Wow, a jaw physiotherapist! I didn’t know that existed!
I often get this comment. Not many people realize that this specialized form of physical therapy exists.
Still, I think it makes sense: the temporomandibular joint and the surrounding muscles and joints form a complex interplay. Problems with the temporomandibular joint can lead to pain and limited mobility of the jaw, for example trismus. This can also lead to problems with talking, eating and even breathing. A specialist healthcare provider can help identify the cause of the problems and suggest treatment.
But what are the differences (and similarities) between an ear, nose and throat specialist, dentist, orthodontist and a specialised jaw physiotherapist?
Types of jaw specialists
If you suffer from jaw pain, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which healthcare provider is best for you. Depending on the cause of the pain, it may be appropriate to visit an ENT specialist, dentist, orthodontist or physiotherapist.
Below we list the differences between these healthcare providers:
- Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT): An ENT is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of disorders of the nose, throat and ears. If the pain in the jaw is caused by a problem in the nose, throat or ears, an NKO can help you. Think of tinnitus, general earache, sinusitis, hearing loss, etc
- Dentist: A dentist specializes in the treatment of teeth and molars. If the pain in the jaw is caused by a problem with the teeth, a dentist can help you.
- Physical therapist specialized in jaw joint problems: a healthcare professional who specializes in the treatment of movement and muscle problems. If the pain in the jaw is caused by a problem with the temporomandibular joint or the surrounding muscles and joints, a physiotherapist can help you.
- Orthodontist: An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of dental and jaw abnormalities. If the pain in the jaw is caused by an abnormality in the position of the teeth or jaw, an orthodontist can help you.
In summary, the cause of jaw pain can be caused by several factors. Depending on the cause of the pain, it may be appropriate to visit an ENT, dentist, orthodontist or specialised PT.
Consider professionals like myself, Fien Jonnaert, a specialized physical therapist with a focus on jaw health, who can provide a personalized and holistic approach to your care. Look for credentials, patient testimonials, and communication styles that align with your needs. Making an informed decision ensures you receive the best possible treatment for your oral health and quality of life.