About our Practice

Our practice is primarily focused on the conservative (non-surgical) management of problems related to the temporomandibular joints and the associated muscles and other structures. When a discrepancy in the dental occlusion (bite) is involved in these problems,

Dr. Higdon works closely with the patient’s own general dentist and assumes responsibility to coordinate and integrate care when other health care professionals may need to be involved in the management of the patient’s problem. There has historically been a great deal of confusion regarding how “TMJ” pain should be treated. Many patients who have sought help have heard a different story from virtually everyone they have consulted. In many cases this confusion is the result of the limited training and experience that is available to either the medical or dental profession in this quite specialized field of care. Very few in the health care community have been in a position to provide more than limited treatment of patients with pain of the head, face, and jaw.

For over 30 years, Dr. Higdon’s  career has been focused on this complex and often misunderstood area of dental responsibility. His experience in this field, involving the successful treatment of thousands of patients, is equaled by very few practitioners anywhere in this country or elsewhere. His thorough and comprehensive approach assures a standard of care that is unmatched.

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About Becoming a Patient in Our Office

Whether you are referred to our practice by your dentist or other health care professional, or whether you have found us by other means, we would welcome the opportunity to assist you in solving your problem.

If you are unclear about whether your problem is one that we can treat, please go to the “Information for Patients page and read “What is “TMJ”?”. You may also have questions about insurance coverage for what we treat. If you do, we encourage you to also read The Issue of Insurance (below). To make an appointment to be seen in our office, please call (503) 227-4844.

The office manager will take some information from you and will explain our intake procedure. To facilitate the process of a thorough evaluation of your problem, we will send you a packet of information that will include a lengthy history form that we will ask you to complete.

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The Issue of Insurance for Temporomandibular Disorders

Historically, insurance coverage for temporomandibular disorders has always been limited, compared to benefits for other medical and dental care. A few insurance plans provide some benefits. Others provide little or nothing. When insurance benefits are provided, most often they are available as a part of your medical plan. There are a few dental plans that may provide some benefits, as well. Some insurance plans have “panels” of doctors to provide certain services. These doctors have signed an agreement with the insurance company to provide only certain services and to limit their charges for those services. What that means is that the quality of care can be compromised.

Because our practice has, for 28 years, been committed to providing truly comprehensive non-surgical treatment, we have not been willing to provide a “limited” approach as dictated by insurance and are not a participating provider on any insurance “panels”.

Typically the doctors who are on insurance company panels for temporomandibular disorders are surgeons and not dentists who provide non-surgical care. Most experts agree that no more than 5-10% of patients with a temporomandibular disorder require surgery. Most surgeons prefer to do surgery and provide little or no non-surgical care. Unfortunately, this set of circumstances can lead to some patients receiving surgery when a non-surgical approach to treatment might have been preferable and adequate.

Although we attempt to resolve our patients problems by non-surgical means, for patients who may require surgery, Dr. Higdon has a long-standing close working relationship with an excellent surgeon and over a period of more than 20 years, working as a team, they have established a record of successful surgical outcomes that far exceeds what is typically reported for TMJ surgery.

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We encourage you to find out what benefits for temporomandibular disorders (“TMJ”) you may have under your medical plan and to check to see if your dental plan may also provide some benefits. We are unable to do this research for you. Because of the uncertainty of insurance benefits for the services that we provide, it is necessary that we make financial arrangements directly with each of our patients for the services that we provide. If it appears that you may have some benefits under you plan(s), we will gladly bill your insurance and will apply any payments from the insurance to your account.

However, our financial arrangements with you will be entirely separate from any insurance issues. The specifics of how this is done will be explained to you after we have evaluated you and are able to recommend treatment that will address your problem. An estimate of the cost of treatment will then be provided and our financial arrangements will be explained in detail.

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