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Sensitive hygiensts and tmj-knowledgeable dentist

Feb 2012

We need to find a dentist office that makes us feel really comfortable. I have extremely sensitive teeth with gum recession, so I am incredibly squirmy in the chair when getting my teeth cleaned. Last time I went, the woman scraped my teeth in complete silence. Plus the office was old and uninviting. I like the dentist there a lot, but can't get past the other discomforts. I am also hoping to find a dentist who is knowledgeable about tmj treatment. Anyone know anyone like that? Would prefer to stay in Berkeley and Oakland, but will also travel to Albany, El Cerrito, and even Walnut Creek. dental cleaning blues

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  • Josh Bernstein
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    Doctor for TMJ disorder?

    Dec 2007

    I have long had a TMJ disorder, and I really need to see someone about it. A decade ago I saw an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who made a great retainer/spacer/splint that realigned it perfectly. Unfortunately, it no longer fits. I understand there are several types of physicians one can see for this. I don't have dental coverage, so I'm trying to avoid seeing a dentist, and as far as I can tell, there are no oral and maxillofacial surgeons on my insurance plan (Blue Shield). If anyone out there with experience with this can give me some guidance, I'd appreciate it. Thanks in advance. jaw clicker


    My TMJ/TMD problems are all but history since I worked with Dr Preet Sahoti in Fremont. I strongly recommend that you give her a call. She cured my tension headaches, neckaches and eye strain! 510-744-1414 *Suite 131* 39572 Stevenson Place, Fremont, CA 94539. Alison
    I recommend my chiropractors - Dr. Eileen Karpfinger & Dr. Aaron Rosselle. They practice a number of techniques that would help you - including Tempo Mandibular Technique, which is specifically for TMJ/Jaw issues. They are at Upaya Center for Wellbeing at (510) 444-4443. anon

    Seeking MD or dentist to treat TMJ

    June 2007

    Does anyone have a recent recommendation for a dentist or M.D. who knows what to do about TMJ? After some bad dental work in San Francisco, my friend and I now both have a problem with our bite not occluding correctly, and in my case it has actually caused problems in my jaw joints. Did your treatment involve orthodontics, replacing dental work, etc? Thanks. Dental Despair


    My daughter has TMJ and is going to see an orthdontist in North Berkeley who is super-conscious of TMJ and is taking her jaw health and placement into consideration, not just the straightness of her teeth. The type of practice is called ''functional orthodontics''. His name is Dr. Gary Fredrickson. and his partner is Dr. Marjan Rusta. the number is 526-7546. The office staff are really nice and helpful too. She hasn't started crozats/braces yet, but the whole initial consultation has been great. Nadja
    I have a wonderful doctor to recommend for TMJ. I actually know what TMJ stands for because I used to work for him a long time ago. His name is Dr. Craig McDow and he's in San Francisco on Sutter St. In the medical building. He has been in practice at 450 Sutter since 1990. Dr. McDow has been performing reconstruction, implants and oral surgery since 1985. He placed an implant for me last year and did a fantastic job! I have see him help lots of TMJ patients. 415-989-1050 Bonnie

    Seeking treatment for TMJ and headaches

    Jan 2006

    I'd like some updated information on Dr. Dwight Jennings at the Northern Califiornia Cranio-Facial Diagnostic Center. I've had daily headaches for 2 years that haven't responded to any of the numerous treatments I've tried. I have TMJ (my jaw pops on one side when I open it and I clench and grind my teeth at night), which I assume must be related. I was seen a year ago at the UCSF TMJ clinic and was told it was unrelated to my headaches. However, other postings have complained about UCSF so I want another opinion. Has anyone been seen at the Northern Califiornia Cranio-Facial Diagnostic Center? Was it worth the expense? Monique


    I had jaw issues starting in 1998. I was a student at UCB and they sent me to UCSF. I hated my treatment - muscle relaxers and PT. The PT was painful and the muscle relaxers knocked me out for most of the day. The therapist said the PT should not be painful and recommended to visit the dr again. The dr said just to keep on treatment as is. Needless to say, I went my own way. I ate softer foods for awhile and eventually got a night mouth guard. I am generally all better with episodes every once in awhile. The mouth guard came from my dentist (and insurance paid for it, ~$200. This was my saviour. I hope this info is helpful. Karen
    I'm afraid that I don't know the center of which you are speaking, but I have had severe migraines for 7 years (2-3 times a week) and TMJ for 15 years. My TMJ is almost gone now, thanks to a magnificent practioner: Jennifer Buchannan DDS. X-rays revealed that I had torn a ligament and severely sprained my jaw and the outlook was grim. Thanks to her treatment (and the physical therapist she recommended), I have regained full, normal range of motion in my jaw and am virtually pain-free. She trained at UCSF and only practices on TMD and orofacial pain. Her office is in San Rafael, which is a bit of a drive, but I would fly cross country to get the kind of expertise she provides. Her number is 415 460 1601. Good luck! Laura
    Hi, I haven't had experience with the practice you mentioned, but I did have excellent results with Dr. Harry Hatasaka of Palo Alto some years back. I was like you: daily headaches, extreme jaw pain, etc... mine was so bad I'd wake up with my jaw locked for about 15 minutes each morning. After trying the night guards and muscle relaxers, I finally relented and went to see him. It was fabulous! It took about a month or so of good treatment: therapeutic ultrasound on my jaw, neck and shoulders to heal the joint and surrounding tissues, as well as daily self care: alternating hot and cold packs 4x each 2-3 times a day and Advil. Dr. Hatasaka also did this very serious massage of my neck and shoulders. It was very expensive, but I only had to do one course of therapy. I now just use a night guard with terrific results. If things get tense in my life and I start clenching my teeth at night too much, I continue on with the self care I mentioned above. My jaw does still click (not sure if that will ever go away) but it doesn't hurt nearly as bad and I only get occasional headaches. Mary
    I'm sorry for what you're going through. I was a patient of Dr. Jennings, and would be happy to share my experience with you. You're welcome to email me.

    Please look at Dr. Jennings' website, www.dentalphysician.com, very carefully. He has a self-published article on his website, which isn't easy to read--it's almost entirely one paragraph--but it's very revealing. In the article, he states openly that his aim is to give his patients an open bite. Having an open bite means that your top and bottom back teeth don't meet--which means that you can no longer chew food. He also claims on his website that his treatment is appropriate for illnesses ranging from asthma to vaginal infections.

    For information on TMJ issues and treatment options, see www.tmj.org. This site contains a link to a National Institute of Health conference report on TMJ treatment options, which I found extraordinarily helpful.

    For your headaches, I'd encourage you to talk with a primary care physician about Imitrex (I hope I've spelled that right), if you haven't already. To relieve muscle tension at night, you might want to also discuss Flexerill with your doctor; it's a very inexpensive muscle relaxant, available as a generic, whose only side effect is drowsiness. Other options to consider might be antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin and Cymbalta. Cymbalta in particular is supposed to be helpful with stress-related pain; I haven't tried it, so I can't give a recommendation for it. Perhaps someone else on this list can?.

    Alternatively, or in addition, you might want to get a stabilization splint for night- time use (stabilization splints don't change your bite). I had one made by a prosthodontist where I now live, Dr. Larry Over in Eugene, Oregon. You could call him (541-687-1499) and ask him for a referral to someone in your area. I found that a well-made stabilization splint, with adjustments as needed, was very useful. It prevents night-time clenching.

    I hope this is helpful. You're welcome to contact me for more info. briank


    MD FOR TMJ

    Oct 2005

    I'm looking for an MD to treat chronic TMJ. Recommendations greatly appreciated. Thanks! Christine


    Unfortunately, medical doctors don't tend to treat TMJ disorders; they'll probably refer you to a dentist, and what happens to you will just depend on which dentist you go to. Be very careful, because there's a lot of quackery out there. Before you do anything, go to www.tmj.org. This web site offers an overview of available treatments, and covers which treatments are both controversial and harmful. The site also links to a 1996 report from the National Institute of Health regarding TMJ treatment that is essential reading.

    Here is what I found helpful: three weeks of Valium, and wearing a well-made (i.e. was comfortable and didn't change my bite) stabilization splint (in my case, made by a prosthodontist) for several months. The splint caused $1,500, wasn't covered by insurance, and was worth every penny. I'd refer you to my prosthodontist but he's in Eugene, Oregon. I would specifically caution against proceeding with treatment with any medical or dental professional who says that your problem is the result of a misaligned jaw or a ''bad bite.'' This approach is, in a word, fraud, but it's unfortunately very common. You'll be encouraged to spend huge bucks ($8,000 to $20,000) to buy a repositioning splint to realign your jaw and''fix'' your bite, followed by years of braces: the end result is you'll need expensive crowns to repair the damage. I'd also caution against going to a physical therapist; both because it's very expensive, it's ultimately not helpful, and, in my experience, it's dangerous: an aggressive jaw manipulation displaced the cartilege disk in my jaw joint, causing permanent damage. Best of luck to you (and by the way, there's always the option of doing nothing; for many people, the problems self-resolve within a half year). Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information. briank


    I can recommend Harry Friedman, Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) in Los Gatos. He ahs helped my 25 year old daughter immensely but we ahve not solved the problem completely and need other adjunct services, as yet to be identified...TMJ is very baffling. I sympathesize.

    I am glad you posted this inquiry as I too will be interested in the other responses. Dr. Friedman is tops, though. Worth the drive there. Mother searching for new options


    Halt, in the name of glove! Before I let you turn yourself over to an MD for your TMJ, I must tell you that I've KO'd mine by working with a very skilled cranial practitioner (who is also a licenced acupuncturist). I believe the method she uses is called Biodynamic or something like that. Anyway, she often gloves up and works on the roof of my mouth, and the change has been amazing. I had no idea how much tension my head was holding until it started releasing.

    Her name is Lucia Castillo, and she's the most gentle (and incredibly intuitive & nurturing) practitioner of any kind I've ever had. Her office is near the Berkeley Whole Foods and you can reach her at 510-204-9664. Good luck! Susan


    Dentist sensitive to TMJ

    Feb 2003

    I am looking for a dentist in the greater Berkeley area that is good for patients with TMJ. I have avoided going to the dentist for 2 years because of the pain I feel after having my teeth cleaned or other dental work. I have been diagnosed and treated for TMJ and remain pain free most of the time. A trip to the dentist, however, can aggrevate my jaw and cause pain for weeks after. Anyone out there know of a TMJ-sensitive dentist? No more pain in the jaw


    TMJ is pretty awful, especially when you are having dental work done. Dr. Meeta Doshi, DDS, PDC, has always given my TMJ condition careful consideration when she does any work on my teeth. She is both professional and kind. Her office is across the street from Alta Bates in Berkeley. The phone number is 510 843-9572. Caroline
    My dentist, Penelope Yip (2821 Telegraph), is great and did additional training in TMJ. She is extremely thorough and is the first denist I've had who has explained many things. Her number is 841-7421. Karen

    Dentist TMJ & Pain Sensitive Patient

    Oct 2003

    I need to find a dentist who understands TMJ (gives lots of jaw rest breaks during procedures) and can manage very pain sensitive patient (not anxiety). Berkeley/Albany etc. area, non-mercury fillings and well-run office a must. I have checked all the related archival posts. anon


    My dentist Dr. Fred Pockrass would be able to accomodate all of your requests. He has a totally mercury free office. He has a lot of ways to keep your mind off the pain or annoyance of your dental work - headphones with relaxing music, videos of waves crashing on the beach, and, best of all, a massage therapist who gives incredible foot rubs while your teeth are being worked on. He is on Ashby near the Claremont at (510) 841-3040. looking forward to my next dentist appointment!
    I recommend my dentist highly. She's not a TMJ specialist, but I suffer from TMJ (I wear a guard nightly, my jaw used to lock for hours/days) and they are very sensitive to my needs. They were even able to remake my night guard when the need arose -- and it took a few tries to get it just right. They were willing to do whatever was necessary -- even schedule a weekend visit which is not regularly available, to get the job done. They also manage patient pain well. I had two fillings done yesterday and she applied a topical anesthetic before injecting the local anesthetic, so that I never felt a thing. She told me she's even had patients who've brought along acupuncturists to manage pain.

    Her name is Dr. Aviva Scherman. The drawback is that she's in SF on Howard Street. But during non-rush hours it's a very quick drive or BART ride. Their number is (415) 371-1300. Good luck! Stacey


    I have THE BEST dentist who does EVERYTHING and then some, that you are looking for. Her name is Meeta Doshi. She is in Berkeley right across from Alta Bates. Her staff is wonderful, she is wonderful, and her approach to dentistry is exceptional. I have tried several dentists and not a single one compares to this gentle, friendly, VERY GOOD dentist. I can't locate her number right this minute because I am at work and don't have it here, but I know she's listed. Good Luck! Jessica
    I also have TMJ and my dentist is great. I have been going to that office for the past 15 years or so and to her (she is one of two dentists in the office) for about the past 10 years. She has a couple of TMJ patients and, although she does not specialize/treat TMJ per se, she is kind, patient and understanding of TMJ pain. I would recommend her highly: Dr. Veronica Chang, on Telegraph (near Ashby), 845-1931. MK

    Looking for orthodontist who specializes in jaw problems

    July 2002

    I am looking for an orthodontist who has experience with jaw problems and jaw surgery. I live in Hercules, so someone north of Berkely is preferred, but I am willing to drive as far as Oakland, San Francisco, or Walnut Creek. I have read the previous recommendations, but these are not specific to jaw problems. Here's the background: As a young child I suffered an injury to my right jaw joint. The injury didn't cause any problems until much later. I went through 4 years of braces, headgear, retainer, etc without regard to any jaw problems. Towards the last year of my orthodonia treatment, I began having pain in my left jaw joint. My orthodontist dismissed the pain. The pain continued to get worse, and I continued to ask my orthodontist about it. It wasnt' until my jaw started locking four years later that my orthodontist took my pain seriously (I was young, so I didn't realize that I should get a second opinion). He then sent me to a specialist. It turned out that due to my earlier injury the bone on the right side of my jaw had stunted growth where my left side grew normally. My orthodonia work was forcing my bite to stay centered, putting extreme pressure on the left jaw joint. I was promptly given a mouth piece that allowed my jaw to move freely to where it needed to be to and at the same time, I lost my bite entirely (my top teeth and bottom teeth do not connect, so I cannot eat without my mouth peice). The specialist indicated that I would need to have jaw surgery to cut out part of the left jaw bone, and go through several years of braces, etc. again. He warned that it is extrememly important that I get someone who knows what they are doing and is familiar with jaw problems, jaw trauma, and jaw surgery, since my jaw has been through serious stress. At the time, he said that there was no hurry to move forward, so I put this off - - being pain free has been my main concern. Now, 15 years later, I know that I need to deal with this. All of my treatment took place in Colorado, and both my orthodontist and my specialist are now retired anyway. If my mouth piece breaks, I will be in serious trouble, so I need to take action. I am terrified of starting orthodontia again with someone who is not an expert with this type of problem, and potentially ending up with the pain that I previously was experiencing. So, any recommendations for orthodontits that specialize in jaw problems, and that are extremely thorough in their work, and LISTEN to their patients would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Marie


    I don't know an orthodontist but know of an excellent dentist -- Dr. Charles Mohn -- in San Francisco who specializes in jaw problems. He was recommended to my husband by the myofacial pain clinic at UCSF after he had gotten an infection in his jaw. He is absolutely incredible and very intelligent. His number is 415-781-2269 Ramsey
    To the person seeking advise regarding Orthodontist -Jaw Problem Experience - Dr. Dwight Jennings at Northern Califiornia Cranio- Facial Diagnostic Center is amazing! I have somewhat of the same problem and have been under his care for nearly 1 1/2 years. He is located in Alameda (Oakland border), but would be well worth the 45 minute drive from your area. He is an orthodontist/miracle worker that specializes in TMJ disorder. His number is 510-522-6828 and his address is 875 B Island Drive, Alameda. See the website at http://www.dentalphysician.com/work.htm. Feel free to email me directly if you would like more information. Good Luck! Anon

    Looking for East Bay dentist specializing in TMJ

    March 2002

    I'm looking for an East Bay dentist specializing in TMJ. My current dentist made an acryllic mouth guard for me to wear at night, but the bite's not correct. I've heard that a new development is to build up the canines and use them as ''sliders''. Does anyone have experience with this, or a great East Bay tmj dentist to recommend? Thanks for any responses. night grinder


    I recommend going straight to specialists: your problems might be beyond the scope of a regular dentist. UCSF has a TMD clinic, as does the University of the Pacific. UCSF just diagnosed my chronic jaw and neck pain as severe oseoarthritis. (UOP missed it, but they are great for simpler matters.) Anyway, for me, the lack of early intervention means lots and lots of bone damage. May your problems be easier and your diagnosis quicker! http://dentistry.ucsf.edu/p_i.htm Jenifer
    I found having a few visits with Dr. Linda Centori, a psychologist who specializes in chronic pain and TMJ and is affiliated with the UCSF School of Dentistry, very helpful. She knows all the TMJ specialists in the Bay Area, and can match you up with someone appropriate. Dr. Centori's phone number is (415) 502-6301. I'd also recommend visiting www.tmj.org, the web site for the TMJ Association. This site covers all the assorted treatment options for TMJ.

    Close to two years ago, I sent a posting to the Recommendations Digest about TMJ specialists (now archived.) At the time, I recommended University of the Pacific, as well as a pain management specialist at the Kentfield Rehabiliation Center, Dr. Marvin Zwerin. For the record, UOP's TMJ treatment plan turned out to be worthless: very expensive (close to $3,000.00), caused permanent damage to my bite, and did nothing for my pain. I no longer recommend them, needless to say, nor do I recommend Zwerin, who referred me to UOP. MarinaH


    Seeking general advice about TMJ

    April 2000

    I've been having some problems with my TMJ joint and have gotten a referral to Dr. Brian Krey. Does anyone have any experience with him? Also, any general advice about TMJ would be appreciated - what sorts of treatments are out there for someone with relatively mild pain and soreness? Any ways to prevent progression of joint damage?


    Brian
    I've never heard of this doctor, so I can't comment on him. However, I can recommend the University of the Pacific's Dental School; they have a TMJ Center and they actually seem to know what they're doing.

    TMJ is kind of a blanket term; there isn't a one-size-fits-all treatment. I felt U O P was terrific at actually figuring out what was specifically wrong with me. One other thing that I found helpful: The Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital Pain Treatment Center, in (you guessed it) Kentfield. I saw Dr. Marvin Zwerin (he's in a lot of medical plans), and he's really (really, really) good. (He also has TMJ problems himself occasionally and is very sympathetic.) Best of luck. WHatever you do, don't go to a physical therapist or chiropractor...it's very easy to get hurt...and definitely stay away from UCSF's Center for Orofacial Pain. I found them extremely cold. They failed to diagnose a jaw misalignment, and instead attributed the problem entirely to stress. They wasted a lot of my money and time. Stress is quite possibly a component of TMJ, but it's not necessarily the whole story.


    Have you done cranio-sacrial therapy for TMJ?

    August 2000

    My dentist has recommended sacrial-cranial (or is it cranial-sacrial?) therapy for my TMJ pain. Has anyone done this? Is there a practitioner that they like? Is it New Age voodoo or proven science? Can they hurt you? All I've been able to find out on my own is that it's expensive. Marina


    My husband and I brought our newborn to a cranio-sacrial therapist to help us with some breast feeding problems. Before we started treatment, I too was a bit skeptical the therapy. However, after just one session I was a very impressed with the results. Nursing went from a very painful experience (bloody nipples from chomping) to a wonderful bonding time. (This was our second child so it just wasn't a matter of inexperience on my part). Gail
    We went to Kathy Adachi who is located in Point Richmond. Her number is 510-237-7899. She works with adults as well as children, but is quite popular, so you may have to wait a bit for an appointment. (By the way, the lactation consultant who turned us on to cranio-sacrial therapy is Sylvia Boyd. Her e-mail address is sylviaboyd at juno.com. I highly recommend her as well.
    My mother is a physical therapist ("retired" now) but she has done some craniosacral therapy on me before, and in my case, it worked wonders. It was for headaches while pregnant. It was very gentle and soothing. Other than that, I don't know much about it. But I do know the name of a woman who does craniosacral work (she is an occupational therapist too). Her name is Nancy Sabin and her number is 528-9161 in Berkeley. I honestly don't know if that is her home or work number (although she does some work out of her home), and I'm pretty sure she still does the craniosacral work. She did massage/body work on me while I was pregnant which was fabulous, and she was just starting to get into birth trauma "stuff" (can't think of the right term) last time I saw her. A very nice, nurturing person. Hilary
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