1. Tell us about yourself and your practice.
Answer: Born in southern India, I moved to USA in 1972 for my studies. Later I started a solo general dental practice upon graduation from University of Missouri – School of Dentistry in 1983.
We have evolved into a dental practice with a national reputation for TMJ treatment, Neuromuscular dentistry and Aesthetic / cosmetic dentistry.
2. Please explain the basic services you offer.
Answer: Comprehensive general dental services are offered including sleep apnea treatment, CT scan guided flapless implant placement, Neuromuscular functional orthodontics.
3. What types of insurance do you accept?
Answer: We accept and file all dental insurance plans that give the patient freedom to choose their own doctors.
4. What are your office hours?
Answer: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5. What payment options do you offer?
Answer: Payment options are: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and extended payment plans through Care Credit or Springstone.
6. What is TMJ?
Answer: TMJ stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint – the joints in front of our ears that connect the lower jaw to the skull. But “TMJ” is often used to refer to symptoms related to jaw joints such as clicking, grinding of these joints as well as symptoms related to poorly aligned jaws such as: headaches, ear pain, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, limited mouth opening etc. Perhaps TMD (Temporo Mandibular Disorder) and CMD (Cranio Mandibular Dysfunction) are terms that better describe this condition. You would find much more information about HOW these symptoms are related to TMD at www.MidwestHeadaches.com.
7. How do I know if I have TMJ?
Answer: Of course, all of us have two TM joints. If there is a problem with TMJ, you would become aware of it if any of the above symptoms appear. It is possible to have a click that does not hurt or just “goes away”. Just because it does not hurt does not mean it is healthy or optimal.
At what point does one becomes concerned about “heart problems”? When the cholesterol is high but nothing hurts…or when there is chest pain? Many wait till there is chest pain. It may not be the most effective strategy.
8. Can pain killers help in treating TMJ syndrome?
Answer: Pain killers can help to temporarily relieve any pain associated with TMD. Some are quite satisfied with the prospect of taking medications to mask the symptoms. Others want to get to the underlying cause and correct it.
9. Who should treat TMD?
Answer: For non-surgical treatment of TMD, you need a dentist that has committed to treating TMD on a daily basis and as such has invested the time, training and technological resources to be prepared to offer various treatment options. Having invested in advanced training at Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) in the area of TMD is a good indicator. Memberships in International College of Cranio Mandibular Orthopedics (ICCMO) and American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) are good indicators also.
If it has reached the point of complete deterioration of the joints, then an Oral Maxillofacial surgeon’s skills are needed for surgery. This is a dentist that has additional training through a surgery residency.
10. What should you expect from a TMD doctor?
Answer: Expertise, experience and a history of actual results. Ultimately, you need to feel well educated by the doctor on the nature of your particular case, the various options available including “no treatment” and the consequences of each of those options. These consequences include risks, time, discomfort and fees.
Prior to any permanent change, there needs to be reversible temporary treatment, that shows enough improvement of symptoms evaluated subjectively (symptom improvement) and objectively (emg measurements, CT scans) to give you confidence that you are on the right path to recovery.
11. What results can I expect from surgery?
Answer: These are some of the considerations in contemplating TMJ surgery. It is an irreversible procedure. There is no “undoing” a surgery. Any time general anesthesia is employed, there are risks associated with that, including death. That is spelled out in the anesthesia consent form. Besides, most surgeons readily agree that TM Joint surgery – arthroplasty – is frought with problems. Typical TMJ surgery consent forms cite success rate of “80% chance of as much as 50% improvement of symptoms”. That means, there is a 20% chance of symptoms getting “worse”. The most improvement one hopes for is a 50% improvement.
12. Is TMJ/TMD covered by insurance?
Answer: It depends on one’s medical insurance coverage. Some pay benefits subject to the policy provisions such as deductible. Treatment for TMJ/ TMD may be specifically excluded in some policies. It does not fall under “dental” since it is not “tooth treatment”. Besides most dental insurance plans have an annual maximum of only $1000.