TMJ Pain And Surgery: The Mayo Clinic Gets it Wrong

I just read a short article on the Mayo Clinic website regarding TMJ pain and how to get rid of it. The article stated in part:

“In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Severe TMJ disorders may need to be treated with dental or surgical interventions.”

While I appreciate the fact that the Mayo Clinic gives a nod to self-care for TMJ, I am stunned that they would assert that surgery “may” be needed. I am not aware of any research demonstrating the effectiveness of surgery for TMJ problems. And I am not alone – as I will show there is no research that demonstrates the reliability of surgery for TMJ.

When I checked the Mayo clinic’s cited research, one stood out in particular: TMJ. American Academy of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. The academy represents head and neck surgery specialists in the U.S. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the organization sees a need for surgery? Here’s what the surgeons wrote:

“Other treatments for advanced cases may include fabrication of an occlusal splint to prevent wear and tear on the joints, improving the alignment of the upper and lower teeth, and surgery. After diagnosis, your otolaryngologist may suggest further consultation with your dentist and oral surgeon to facilitate effective management of TMJ pain.”

They are saying that some TMJ sufferers may need dental implants and surgery. Ok. But where is their evidence for the use of those techniques? None was provided. No research was cited in the Academy’s article nor on their website. Interesting.

I decided to take a look at the other articles cited by the Mayo Clinic, in particular, the American National Institute of Health (NIH). Here’s what the NIH has to say about TMJ treatments:

“There have been no long-term clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of surgical treatments for TMJ disorders. Nor are there standards to identify people who would most likely benefit from surgery.”

There are no long-term clinical trials to support the effectiveness of surgery for TMJ pain. If that is the case why does the Mayo Clinic say that surgery may be necessary? Why? As for why you should NOT get surgery, think about what the NIH says about it:

“Surgical replacement of jaw joints with artificial implants may cause severe pain and permanent jaw damage. Some of these devices may fail to function properly or may break apart in the jaw over time. If you have already had temporomandibular joint surgery, be very cautious about considering additional operations. Persons undergoing multiple surgeries on the jaw joint generally have a poor outlook for normal, pain-free joint function.”

That’s pretty scary, isn’t it? A person with TMJ problems who gets multiple surgeries has a “poor outlook for pain-free joint function.” Sounds like a surgery “cure” could be much worse than the initial problem.

In short, the Mayo Clinic is wrong. There is no published evidence that surgery is a useful treatment for TMJ pain.

If you or someone you love is experiencing TMJ pain you may want to consider something that does work, my natural TMJ relief series. Do I have research supporting its effectiveness? No. Though I do have Ph.D. work in research psychology, I am not currently conducting research in TMJ treatments. However, my programs do meet the guidelines suggested by the NIH and the NIDH. And most importantly, I offer a guarantee – If they don’t work, contact me and get your money back.

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1 Comment

  1. HEY Ryan, just saw your post…..I have a link you may be interested in … he is a dentist who works with all kinds of patients who have not found relief from their conditions in any other way….he works with building oral “orthotics” for the mouth to help keep the skull bones and joints aligned as somehow they are/have become unstable….not saying Feldenkrais wouldn’t help but after having taken a course to learn how to work inside the mouth called intraoral work and how that complements any other work…..I would have to say my eyes were opened to this alturnative…we watched a video of some other patients of Dr Stack in our class and the results were remarkable….even miraculus in many cases….anyway that is all I will write for now….it is hard to believe what the mayo clinic wrote…. looking forward to hearing back from you soon on my regular email address:

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