How Do I Know If I’m Choosing the Right Treatment or Surgery for My TMJ Disorder?

One of the most difficult aspects of being diagnosed with TMJ disorder is realizing that there is no cure. When you are in pain and researching to find answers to your problems, you can come across many doctors/dentists/patients/marketers claiming that they have exactly what you are looking for… a way to “cure” your TMJ disorder overnight, without medications, from home, and without a doctors treatment!
The old saying definitely applies here.. if it sounds too good to be true.. it probably is. And with TMJD treatment, I’d even go so far to say that if it sounds too good to be true, it DEFINITELY is!

So how do those of us who are facing a new TMJ treatment option start making the right decisions for our health, so we can stop searching and start feeling better?

Here are some tips to ensure that you make the best decisions surrounding your TMJ treatment:

    1. Become familiar with the hallmarks of a scammy website that is set up to make money from your pain.

      Here are some things to watch out for:

      1. No information about who the person is that has this “cure.”
      2. The solution you have found seems to be on only one page of a website, and that page is a sales letter with big red headlines and lots of exclamation points. There is no other information on the website detailing exactly what the specific modalities are that they’re selling. The testimonials from “patients” who have tried their product seem fake or forced.
      3. There is no way to contact the company or person who is selling the information.
    2. Learn at least a little bit about the current research in TMJ disorder and surrounding the specific treatment you are considering.

      If you have any questions or need some pointers on where to look (or how to read what you found), please do not hesitate to send us an email. We also publish a TMJ news round-up every Friday that highlights the latest research.

    3. What are the possible risks and benefits of each treatment?

      1. Since everyone is different, you need to understand which benefits and risks are important to you. Depending on what is happening in your life, different things will be important to you. If you have small children, your priorities will be different from a single college student trying to finish his or her degree.
    4. What is the most important thing you want the treatment to do?

      For example, if the most important thing for you is pain relief, your decision might be different than if the most important aspect of a treatment was increasing your opening or having better function.

    5. How likely is it that a benefit or side effect will happen to you?

      If a certain side effect happens in 75% of people who have the treatment or take the medication, how could that effect your life?

    6. What will happen if you don’t have treatment?

Is there any information that can show you what could happen if you decide to wait? For some this might make sense, especially if the risks to having a treatment are just too much right now.

                    7. Write down a list of the benefits, risks, side effects, and how they will effect your life.

  1. Make one column for benefits, one for risks (and how likely it is that the risks will happen to you), one for side effects (and how common they are), and another for how they effect your life. For example, if you are considering taking a medication, will it make you sleepy? Is this an issue for you? Do you have the ability to sleep more or rest when you need to? This will help you figure out what is important to you, and help you make the best decision for your situation.

The bottom line is that what works for you, may not work for your neighbor, friend, spouse, or child. You need to understand what is important in your life to really make the decision that benefits your situation the most.

Like I’ve said before, no one has your best interests at heart more than you do. Part of being a successful patient is stepping up to the plate and making decisions based on the information you have in front of you. I wish there was a magic bullet or an “easy button” that helped us make the right decision, but there isn’t. If you are really stumped, and just can’t figure out what to do next, make a list of your options…  talk to a friend…. ask your fellow patients… it’s also important that you trust your gut instinct. All too often we dismiss our gut because we think it’s illogical or wrong when it isn’t!

How do you make decisions when you’re facing a new treatment for your TMJ disorder?

About The Author

Stacy

Stacy is the Founder & Executive Director of TMJ Hope. After being mauled by a dog, she experienced severe jaw pain that was not relieved by conservative treatments. After several surgeries, she had TMJ total joint replacements in 2006.

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