Head and Neck Pain Center

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I've been interested in the diagnosis, treatment, and study of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) for almost twenty years. The curiosity I developed about the subject came out of my interest in restorative and reconstructive dentistry. This area of dentistry not only uses advanced concepts of mouth restoration, it also deals with the specifics of how teeth fit together in all their complexities.

After graduating from dental school I began an extensive continuing education program and worked with people all over the country who were directly involved in research and development of various techniques in reconstructive dentistry. This study was done both in their offices and in intensive courses given throughout the country.

When I began to incorporate these techniques into my practice, I noticed that patients who came back for checkups often commented about changes that appeared unrelated to the treatments they had received. "Ever since you made those bridges," one woman said, "my ear problems have cleared up." Another patient said, "Ever since I had the crowns replaced, my headaches are gone." I also began to pay more attention to patients' complaints and was more open to the possibility that dental work could trigger problems.

In the late 1960s, when patients were making these comments, TMJ was little known or recognized, even by dentists. However, a few dentists were beginning to study and attempting to treat TMJ. It became apparent to me that TMJ and reconstructive dentistry were related fields and that the knowledge from each could be combined to develop successful TMJ treatment. Even though little was known about TMJ, I believed that it was a problem with an answer; it was simply a matter of working persistently enough to find that answer.

Also at that time success rates, using the techniques developed, were far less than 50 percent. That still left the majority of TMJ patients suffering. Even today, paltry success rates are common and ignorance and confusion about TMJ abounds.

The present state of confusion about TMJ, on the part of both the general public and health care community, prompted me to start the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Headaches and Facial Pain. The institute created a vehicle by which my colleagues in all branches of health care can learn more about TMJ. It also created a vehicle to educate other dentists about the dental treatment requirements of ex-TMJ patients. If this treatment is done incorrectly, the patient's symptoms are much more likely to return. Because the concept of this treatment isn't available through standard dental education, the institute offers programs to fill this need.

But, first and foremost, the institute is a treatment center for those suffering with TMJ. Treating patients for TMJ problems can be frustrating and personally painful. Patients I see have lived in severe pain-sometimes for many years. They had been unable to seek help in appropriate places because they didn't know about TMJ. Patients spent enormous amounts of money and suffered years of anguish while they looked for help. Many ended up hopeless. This tragic situation prompted me to write this book. Clearly, the public desperately needs education about TMJ-the multitude of symptoms and the potential for cure.

I hope that people who are experiencing some of the difficulties described in this book will talk to their health care providers about TMJ. I hope health care professionals will then be encouraged to learn more about TMJ and the treatment concepts discussed in this book. Through the institute, I would like to share my knowledge and treatment protocol with interested practitioners in all the healing arts.

Today many patients are allowed to continue living in chronic pain simply because information about TMJ is lacking. I hope the institute and this book will contribute to ending this frustrating and often tragic situation.

Note. This book explores the symptoms, causes, and treatment for a specific disorder. The book is not a substitute for seeking appropriate help for persisting symptoms. The people mentioned are actual patients, but their names and other details have been change

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