What To Look For In A TMJ Doctor

Technology is a Double Edged Sword

Technology is becoming more sophisticated and relied upon everywhere. Some think it is being relied on too much in medicine to the detriment of patient’s care. Other articles propose that a more “robotic” medical world might allow better decisions in health care because it removes human error.

I would opt for more clinical skills vs more robotics in my care. When one person touches another, there is a connection, a sense of trust that a robot or machine cannot instill.

We are seeing this trend in Dentistry for “turnkey systems” to treat TMJ, headaches, bite problems, etc. that “sell” a “protocol” for every patient to undergo.

Massage, medications, and equilibrate the bite (grinding the teeth to “fit” using a computer-aided “pressure sensor” to show which teeth to grind down. The advertised “turnkey system” to dentists claims to alleviate migraines, TMJ problems, neck pain, etc. from your “TMJ” problem. It’s basis is a technology that shows the “pressures” of tooth contacts when you bite down. This provides the dentist with information (over several weeks/months of visits adjusting the bite down) which teeth to “equilibrate” or “adjust”.

In some cases, this can temporarily alleviate muscle tension and other symptoms, however, in previous blogs I have explained why “adjusting” or “equilibrating” the bite is an outdated and inappropriate treatment for a TMD (any problem with the joint itself – such as clicking, locking, pain, etc – watch jaw clicking video here. ).

If the TMJ has a “dislocated disk”, that is what causes the muscle cramps, headaches, migraines, ear pain, neck pain and the BITE to feel uneven. Using computer technology to adjust the teeth and bite only guarantees that your jaw joint is going to remain “dislocated” because the teeth have been adjusted to keep it that way.

In patients with advanced arthritic TMJ conditions, the mobility of the joint can be improved and much of the pain relieved by applying traction (using orthotics), physical medicine and other appropriate therapies in a team approach. The “bite” is the indicator of how much damage has been done to the joint.

Technology is a wonderful addition to experience, a detailed history and clinical exam, and integrating all of the information through a personal connection to a patient that takes your concerns, needs, and unique condition into account.

At our office, our initial consultation is one of the most important steps in determining your concerns, problems, and reviewing solutions that can help with your TMD or Sleep Breathing condition.

Contact us if you live in Colorado or Wyoming and would like to schedule an initial consultation for TMJ.

Sarasota Herald Tribune
Jul 1, 2014 – Both cases reflect a phenomenon that some prominent medical … Overreliance on technology, he said, has produced perverse results.

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