Finding a dentist that treats TMJ disorders–or problems associated with the temporomandibular joints on either side of the face–is a simple process. Although there is no specialty certification for treatment of TMJ disorders, many dentists focus their practices on patients with TMJ problems. Relying on resources developed by professional organizations like the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, dental schools and state dental societies is the key to finding a TMJ dentist.
Search through American Academy of Orofacial Pain
1. Visit the web site of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, www.aaop.org, to search for dentists that treat TMJ disorders. Find a link to the search site in References.
2. Select your state in the drop down box.
3. Review the list of dentists in your state who treat TMJ disorders, as well as their office addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and web sites. You may want to evaluate the list by focusing on dentists that are closest to you. You may also want to consider asking whether these dentists accept certain kinds of dental insurance, whether they consider alternative therapies for pain management, or if their practice focuses on a particular patient demographic, such as children, teens or adults.
Search through the nearest dental school
4. Contact the closest dental school. A list of American dental schools is available on the ADA’s web site, ada.org. A link is available in References.
5. Ask which faculty members at the dental school treat TMJ. Request a list, if possible.
6. Schedule an appointment with one of the dentists who treat TMJ disorders at the school. During your appointment, you may want to consider asking the dentist whether she focuses on a particular method of pain management, what types of insurance she accepts, what special training she has taken in order to effectively treat TMJ disorders, and where she completed her training. Much of this information may be available on the dental school’s website, since faculty members at accredited dental schools must complete years of specialized training.
Search through state dental societies
7. Locate your state dental society by directing your web browser to the ADA’s web site at ada.org. A full link is available in References.
8. Locate your state’s dental society on the list. Click the link for your state’s society to view detailed information, including telephone and FAX numbers, e-mail address, web site address, location and officers.
9. Contact the staff and ask which dentists in your state treat TMJ. Ask the staff what kinds of specialized training your state requires in order to specialize in TMJ disorders, or if there is a particular certification program that the state dental society offers to recognize TMJ dentists.