“Surgery is almost never advisable for TMJ”

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, barbara@eafocus.com, 248.260.8466

Rochester Hills, Mich.—April 12, 2024 — Jeffrey S. Haddad, DDS, founder of the Michigan Center for TMJ and Sleep Wellness and owner and practicing dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry, fumed when he saw a national TV story recently on horror stories associated with surgical treatments for TMJ – a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement and send frustrated patients desperately seeking relief.

The TV story featured interviews with patients who had undergone various surgeries for TMJ, with surgical approaches that ranged from dangerous to barbaric – where a woman had large screws inserted into her jaw and was put on a regimen of turning the screws each day. In all interview scenarios, the patients were permanently damaged and disfigured – and no TMJ relief was gained.

“Surgery is almost never advisable for TMJ treatment, much less the invasive surgeries that were portrayed in that news story with trusting patients,” Haddad said. “The message that surgery is the “only” option and that TMJ treatment is unpredictable and unsuccessful is completely false. Non-surgical treatment options such as oral appliances, muscle relaxation techniques, and physical therapy are all proven approaches in alleviating TMJ symptoms and the pain they cause.”

Haddad, a dentist since 2001, has provided TMJ treatment to more than 2,000 patients, who come not only from Michigan but as far away as California and England to seek out his expertise in treating TMJ and sleep disorders. In only a few cases has he seen patients require surgery, but their issues were compounded by other non-TMJ related conditions.  He looks at the facts and myths of TMJ to help serve as a consumer guide.

FACTS and MYTHS of TMJ and its treatment options

  • FACT: Successful TMJ treatment options rarely include surgery. Patients told they need surgery for TMJ conditions should seek a second or third opinion from a dentist who practices neuromuscular dentistry, which provides the foundation for comprehensive TMJ treatment and focuses not only on teeth but jaw positioning, jaw muscles and even posture. It does not include cutting into the jaw bone as a treatment option.
  • FACT: While neuromuscular dentistry has been around for more than 50 years, it’s still not part of the curriculum of some dental schools, requiring dentists to obtain ongoing additional training through continuing medical education on their own.
  • FACT: 90% of all TMJ symptoms are muscular in origin.
  • MYTH: TMJ conditions mainly impact women. While there is some debate as to whether testosterone blocks some TMJ pain in men, while estrogen exacerbates it in women, Haddad says there are no formal studies confirming that TMJ tends to be a female condition, nor has he seen an overwhelming number of women versus men in his practice – although he admits men may wait longer to receive treatment.
  • MYTH: A dentist (or physician) can diagnose TMJ by X-rays and a patient’s explanation of symptoms. Dentists who regularly treat TMJ patients have specialized equipment, such as computer diagnostics, to evaluate a patient’s condition and determine if the issue is TMJ-related. Haddad uses computerized jaw tracking equipment and FDA approved dental TENS technology to determine a patient’s optimal bite.
  • MYTH: TMJ can be self-managed through over the counter pain medication. This is only appropriate for mild cases where symptoms are not severe or consistent.
  • MYTH: You have to learn to live with the pain from TMJ.

“Some patients find almost immediate relief with accepted TMJ treatment plans, while others take longer to find sustained relief,” Haddad said. “Pain medication is a temporary fix, not an answer; nor is the flippant advice of some medical professionals to eat soft foods for the rest of your life. It’s important for patients to know that TMJ is treatable when treatment is offered from an experienced dental provider with a committed TMJ practice.”

Among the first dentists in Michigan to offer a comprehensive approach to treat the myriad symptoms of TMJ, Haddad is the only dentist in the state to utilize computerized jaw tracking, muscle relaxation techniques, and laser therapy to treat TMJ disorders.

“TMJ is a complex condition with treatment roots in dentistry, even though symptoms such as ear-ringing and ear congestion, headaches and migraines, jaw-clicking, neck pain and interrupted sleep often have patients turning to a variety of other health providers first before finding relief with dental therapies,” Haddad said, adding that he has had patients referred to him from ENT physicians, primary care physicians, neurologists, dentists, physical therapists, and even chiropractors.

About the Michigan Center for TMJ and Sleep Wellness
The Michigan Center for TMJ and Sleep Wellness is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and was founded in 2013 by dentist, Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad. Dr. Haddad received his undergraduate degree in Psychology in 1997, and his dental degree in 2001, both from the University of Michigan. Since 2001, Dr. Haddad has also maintained another dental practice in Rochester, Michigan with a focus on TMJ and Sleep Disorders, cosmetic dentistry, and full mouth reconstruction. He has been published in numerous dental journals and magazines on a variety of dental topics.  Dr. Haddad has also developed several courses on how to predictably treat complex TMD and OSA patients and trains doctors in these advanced techniques and approaches across the country.  He lectures internationally on TMJ and Sleep Disorders, cosmetic dentistry, and practice marketing.  Learn more at the website.