New Advance in TMJ and Headache Treatment Comes to Madison, MS
DR. COLE FORTENBERRY ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
There are over 80 million Americans that suffer from chronic temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, chronic headaches, and migraines. Many of these conditions have dental force related imbalances that either cause or aggravate these issues. Patients suffering from these symptoms should not only see their physician, but should also consider seeing their dentist.
The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include headache, face pain, and aches in and around your ear. People with TMJ problems may also experience a sense of dizziness or imbalance and feel like their ears are clogged or ringing.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ disorders are the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal conditions after chronic low back pain. TMJ disorders affect 5 to 12 percent of the population, and women are twice as likely as men to experience TMJ disorders. Most people who have TMJ problems experience temporary but recurring pain that may go away on its own. However, some cases result in long term problems.
According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches. About 20 percent of children and adolescents also have significant headaches. And according to the American Migraine Foundation, 36 million Americans (about 12 percent of the population) suffer from migraine headaches. One-in-four households in America have a member with migraines. Migraines are three times more common in women than men, with migraines affecting 30 percent of women over a lifetime.
Many people who suffer from TMJ/Headache problems have spent significant time and money looking for a solution. They have visited multiple health care professionals and tried various medications and therapies without much relief. Now, a new diagnostic and treatment system has been introduced to dental offices called TruDenta. This leading edge technology allows professionals to quickly pinpoint possible problems, that when properly treated can decrease or alleviate pain.
Local dentist Dr. Cole Fortenberry has been implementing the TruDenta system and has experienced great success in helping this group of patients achieve significant pain relief. His Madison dental practice performs a wide variety of dental procedures, but has a special focus on helping people with TMJ dysfunction.
Q: Dr. Fortenberry, when a patient who has suffered from chronic TMJ pain, headaches, or migraines comes to you, what is done initially to determine what could be a factor in their symptoms?
Dr. Fortenberry: Most patients we see have already seen their physician to rule out any life threatening or organic pathologies. Our office uses new technologies to allow us to screen patients using a digital bite force analyzer to measure the different dynamic forces in the mouth (musculature, joints, and teeth) to pinpoint imbalances. This allows us to determine the type of treatment or combination of therapies that might be needed. We also use a computerized tool that measures the cervical range of motion and identifies dysfunction or disability in the muscles of the head and neck. In an in-office screening appointment, we can determine whether the patient’s TMJ pain is related to improper or imbalanced forces.
Q: Does the program involve pain, needles, or drugs? No, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite. There is no pain whatsoever with our treatments. The TruDenta treatments are conservative and non-invasive, and the program is specifically designed to help decrease pain and reduce the need for medicines. Patients report that the therapies are very relaxing and most begin experiencing pain relief after one or two treatments.
Q: Give us an example of the kinds of treatments you might perform on a chronic TMJ pain sufferer. Because TMJ dysfunction, headache, and migraine sufferers have many sensitivities that can trigger pain, our treatment plans are designed to be slow, conservative, and effective. We use a combination of FDA approved medical devices to reduce inflammation and restore blood flow in the muscles and TMJ. Additionally we use low-level cold laser therapy to help restore energy at a cellular level. We also use a specially designed mouth orthotic that helps restore normal function in the TMJ, and then selectively correct the bite imbalances with the aid of our digital bite analysis system. The thing that really makes this system unique is the blend of treatments: some that target muscles and nerves—combined with advanced dental treatments targeting TMJ dysfunction and bite imbalance.
Q: What kind of results have you seen? The results have been amazing. We have treated a number of patients who have been plagued with severe TMJ pain, headaches, and migraines for more than 10 years, robbing them of countless hours of their lives every week. These patients come into my office desperate for help. When you can help take away or reduce their pain in a matter of weeks, it becomes a life-changing experience for that patient. As a healthcare professional, helping my patients become free of pain is the most rewarding part of my practice.
Q: In what other ways can the TruDenta technology and training you have received be used? The TruDenta system is not only effective on patients with TMJ problems, but also patients who clench or grind their teeth or who have tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Q: Is treatment affordable? Are there options to pay for it? What about insurance coverage? We strive to make the cost of care affordable, with treatments ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the number and types of treatments needed. Certain insurance plans cover the treatment, and financing is available.
Q: How can we find out more about the TruDenta system? Visit www.smile4alifetime.com for more information and to see patient testimonials, or call 601-853-3565 to schedule your consultation in our office.
Dr. Fortenberry is a general dentist that has been in practice in Madison, MS, since 1990. He is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Mississippi Dental Association (MDA).