Mature woman writing information on a piece of paper and reviewing data on her computerIf you are suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD), you should try to get it treated soon. TMJ is often a progressive condition that worsens when you leave it untreated. Failure to treat TMJ soon enough will leave you with fewer treatment options and might eventually leave you with only surgical treatment options, which are unreliable and have a high risk of severe side effects.

However, we understand that you might not know where to go to get your TMJ treated. A TMJ dentist is different from your regular dentist, and you might not know how to find a good one. Here are some steps you can take to help you select the best TMJ dentist for you in Columbia, SC.

Ask for Referrals

Talk to friends and family members who might have had TMJ treatment. If you know anyone who had the condition and got relief, start with them.

Don’t forget to ask friends and family who used to have headaches and jaw problems but now seem to have improved. Often people don’t know they have TMJ specifically until they get a diagnosis from their TMJ dentist.

Do an Internet Search

TMJ is a common condition, but it resolves on its own without treatment for most people. As a result, you might not know many people who have gotten TMJ treatment. So, at best, you’ve probably gotten one recommendation for a TMJ dentist. Ideally, you want to have at least two–and preferably three or more–dentists to consider for your TMJ treatment. If referrals don’t bring enough up, you can search for TMJ dentists in your area.

Start by searching for the dentist or dentists recommended by friends or family. Then search TMJ dentists in your area. Look at the dentists that come up. Check their online reviews. These aren’t as reliable as referrals from friends and family, but you should consider them.

Check Credentials and Continuing Education

“TMJ dentist” is an informal description. It’s not an officially recognized dental specialty, so any dentist could call themselves a TMJ dentist. However, regular dental training includes little instruction in TMJ treatment.

To ensure a dentist is a trustworthy TMJ dentist, check to see that they have significant continuing dedication dedicated to understanding TMJ. Look for references to TMJ treatment, neuromuscular dentistry, craniofacial pain, myofascial pain, and other related terms. If a dentist doesn’t talk about specialized training and credentials won in these areas, you should not consider them TMJ dentists.

Schedule Consultations

Once you’ve evaluated dentists’ credentials and training in TMJ treatment, it’s time to schedule consultations. You’ll want to talk to a few dentists to help you find the best one for you. Ideally, you should schedule consultations with at least two TMJ dentists. Schedule with a third one in reserve if you don’t like either of your first two choices.

Some TMJ dentists offer free consultations. This does make it easier to schedule multiple consultations. However, you are more likely to get an in-depth evaluation from a dentist who charges for the initial consultation.

Ask Dentists about Ongoing Education

A TMJ consultation may, in part, be an exam so a dentist can assess your current condition and help you get the treatment you need. However, it should also allow you to interview a TMJ dentist to see how you feel about them. You should ask any questions you have about the credentials on their website. If they don’t have information about the technology on their website, ask them about their technology in treating TMJ.

Also, see if they have new training and certification not up on their website. A dentist should be getting TMJ training continuously to stay atop the latest trends and developments about the condition. TMJ treatment is a mysterious condition, but our insight into it continues to grow–a dentist who isn’t learning the latest insights might not be a good choice.

Ask Dentists How Much of Their Practice Is TMJ

Simply advertising as a TMJ dentist doesn’t mean a dentist actually treats much TMJ. There are many aspects of TMJ treatment that dentists learn and refine through practice. If a dentist isn’t treating TMJ much, they might not have enough experience to get good results for you. Make sure you ask a dentist how often they treat TMJ.

Ask to Speak to Previous Patients

If a dentist seems to have good training and practice in TMJ treatment, it’s time to talk to previous patients. TMJ treatment can be life-changing. People who suffer from TMJ might spend years looking for successful treatment. When a dentist finally helps them find relief, they are likely to be happy to talk about their experience.

While it’s true that many patients value their privacy, you should be suspicious of a dentist who doesn’t have even a single patient who is prepared to talk about their TMJ treatment. When a doctor gives you patient names, make sure to call these patients to see what they have to say about the dentist. Don’t forget to ask when a patient got treatment–more recent patients better reflect a dentist’s current practice.

Choose a TMJ Dentist That Makes You Feel Confident

After you’ve assembled all the information about possible TMJ dentists, consider which one makes you feel most confident in their ability to deliver results. Factor in training, experience, technology, reviews, and everything you’ve learned about the dentists.

If none of the dentists give you confidence, you should start your search over. If more than one seems acceptable, you can use location and cost to help you narrow down the best TMJ dentist for you.

Looking for a TMJ Dentist in Columbia, SC?

If you are looking for a TMJ dentist in Columbia, SC, consider Dr. Adam Hahn. He is an experienced TMJ dentist who earned the rank of Fellow at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). He has helped many people in the area to get relief from their TMJ pain and other symptoms.

Please call (803) 781-9090 or use our online form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry today.