentages, but the professional should be able to provide anecdotes of patients who found relief. The doctor can also determine what factors promote a more successful treatment. It is important for a doctor to be upfront and honest with you about how much relief you can expect to receive.
3. Get Recommendations for Self-Care
TMJ doctors often prescribe mouth guards or recommend surgery in extreme cases. However, a doctor should also be willing to share with you information related to exercises you can do on your own. The professional may also suggest changing your diet or using hot compresses to relieve muscle tension.
4. Receive Explanation of Treatments
In the event you require jaw surgery to alleviate TMJ disorder, your doctor should be able to describe this surgery in fine detail. Most professionals reserve this treatment for the last resort, so most people with TMJ disorders do not have to worry too much. However, if you do need it, then it is important to understand what you will need to do in terms of aftercare and preparation.
5. Diagnose TMJ Disorders Effectively
Over the phone or through email, you should ask the doctor how he or she actually diagnoses people with TMJ disorder. There are many afflictions that can affect your jaw, and you want to be certain you have a TMJ disorder and not something else before beginning treatment. Most doctors will look at your overall health history in addition to using MRIs and other types of imaging technology.
6. Look Into Percentage of TMJ-Related Services the Office Provides
There are many dental offices that offer treatments for jaw disorders. However, some merely practice it on the side while others are more dedicated to it. It is important to find a professional you trust who has studied temporomandibular joints extensively.
7. Find Doctor’s Credentials
Most people do not want to pry, but it is important to know where your TMJ doctor went to school and received training. In addition to the school itself, you also want to ask what specific TMJ courses the professional took.
8. Delve Into Doctor’s Experience
As you ask about a doctor’s background and references, it is also important to see how long a practice has been in business. A young medical professional may be perfectly capable to help you, but there is not much to go off of. You should really play it safe and go with a doctor who has operated in your area for several years now. That way there is tangible evidence the individual has made a difference.
9. Ask About Specific Procedures
Although you go to a medical office to receive professional opinions, it is important to remain well-informed yourself. You should know what goes into treating TMJ disorders, and some of the most common methods used include:
• Magnetic resonance imaging
• TENS therapy
• TMJ orthotics
This is also a good time to ask how many treatment phases you will likely require. It is advantageous to get an idea of how long you will need to pay visits to this office.
10. Ask About Cost
Finally, you should always figure out how much you will need to pay. It is common for insurance agencies to deny coverage for TMJ treatments. However, there are some companies that are changing their tune. In the event your insurance agency will not cover it, ask the doctor about payment plans.
You can have a productive consultation with your TMJ doctor by going in well-informed. Your doctor will be able to better help you if you know something about your disorder and the various treatments involved.