FAQs

BACKGROUND AND DIAGNOSIS

WHAT IS TMD

TMD refers to all disorders related to the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

WHAT IS THE TMJ, AND IS IT UNIQUE

The TMJ or temporomandibular joint is the joint just in front of the ear that acts as a hinge for the jaw bone or mandible.  As the primary joint involved in both eating and speaking it is the most important single joint in the body.  It is unique in beings the only joint in the body to be composed of fibrocartilage instead of hyaline cartilage.  It also has a unique disk that sits within the joint and is mobile.  Because it is such a complicated joint it is subject to complicated abnormalities.

THE ORIGIN OF THE TMD INSTITUTE

Most TMD patients are treated by dentists with mouth guards.  However, many patients do not respond.  To help these patients, and recognizing that TMD is a joint disorder, Dr. Hatz decided to join forces with internationally renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon Chadwick Prodromos MD – to form the ideal combination of expertise to tackle this problem.  They formed the TMD institute (TMDI) to study and utilize cutting edge yet proven treatments which are described below. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY TMD

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that about ten million Americans suffer from TMD

WHERE DOES THE PAIN COME FROM IN TMD

The TMJ can produce pain from degeneration of the joint or from damage to the unique disk that exists within the joint.

HOW IS TMD DIAGNOSED

It is diagnosed by a combination of the history, physical exam and, in some cases, imaging studies, especially MRI.

WHAT OTHER PROBLEMS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH TMD

Many patients have pain in the jaw muscle or masseter.  This can result in Trismus, or grinding of the teeth.  Others have frontal headache in the temporalis muscle or in the neck muscles.

TREATMENT

HOW HAS TMD USUALLY BEEN TREATED IN THE PAST

Traditional treatment has utilized various mouth guards or other appliances.  These are usually prescribed by your dentist.   We are interested in treating patients for whom this traditional treatment has failed.  Many studies have shown that these treatments may not be beneficial. 

HOW DO YOU TREAT TMD

We utilize platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections as well Low level laser therapy and specialized physical therapy, as described below.

WHY DO YOU HAVE BOTH A DENTIST AND AN ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON EVALUATING PATIENTS

This is a major strength of our program.  While TMD is traditionally a dental problem, the treatment of joint disorders is usually done by Orthopaedic surgeons.  Our program is unique in combining the expertise of these two disciplines. All patients are seen initially for a consultation by Dr. Marilyn Hatz DDS who will design a customized treatment program.    Many patients will also be evaluated by noted Orthopaedic surgeon, Chadwick Prodromos MD: an international leader in platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell treatment.   His Orthopaedic expertise is also of particular value for the associated head and neck pain that often accompanies TMD.

PLATELET RICH PLASMA TREATMENT

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is produced in our office by drawing a small amount of blood and processing it to concentrate the platelets within it for injection into the TMJ.  These platelets contain powerful growth factors that help heal injured tissue naturally, and also anti-inflammatory cytokines to decrease inflammation.  No drugs are used.  Because it is your own tissue you cannot have a reaction to it

STEM CELL TREATMENT

We utilize only your own tissue for stem cell treatment.  These treatments are entirely FDA approved.  Because they use your own tissue you cannot have a reaction to the injection as can occur when foreign substances or pharmaceuticals are used.  Dr Prodromos is a leader in Stem Cell and platelet rich plasma treatment of disorders of the knee, shoulder, hip and other joints.  This expertise is now utilized for the treatment of the TMJ.

COLD LASER TREATMENT

Low level light laser therapy is one of the most exciting advances of the 21st century.  The intensity of the laser is low enough that there is no heat produced no pain and no side effects.  The laser works by two mechanisms.  First it increases blood flow to the area to enhance healing and also increases Nitric Oxide production which is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.  Second it is used to stimulate acupuncture meridians, parasympathetic nerves, which have a direct immunomodulatory anti-inflammatory effect.  The treatments are painless and last for twenty minutes.  Patients often feel immediate benefit both from TMD pain and associated head and neck pain. 

SPECIALIZED PHYSICAL THERAPY

We have two licensed physical therapists with advanced training in the treatment of TMD.  They work to relax and stretch tight muscles and also to release scar tissue.  

Facial Rejuvenation

Q: How do your procedures rejuvenate skin?

A: We use micro needling to allow the growth factors from PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) or stem cells to gain access to the blood flow to the skin to help increase the amount of collagen in the skin.

Q: What is PRP?

A: PRP, platelet rich plasma, is produced by drawing a small amount of blood. It is then centrifuged to remove the red blood cells. Then it is processed to concentrate the platelets in a small amount of plasma and activate them. Read More

See patient testimonials here