Does TMD treatment work?
Dr. Hagood has advanced training in the area of TMJ treatment through The Piper Education and Research Center, The Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Study, Spear Education, and the Eubank Institute. He has been successfully treating TMD/TMJ for over 20 years. About 95% of the cases he treats are successfully managed through the use of an orthotic appliance and/or a combination of an orthotic appliance and physical therapy to reduce symptoms and accelerate healing from tissue inflammation. The latest treatment that helps in this healing is cold laser therapy, and Dr. Hagood has created a video to explain its application: The MLS Cold Laser.
Dr. Hagood fabricates a customized appliance for each patient’s unique mouth. This appliance fits over an arch of teeth, and relaxes the jaw muscles. It is typically worn overnight, every night. Many patients wear them during the day during periods of stress when they feel symptomatic tenseness and tenderness due to jaw clenching and teeth grinding. When the orthotic appliance is worn, the jaws are separated and teeth slide along the appliance when the jaws move. The custom shape of the appliance facilitates relaxation. The jaw muscles cannot exert forces that inflame the muscles and other soft tissue of the jaw, face, head, and neck.
The custom appliance that Dr. Hagood makes for you is made of hard acrylic and is not like a bite guard you might buy in a pharmacy or online. Because they are made of a chewy rubber, you may even grind and clench your teeth more, worsen symptoms, and damage jaw joints.
If you are not among the 95% who respond positively to these conservative therapies, the amount of internal joint damage you have is so significant that normal comfort and function will not be achieved without some level of surgical intervention. Dr. Hagood makes referrals to the Piper Clinic to assist patients in this category.
It is important to understand that TMJ surgery has a long history of mixed outcomes and many failures. This fact alone creates a bias in the minds of many people today toward selecting surgery as a definitive option. You may therefore hear from one or more people something like “TMJ surgery never works.” It is also important to understand that the reason whys so many TMJ surgeries have been unsuccessful is that the techniques and approaches used were underdeveloped, misapplied, or to some degree experimental.
TMJ surgery moved past the point of experimentation when Mark Piper, MD, DDS started to study the problems and create real solutions over 25 years ago. Dr. Piper has been successfully providing TMJ surgery solutions for over 25 years now and has over 20,000 documented cases to support his surgical approaches as well as how they work out over long periods of time.