A new organization launched this month with the goal of conducting research and educating people with TMJ disorders and facial palsy. The Foundation for Facial Recovery aims to be a resource for healthcare providers so that they can properly diagnose facial palsy and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
According to the Foundation’s news release on Globe Newswire, the Board of Directors has seven members with business or medical backgrounds, but none of the members are dentists. This oversight leaves an entire field of medicine out of the research and treatment possibilities for the patients and providers the Foundation hopes to reach, risking further pain, discomfort, and complications for those with facial palsy or TMJ disorders.
A Necessary Mission
We sorely need something like the Foundation for Facial Recovery. When people receive a diagnosis of TMJ or facial palsy, or–as is too often the case–get no diagnosis at all just a confusing array of symptoms, they often don’t know where to turn. Their doctors often can’t give them the information they need, and they don’t understand that there are treatments available.
The Foundation’s mission, to help people get access to this information so they can get the best TMJ and facial palsy treatments available, will hopefully reduce this confusion.
People will be directed to the information that’s available, and through research better information will become available so that we can all make more informed decisions about treatment options.
How are TMJ Disorders and Facial Palsy Related?
TMJ, sometimes called TMD, can be caused by a misalignment of any of the bones, tendons, nerves, or muscles that make up your temporomandibular joint or jaw system, which also involves your teeth, skull, and spine. The muscle weakness associated with facial palsy can cause TMJ, as the facial muscles surrounding your jaw are severely weakened or numb. Other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease can also misalign the jaw. Without a board member from a dentistry background, the Foundation for Facial Recovery could leave out the many tooth and jaw related causes of TMJ Disorder.
Common symptoms of TMJ include pain and pressure in the face, neck, shoulders and back , migraines, or popping or clicking in your jaw, but vary from person to person. Not having a dentist on the board of the Foundation can lead to TMJ disorders being misdiagnosed, as a neuromuscular dentist’s perspective, such as that of Dr. Kevin Berry, includes problems caused by teeth, bone, nerves, and muscles.
Treatments for Facial Palsy and TMJ
At the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado, neuromuscular dentist Dr. Kevin Berry will listen to your symptoms and dental history, as well as conduct an evaluation of your teeth, jaw, and surrounding areas to figure out what precisely is causing your TMJ or TMD pain. After carefully considering the specific cause of your pain, Dr. Berry will come up with a non-invasive treatment plan with you that will realign your joints in a way that fits your lifestyle.
Treatments include a bite splint to prevent teeth grinding and keep the jaw in place at night, braces to move the teeth and jaw into a better position, or dental reconstruction for a balanced bite. Even after facial palsy or movement disorders have resolved, the effects of a misaligned temporomandibular joint can continue to cause discomfort and pain, so it is important to continue to get TMJ symptoms treated.
Hopefully the Foundation for Facial Recovery will be able to educate patients and providers about TMJ symptoms and causes from the dental perspective of teeth and surrounding muscular tissue, despite not having a dentist on the Board of Directors.
Start Your Treatment
If you find that you suffer from symptoms of TMJ, facial palsy, or a movement disorder and are ready to begin exploring treatment plans, schedule an appointment at Dr. Berry’s Denver office at (303) 691-0267.