Pawlowicz Dentistry: Innovative TMJ Treatments for Teens and Adults
Feb 27, 2015 06:40PM
By Vanessa Orr
When Dena and Michael Koenig’s son, Mikey, got a concussion two years ago, the 13-year-old began having severe migraine headaches that wouldn’t go away. Though he’d been to see a neurologist, his pain continued for months until a friendly conversation between Koenig and Dr. John Pawlowicz, a neuromuscular dentist, resulted in a new form of treatment.
“My son goes to the same school as Dr. John’s children, and I was telling him about Mikey’s headaches. He offered to come by the house with some equipment to see if the headaches were vascular or muscular, and was able to diagnose Mikey with a severe case of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder),” said Koenig, adding that the home visit was especially appreciated because the headaches made it difficult for Mikey to ride in a car.
With the help of an ULF (Ultra Low Frequency) TENS machine, which uses mild electrical impulses to loosen the muscles of the face and jaw area, Dr. John Pawlowicz and Dr. Jason Pawlowicz of Pawlowicz Dentistry were able to relax the muscles around Mikey’s jaw, and then bring it back into alignment. “Instead of just masking the pain with medicine, they took the time to figure out what was really wrong,” said Koenig. “Now Mikey gets through every day without a headache. And they not only took away his pain, but they treated him like he was their own child.”
It’s not surprising that the Pawlowiczs treat their patients like family—their father, Dr. John S. Pawlowicz, Jr., started the practice back in 1964, and is still caring for patients today. “We say it’s ‘our family caring for your family,’ and we really mean that,” said Dr. John Pawlowicz, III. “We understand that dental issues can adversely affect people’s quality of life, and we want to help.”
In addition to providing traditional dental services, Pawlowicz Dentistry also specializes in neuromuscular dentistry (NMD), which focuses on bringing a patient’s teeth, muscles and joints back into harmony. Neuromuscular dentists target the hard and soft tissues, muscles and nerves in order to correctly align patients’ jaws and alleviate pain. Of the 165,000 trained dentists in the United States and Canada, only 7,000 are trained in neuromuscular dentistry, including Dr. John, who trains other prospective neuromuscular dentists and lectures nationwide on the topic of patient care and treatment.
“We see a number of patients from other dental offices who go to their regular dentists for cleanings, but who come to us for issues that nobody else is able to solve,” said Dr. Jason Pawlowicz. “The state-of-the-art tools that we use give us the ability to diagnose and treat problems before they become too severe; I can’t tell you how many patients tell me, ‘I wish that I had found you years ago.’” The practice’s patients come from as far away as Clarion and Erie, PA, Texas, the District of Columbia, Florida and New York to take advantage of the dentists’ advanced education and expertise.
Kim Thiele, of Butler, began going to Pawlowicz Dentistry 3-1/2 years ago after her physical therapist recommended it. “I had extremely tight muscles in my neck, and the pain kept spreading,” she explained. “My doctor sent me to physical therapy for TMJ issues, which wasn’t helping, and they said that I might need a neuromuscular dentist. I asked, ‘What in the world is that?’”
After an i-CAT scan, it was determined that Thiele’s bite was off. She began ULF TENS treatment, as well as began wearing an orthotic device on her bottom jaw full-time to move her bite down and forward for optimal muscle function. “There’s still some tightness, but the headaches are going away and the muscles are loosening,” said Thiele. “I accumulated this pain over six or seven years, so it will take a while to reverse, but since starting TENS and wearing an additional nighttime sleep appliance, I’m not clenching and gritting my teeth as much.”
Patients come to Pawlowicz Dentistry for the relief of many different symptoms. These can include headaches, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, a reduced ability to open or close the mouth, dull, aching facial pain, earaches, migraines, jaw pain or tenderness, and neck and shoulder pain, among others. “For the longest time, the technology to diagnose these symptoms was available, but it was cost-prohibitive,” explained Dr. John. “As the technology evolved, however, it’s made these diagnostic tools more affordable.”
Always at the forefront of the latest technology, the dentists added TruDenta to their practice in 2014 as a way to treat headaches, TMD and TMJ pain, and more. “The TruDenta system provides a way for us to evaluate the biting force on each tooth, which is beneficial to patients with excessive tooth wear, broken teeth or root recession,” explained Dr. John. “Also, instead of using a hot laser that cuts tissue, TruDenta uses cold laser therapy that regenerates tissue and provides pain modification.”
Other innovative technologies that are being offered at the practice include Cerec impressionless models and sedation dentistry.
“Impressionless models are good for two reasons; first, patients will find it more comfortable because they do not have to bite down on goopy molds, and it also takes the human error out of the fabrication process for bridges and crowns, which require very precise work,” said Dr. Jason. “Using the Cerec method, crown restoration can be completed in a single appointment.”
By partnering with a board-certified anesthesiology group, Pawlowicz Dentistry can also provide sedation dentistry for patients with high anxiety. “We are able to put patients into a light twilight sleep or a deep sleep, which enables us to do whatever dental work is required in a way that is more comfortable for the patient,” Dr. Jason continued.
“It’s not just about dentistry, it’s about quality of life,” he added. “If I’ve had one, I’ve had 100 patients who we treated say, “I didn’t even know you could do this.”
For more information on Pawlowicz Dentistry, call 724-287-4000 or visit www.wowsmilenow.com.
This advertorial has been provided by Pawlowicz Dentistry.