How to help your patients with complications of TMD

While painful, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) refer to a cluster of conditions that are often characterized by pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or its surrounding tissues. The surrounding tissues might include the neck, head and even shoulders. Conditions involving the TMJ are so common among the adult population that up to 75 percent show at least one sign of TMD upon examination. To help your patients reduce or eliminate their pain, let’s take a look at some of the complications of TMD and how to educate your patients.

What are the other complications of TMD?

Evidence continues to be available about TMD and how it can be worsened by other conditions. Today, it has been shown that anxiety, stress, and other emotional disturbances may worsen TMD. Some of the common signs of TMD include:

  • Jaw pain.
  • Limited or painful jaw movements.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain or stiffness.
  • Clicking or grating within the joint.
  • Inability to open mouth without pain.

About 55 percent of patients with chronic headaches who receive referrals to a neurologist actually have signs of TMD. Without the education on TMD, patients are overlooking signs and symptoms and are missing treatment. As a dentist, you can put an end to the misdiagnosis of TMD by completing further education. You can also educate your patients on self-care techniques and referral for non-invasive treatment.

TMD treatment can help

Signs and symptoms of TMD improve over time with at-home care, and with oral appliance therapy from the dental office. Previous studies have even show that as many as 50 percent of patients improve in one year and 85 percent improve completely in three years.

Encourage conservative treatment before considering any invasive options. It is important to treat your patients properly without causing further complications.

Contact my office to learn more about TMD and available treatment options, as well as upcoming lectures for continuing your education.

Start planning for 2019: Sign up for these pain courses

If you’re like me then you like to plan ahead. There are times you might wish you knew about a dental sleep medicine (DSM) course sooner than the week before–believe me, I get it. Well, to help those who are planners, here are three DSM courses at the start of 2019 you can plan ahead for!

March 15-17, 2019, Orofacial Pain Mini Residency Session 1 in Atlanta. This is a comprehensive two-session, 38 CE Credit program designed to give dental practices the knowledge and guidance to fully incorporate orofacial pain treatment into their practice. The program is led by industry mentors Dr. Mayoor Patel, DDS, MS, RPSGT, D.ABDSM, DABCP, DABCDSM, DABOP and former AACP president Dr. Terry Bennett, DDS, D.ABDSM, D.ABCP, D.ABCDSM.

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, attendees gain the skills and confidence needed to be successful in all aspects of TMD & craniofacial pain treatment. The first session will consist of:

  • Neuroanatomy.
  • The concepts and fundamentals of pain.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Neuropathic disorders.
  • Neurovascular disorders.
  • Hands-on examination and documentation systems.
  • Medical billing for TMD treatment.

April 26-27, 2019, The Appliance Course for Dental Sleep Medicine & TMD in Scottsdale, AZ. There are so many obstructive sleep apnea and TMD appliances in the dental market, so how do you know which one to choose for which patient? It might be a bit overwhelming, but that is where this lecture helps. The Dental Sleep Medicine and TMD appliance course is a two-day journey towards increasing your mastery of dental sleep medicine and TMD appliances. In this course you will learn:

  • The pros and cons of each major appliance, and which one is right for each patient.
  • How to develop communication protocols with patients and dental labs for more successful outcomes.
  • Comprehensive exams and hands-on bite registration techniques.
  • Triaging between sleep apnea and TMD treatment.
  • The latest medical billing policies, codes, and best practices for successful reimbursement.

June 14-15, 2019, Orofacial Pain Mini Residency Session 2 in Atlanta. Session two of the Orofacial Pain Mini Residency will cover imaging, pharmaceuticals, and adjunct therapy for orofacial pain. Therapy for craniomandibular disorders, orthotic therapy, and a review of other common orofacial pain conditions is covered before diving into hands-on injection therapy, and closing with sleep and pain, and case studies.

To learn more about upcoming lectures, please visit http://mpateldds.com/upcoming-lecture/. I look forward to seeing you an an upcoming lecture or mini-residency covering the topic of pain!

How to help TMD patients best choose their food

Limited jaw movement or locking of the TMJ can have a negative effect on mandibular opening, biting and chewing. Myofacial pain is characterized by pain originating from the masticatory and other pericranial muscles. TMD also limits the mandibular opening and pain aggravated during function, specifically when eating and chewing.

Choosing food for TMD patients

A patient’s eating habits can be significantly altered by this condition. It can also compromise the quality of their diet. When patients are experiencing jaw pain and difficulty eating or chewing, how do you help them? What diet suggestions can you offer?The food choices in the infographic below can help:

For more information on TMD and helping your patients improve their diets, please contact me. We can discuss food options and how to cook meals. I can also provide you with this fun handout for your office and patients! What else are you doing to improve your patients’ diets?

For further guidance, check out this educational book on TMD

In November “Take a Bite Out of Pain: A Journey to Overcoming Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)” was released and available for purchase. It is exciting to have both a book on TMD and sleep apnea for further outreach and education on topics that are often overlooked. This new educational book serves many purposes. It can be put on display at your office for your patients or it can be gifted to a friend or family member that might be suffering from pain.

This educational book is now available for purchase at Lulu.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Pick your favorite website to go to and purchase it!

What can you expect from the book?

I wrote this book in collaboration with Sara Berg, my writer. As many of you know, she has been writing for me for almost five years now and this is our second book together. We decided to write about pain and TMD to better educate patients on these symptoms and what to do. As dentists, we are in a unique position to help our patients feel better, so why not continue to provide them with the resources they need to better understand their condition?

To help you get a better understanding of what the book is about, here is a brief description:

“Pain should never be ignored. Whether it is pain in your jaw, or what seems like a headache, don’t ignore the discomfort. Ignoring pain would be a waste of time, leading to further complications with your health.

Search for the underlying cause of your pain with help from qualified dentists that treat such cases. Finding the source of your nagging pain will help you continue on with your daily activities—hopefully eliminating any discomfort present.

Don’t just “put up with” pain—seek proper treatment. Pain is a complex and complicated symptom tuned by your brain, as it triggers every painful sensation. Are you just going to sit there and wish the pain away? No, absolutely not.

Educate yourself on the cause or causes, and treatment options. Pain isn’t a singular problem, it can be so much more.”
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and I hope that you utilize this book to help your patients before, during or after their visits to your dental office!