TMJ Therapy Standard of Care


TMJ Therapy is a complex area of dentistry and is not a recognized specialty area. There is a dilemma that dentists face when they promote themselves as practitioners who can help patients with TMJ problems in that they may feel the need to hold themselves out as experts in this particular area of dentistry, but it can be considered unethical for dentists to use certain words in proclaiming their expertise. So the initial problem a treating dentist may face is a crossing of that ethical boundary by making claims such as being a TMJ specialist, or being a TMJ dentist, without a disclaimer that there is really no such thing. A dental board would consider that deceptive advertising.

Elements of the standard of care for TMJ therapy

A dentist truly needs additional training, above and beyond basic dental school training, to be able to successfully deliver complex TMJ therapy. Studying at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Studies, or the Piper Clinic, all located in Florida, would be recognized as providing excellent training for this.

A dentist needs to be careful with the promises and representations made to the patient. Achieving relief of pain cannot always be predicted, and a dentist can get in trouble when promises of relief are not realized.

What would be the standard upon which the profession would judge the competence of TMJ care?

Common instances of dental malpractice involving TMJ disorders

The most common problems here would be iatrogenic TMJ disorders, in other words, TMJ problems caused by faulty dental care. These could involve:

  • Traumatic extractions. If a patient notices pain in the jaw joint or clicking or other noises beginning right after a tooth extraction appointment, the dentist, by using excessive force in the extraction, could have caused the problem.
  • Failure to warn a patient about the consequences of extractions. Sometimes, dentists will take out teeth and fail to adequately warn a patient about the long term consequences of those extractions. Following the loss of teeth, other teeth can drift and the patient's bite can be disrupted so much that it can lead to spasms in the muscles of mastication, causing chronic headaches, inability to open or close the mouth completely, or other symptoms.
  • Faulty restorative dentistry. Crowns and bridges, or dental implants, can be placed without being properly adjusted to fit the bite of the patient. This can also lead to symptoms of TMJ disorder, including pain, headaches, tinnitus, noises in the jaw joint, or limitation of opening.






Phoenix Dentist Dr. Arthur Chal

Contact Information

Dr. Arthur Chal
4715 N. 32nd St. Suite 106
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Telephone: (602) 957-5000

Fax: 602-957-0055

Office Hours:

Monday - Thursday 8 am -5 pm
Mountain Standard Time

(Note: Arizona is always on Standard Time. It does not observe Daylight Savings Time.)




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