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Centralized Pain in TMD: Is It All in the Head?

We are pleased to introduce Sophia Stone, a new contributor to The TMJ Association, whose passion is to separate TMD fact from TMD fiction. Sophia has a background in medicine and research and can draw on her personal experience as a TMD patient.

TMD and Burning Mouth Syndrome

A study in the International Journal of Dental Research reporting the latest update on Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) noted two thirds of BMS patients also had Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD).

Stem Cell Study of Jaw Development Could Offer Insight Into Craniofacial Flaws

Scientists in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Gage Crump have revealed how key genes guide the development of the jaw in zebrafish. These findings may offer clues for understanding craniofacial anomalies in human patients, who sometimes carry a mutation in equivalent genes.

Pain in Your Head Hurts More Than Elsewhere in the Body

Terrie Cowley, Co-Founder and President of The TMJ Association, often remarks that patients tell her that the pain they feel in their jaws is worse than pain elsewhere in the body.

2018 NIDCR and Hill Visits

On February 26, TMJA staff participated in the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Patient Advocacy Council (PAC), an umbrella group comprising non-profit organizations that work together to advance dental, oral,

WHO TREATS TMD?

  • Oct 26, 2016

If you think you have a TMJ disorder, you may want to see a medical doctor to rule out some of the conditions that may mimic a TM disorder. For example, facial pain can be a symptom of many conditions, such as sinus or ear infections, decayed or abscessed teeth, various types of headache, facial neuralgia (nerve-related facial pain), and even tumors. If the medical doctor or your dentist gives you a diagnosis of a TMD, it is recommended that you consult our treatment section for guidance.

There is no medical or dental specialty of qualified experts trained in the care and treatment of TMD patients. As a result, there are no established standards of care in clinical practice. Although a variety of health care providers advertise themselves as “TMJ specialists,” the more than 50 different treatments available today are based largely on beliefs, not on scientific evidence.  Sir William Osler, the father of modern medicine, said "that when there are many treatments for a single condition, it is because none of them work."

Because there is no certified specialty in treating TMD in either dentistry or medicine, finding the right care can be difficult. The National Institutes of Health advises patients to look for a health care provider who understands musculoskeletal disorders (affecting muscle, bone and joints) and who is trained in treating pain conditions. Pain clinics in hospitals and universities are often a good source of advice, particularly when pain becomes chronic and interferes with daily life.

Complex cases, often marked by chronic and severe pain, jaw dysfunction, comorbid conditions, and diminished quality of life, will likely require a team of doctors from fields such as neurology, rheumatology, pain management and others to diagnose and treat this condition.

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