Your First Visit…
When you arrive for your first visit, we will sit down to have what we call a diagnostic conversation. In this conversation, we will ask you many questions about your symptoms, their history, and any relevant changes in your medical and/or dental profile. We will ask questions about your sleep, life changes, and stressors that you may be confronting.
Next, we’ll examine how your jaw functions from an orthopedic perspective, focusing not only on the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) but also on the muscles of your jaw, head, and neck. We will be looking for clues to determine the origins of your pain, the clicking or popping in your jaw joint, or your jaw motion limitations. We will also perform a soft tissue oral examination, assess your tooth-related structures and check to make sure that the nerves that serve the orofacial region are functioning in a normal way.
Based on our diagnostic conversation and examination, we may take X-rays or CT scans of the dental structures, your TM joints, and other neighboring anatomy. At times we may also refer you to obtain an MRI, blood tests, or a consultation with another physician.
Certainly, if you are suffering from pain at your first visit, there are various ways we can try to offer you relief right away. Anesthetic nerve blocks, trigger point injections, prolotherapy, BOTOX®, or steroid injections can be offered at your first visit to assist in the formulation of a diagnosis or to start the process of tissue healing.
Regardless of how uncomfortable you may be right now, this careful approach to assessment is time-tested and likely the first step to feeling better.