Learn About the TMJ Treatment Process
If you decide to move forward with TMJ treatment, it’s important to understand the process and time commitment involved.
Free Cure Consult
The first step towards a pain-free life is coming to TMJ and Sleep Center for a free cure consult. Here, Dr. Insolera will perform an initial assessment, including a review of your posture, smile, and jaw movement. He will also discuss what proper function looks like and whether you might benefit from treatment. You come out of the cure consult with a better understanding about how TMJ is affecting you. When you decide to continue, you’ll schedule a follow up exam.
In the first exam, you will complete a personal health history, including symptoms. Then, the team will perform tomography of each joint position in relation to the skull and then trigger point palpation of muscles. We will also take measurements of your jaw and neck range of motion.
Dr. Insolera will review your scans with you, point out any vulnerabilities, and determine if treatment is necessary. If so, you’ll learn more about next steps. Since treatment is so personalized, this will not look the same for everyone. You will learn what the process will be, and how much effort you need to put in. Our support team will also review the financial commitment of TMJ treatment and your financing options with you. Expect to spend 60 minutes in this exam appointment.
If you decide to move forward with treatment, your next step is to schedule your first two appointments.
Phase one provides the foundation of your cure and resets your jaw and bite to proper alignment. It lasts over 8 months due to how long you wear each orthotic. First, you start with two splints. These are worn for one week each, and act as a base to prepare yourself for the measured neuromuscular orthotics. You will wear the splits 24/7, except when eating.
Phase 1 consists of 4 parts:
- 1 week with first splint
- 1 week with second splint
- Approximately 4 months with 1st orthotic
- Approximately 4 months with 2nd orthotic
Impressions for your first splint can be taken after the exam and treatment plan are agreed upon. This might happen at the end of your exam or in the first visit within Phase 1.
In the second appointment, you’ll receive your second splint. We will then use our neuromuscular computer to measure proper functional placement for your orthotic. Expect this appointment to take two+ hours. Because of this extended period, we typically schedule the second appointment first and then back up a week to schedule the first.
In week three, we’ll give you your orthotic. You will wear this device for four months. During this time, you wear your orthotic 24/7. It is your bodyguard and protector. It only creates function and doesn’t allow dysfunction to occur. With consistent use, muscles respond favorably. It stays in while you eat and sleep, working to correct all motions your jaw is performing and create function where there was dysfunction.
In addition to 24/7 orthotic wear, you will revisit the office for monthly checkup and orthotic adjustment. As muscles get stronger, the bite changes. We will also be monitoring the changes in forward head posture. Within 3-4 months, we will take X-Ray confirmation of bite and posture to confirm improvements.
After this, you’ll be refitted for a second orthotic. The second one is also worn for four months. You will continue your monthly visits and adjustments during this period. We will also start to give patients options on Phase 2 Treatment. After Phase 1, we will ensure you have proper jaw position.
After eight months with orthotics, you’ll enter Phase 2. This phase will be customized to each patient and will concentrate on creating the proper functional bite position without an orthotic. Proper tooth position is created to replace the existing orthotic.
Phase 2 treatment options will be discussed during your Phase 1 second orthotic treatment (over 3-4 visits). Phase two can last anywhere between ten to sixteen months. It is a customized treatment plan for each patient.
How Much Does TMJ Treatment Cost?
After reading all about time and effort involved in curing your TMJ, you are probably curious about the price. TMJ and Sleep Center is a fee for service healthcare provider, which is a traditional payment method. Rather than bundling your treatment together and worrying about the cost all at once, it is broken down and billed on individual visits. This is beneficial because not only are you not getting a lump sum at one time, but treatment costs will vary based on your treatment plan.
TMJ centers traditionally struggle when it comes to allowing insurance. This is because your insurance company will push you towards a regular dentist, who will most likely recommend a retainer and braces. However, that doesn’t mean you are completely out of luck.
After the free cure consult, your first exam is around $325. Following this, treatment begins. There is a possibility of getting the first phase of treatment covered by medical insurance depending on your insurance provider. You will have to discuss your plan with them, and possibly look into out-of-network options. Phase two could fit under dental insurance if it includes orthodontic care.
We also recommend options such as carecredit.com, which provides options for interest free financing for your medical costs. This credit card is used specifically for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by medical insurance, and has different plans to help you pay it off over time.
Learn More Before Starting
Still not sure you’re ready to start your TMJ treatment process? Listen to our podcast to hear directly from Dr. Insolera, and hear stories from past patients. When you’re ready, reach out to TMJ & Sleep Center to schedule your free cure consult.