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Educational Brochures on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions

This brochure addresses what are Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (COPCs), how COPCs are diagnosed, the complexity of the chronic pain experience, and how to work with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan. It is available by postal ma

Study Highlights TMD Evidence and Current Practice Gaps

The TMJ Association has long championed the need for strong evidence-based demonstrations of the safety and efficacy of TMD diagnostics and treatments. Sad to say, as the following journal article indicates, even among a network of research-oriented practices, dental providers are still resorting to such TMD treatments as occlusal adjustments in which teeth are irreversibly moved, ground down, or in other ways altered, a treatment for which there is no scientific evidence of efficacy.

Beware of Ticks and Lyme Disease

We are currently in the peak season for Lyme disease. Each year at this time we highlight this topic because we have heard from a number of patients over the years who were misdiagnosed and underwent unnecessary TMD treatments when they actually had Lyme

#*!"@!**! ... May Help Your Pain... and Improve Strength!

Our headline is adopting the comic strip convention of using symbols to denote swear words because we are intrigued by a report that swearing may have some health benefits.

Predictors of Opioid Efficacy for Chronic Pain Patients

Opioids are increasingly used for treatment of chronic pain. However, they are only effective in a subset of patients and have multiple side effects. Thus, studies using biomarkers for response are highly warranted.

The Latest Treatment Craze in TMJ…Neuromuscular Dentistry

  • Nov 27, 2015

Neuromuscular dentistry is a dental treatment philosophy intended to correct a “malalignment”of the jaw at the temporomandibular joint and produce a balanced bite. The neuromuscular dentist uses several computerized instruments to measure your jaw movements and jaw muscle activity to determine the extent of your problem and to establish a “physiologic rest position” for the jaw. Here are some of the measurement techniques and procedures used:

  • Sonography – measures vibrations from the joint when you open and close your mouth to identify joint derangements.
  • Electromyography (EMG) – involves placing surface electrodes over the jaw muscles that pick up electrical impulses and send them to the recording instrument. It is used to measure the activity in the muscles during various movements.
  • Jaw Tracking (Electrognathograph, Kinesiography) – analyzes mandibular movements three dimensionally. A headset is placed on the patient and a magnet is attached to the lower front teeth. Recording of the lower jaw movement is then made.
  • TENS – ultra-low frequency electrical stimulation of the muscles to relieve muscle spasms and pain and help establish a “physiologic” jaw position.

Once the rest position of the jaw is determined, the patient undergoes extensive restorative dental procedures or orthodontics to maintain this new position.

Neuromuscular dentistry can cost from $3,500 to $25,000+ for 4-6 months to one year or more of treatment.  Insurance companies typically do not cover the TMJ- related costs due to the lack of  a scientific evidence base for such treatment.

According to the American Association For Dental Research’s March 3, 2010 Policy Statement on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)  “…the consensus of recent scientific literature about currently available technological diagnostic devices for TMDs is that except for various imaging modalities, none of them shows the sensitivity and specificity required to separate normal subjects from TMD patients or to distinguish among TMD subgroups.”  In other words, those who practice neuromuscular dentistry have their own standards for what are normal and abnormal readings which may lead to a “false positive” - meaning people may be told they have a TMJ problem when they really don’t, leading to unnecessary treatments.

Neuromuscular dentistry is NOT a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association.  Although a variety of healthcare providers advertise themselves as TMJ specialists, treatments available today are based largely on beliefs, not on scientific evidence.

This article was reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Daniel Laskin, the TMJA's clinical consultant.

TMJ Disorders

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In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

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