I am writing because I am a natural born skeptic, and some advice I recently received sounds a little dicey to me. I’ve been suffering for quite some time with headaches and dizziness. I’ve seen three different doctors in the practice I go to, and they’ve each tried something different, and nothing has worked. Now the newest and youngest member of the practice says that I should talk to a neuromuscular dentist.
I don’t even know what that is! He was in such a hurry, and rattled it off really fast, like I should know. I was too embarrassed to ask him to repeat it. Good thing he wrote it on the paperwork. Iwent home and looked it up on the Internet, and all I found was a bunch of letters from people that talked about how badly dentists claiming they did neuromuscular dentistry messed them up! My doctor made this recommendation after he found out that I had lost a tooth shortly before my troubles started.
Is this a reputable field? I don’t even know how to find a neuromuscular dentist. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Veronica in Chicago, IL
It is good that you are approaching this with some caution. Neuromuscular dentistry is a legitimate field, but it is not yet recognized as a speciality by the American Dental Association. For this reason, anyone can SAY they do neuromuscular dentistry, whether they have the training or not.
Neuromuscular dentistry is used to treat disorders of the temporomandibular joint, also called TMD or TMJ. This field of study looks at not just the teeth, but the related muscles and functionality of the joints.
It sounds as if your most recent doctor thinks you may be suffering from TMJ. TMJ symptoms include the headaches and dizziness that you are suffering from, and can also include facial and jaw pain, muscle tension in the neck or shoulders, numbness in the fingers or arms, locking or clicking of the jaw, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
It is a shame your doctor did not take more time to explain his recommendation and the reasons for it. If you feel comfortable, ask your doctor’s office for a referral to a reputable neuromuscular dentist for TMJ treatment. If you would rather find one on your own, make very sure you check their credentials closely. Look for extensive training in reputable programs, and beware of any that want to offer some kind of quick fix.
This blog post sponsored by Grosse Pointe Woods cosmetic dentist Dr. Hadgis.