The following are recommended guidelines from “The TMJ Association, Ltd”, a patient based advocacy organization:
Consult Your Medical Doctor
We recommend that you first consult with a medical doctor to rule out any disease that may be causing your symptoms and is treated by medical practitioners. If they are unable to find a reason for your problem, and you are referred to a dentist for a TMJ evaluation, we encourage you to then obtain multiple INDEPENDENT opinions on your condition.
Get an Independent Opinion
To be a truly independent opinion, the medical/dental professional can not be associated with or working with the medical/dental professional from whom you have already received an opinion. Many TMJ patients seek further opinions outside of their geographical area, without the referral of their original medical/dental professional.
Educate Yourself and Others
With the increase of managed care (HMOs), where a primary care physician is your health care gatekeeper it is mandatory that you, the patient, become your own well-informed advocate. You will also need to educate your primary care physician and all others you encounter within the system about TMJ.
Tender Muscles is Not Normal:
Tender painful muscles to palpation in and around the head, neck, shoulder and mouth regions, teeth sensitivities and aches, ear congestion feelings, pain behind the eyes, tingling in the arms and fingers, dizziness, ringing in the ears, to mention a few are all a part of what is considered “TMJ” or TMD. To experience these things is not normal. Many of these symptoms are related to and are associated with the living tissues that effect the mandibular position and in turn effect upper to lower teeth relationships and vice versa. The condyles within the glenoid fossa can also be involved as part of this problem just as much as the teeth.
The human body, the stomatognathic system which includes the teeth, the muscles of the head and neck, the TM Joints, the neurology that innervates the system of mastication and posturing of the head and neck are all parts of what dentists should consider when diagnosing and treating patients who present with these signs and symptoms. The mandibular (the lower jaw) position does effect and also impacts the over-all system.
NOTE: Disorders of the Temporomandibular Joint can mimic other dental and medical problems. A proper diagnosis regarding head and neck pain is very important because serious medical problems such as vascular disorders, brain tumors, aneurisms, cervical disc disorders, throat and oral cancer, etc. can produce similar symptoms of TMJ disorders. It is important to inform your dental office of any change in your health history from that was previously provided.