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FDA Looking At Conditions That Impact Quality Of Life

Author: Donald Tanenbaum DDS MPH - Board-Certified Orofacial Pain Specialist at New York TMJ & Orofacial Pain

Date: December 11, 2014


There are hopes that TMD will be included.

I’m happy to announce some great news. The FDA (The Food & Drug Administration) is taking a closer look at medical conditions that can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Starting in 2016 the FDA will hold public meetings with the goal of determining the impact on daily life of 20 chosen diseases, and to look at the scope of services that are available to treat these conditions.

The TMJ Association is making huge efforts to have TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) chosen as one of the diseases that will be focused on. That TMJ problems affect your quality of life is not news if you are one of estimated 35 million Americans who suffer from it every day.

Chronic pain problems, like TMD, rarely occur alone. It is estimated that 85% of TMD patients have other chronic pain conditions such as headaches, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorders, or vulvodynia. In many cases these conditions are so complicated that patients don’t know where to turn to for care. As a matter of fact, I see many patients every week who have been told that they will never get better and that their problem is in “the head.”

If chosen as one of the conditions to be studied by the FDA, more information will be made readily available to you, the public, as to the nature of TMD and the treatments that are available.

Here are some facts about TMD that more people need to know:

  • TMD problems are orthopedic in nature.
  • TMD problems may be the result of (or aggravated by) rheumatologic, autoimmune or neurologic conditions.
  • Women are the largest group with TMJ symptoms as a result of specific biologic predispositions, some of which are hormone-driven.
  • Common TMJ problems may be the result of an accident, overusing the jaws, bad posture, teeth grinding (bruxism), or muscle tension caused by by emotions and life’s challenges.
  • Treatment for TMJ disorders should not focus merely on the teeth; the ultimate goal should be tissue healing and change of habits.
  • Getting better typically will lead to less pain, less medication, better function and increased optimism in people who before had anticipated a lifetime of suffering.

The same as with other orthopedic problems, after treatment patients may still have some pain, but it is likely that it will be at a much more tolerable level.

For all of you TMD/TMJ sufferers out there, the fact that the FDA has recognized that it’s time for this type of condition to be validated is welcome news. The result will be more access to information and thus, more access to treatment.


Dr. Donald Tanenbaum is a specialist with offices in New York City and Long Island, NY. He is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat problems associated with facial painTMJ, and headaches.

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, we in no way offer a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendation for your particular situation. Our intent is solely educational and our responses to your actual questions serve as a springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in a day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified professional.

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