WHAT IS NEUROMUSCULAR DENTISTRY?
In the past, dental treatment was done to fit the position of your jaw only when your teeth are together. Recent discoveries have shown that there are three factors that determine the bite which are the teeth, muscles and joints. Neuromuscular dentistry uses modern technology to assess the function or dysfunction of the jaw by evaluating all three of these factors and creating the optimum bite for your specific case while creating your new beautiful smile. Not only can you have the smile you've always dreamed of, but this treatment can also pinpoint the source of your headaches, ear congestion, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, neck pain, jaw clenching or teeth grinding, jaw joint pain, and even nervousness or insomnia.
THE MUSCLES AND JOINTS
There are various types of muscles located in the face and neck area that hold your jaw, control the movement of your jaw, as well as allow you to chew and swallow. This muscle movement is done subconsciously, and if your bite (occlusion) is off, your body automatically strains your muscles to allow for your jaw to work; this is called accommodating. If your bite is off balance, your muscles will work extra hard to hold, control and allow for the chewing and swallowing. This is why over time, the temporomandibular joints become over stressed and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) or dysfunction occurs. The goal of the neuromuscular dentist is to find the natural position of your jaw and restore it to its optimal position in which the system (muscles, teeth and joints) are in balance, thereby eliminating TMJ disorders. This takes the pressure off of your joints and overstrained muscles, eliminates jaw or teeth clenching, and allows for your muscles to act naturally ... to do as little as possible while making your jaw function properly.
Since posture affects your bite as well, the neuromuscular dentist establishes your occlusion while you’re sitting upright. This is the position you normally function in. Additionally, the neck muscles are also evaluated since they play a major role in head posture. All of the bones are dependant on the balance of the whole skeletal system. The jaw is considered one end of the system while the feet are the opposite end. If you bite down slowly, paying attention to which teeth hit together first and then lean your head back as far as possible and bite again, your teeth will probably first touch together in different places than the bite right before only because your posture has been changed temporarily.
THE TREATMENT PROCESS
Getting to the root of the problem is what differentiates this treatment from just prescribing medications to treat pain or temporarily end discomfort.
The first step is diagnosing the problem. The neuromuscular dentist will use a computer assisted evaluation system to measure you jaw and neck muscle movement at various stages of activity and rest. Next, the dentist will need to relax your muscles in order to find the appropriate position of your jaw and get your system in balance. This is done by way of electrical muscle stimulation. The patient sits in the chair, while watching a movie or reading a book, and a slightly pulsating device called the Myomonitor sends gentle electrical stimulation to get the muscles to a relaxed state. This process not only helps in determining the correct bite, but also allows for more oxygen and nutrients to flow to the muscles and flushes away the accumulated waste products of metabolism.
After the jaw is relaxed and a position is found, the dentist will create a plastic mouthpiece called an orthotic in order to hold the new bite that has just been determined. You may have to come back a few times before final restorations are placed (crowns bridges, veneers), so that the dentist can do the necessary adjustments in order to ensure the bite is absolutely optimal. Once the bite is determined, the dentist will create your new bite by using precisely measured crowns, veneers or bridges wherever necessary.
*Relief from the following symptoms:
- Jaw Joint Pain
- Jaw Joint noise or clicking
- Limited mouth opening
- Ear Congestion
- Ringing in the Ears
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loose teeth
- Clenching or Grinding
- Facial Pain
- Sensitive Teeth
- Nervousness or Insomnia
- Chewing Difficulties
- Neck Pain
- Postural Problems
- Tingling of the fingertips
- Hot & Cold sensitivity of teeth
*Since the bite will be correct, you will not be grinding your teeth or wearing them down by biting on them incorrectly. This ensures that your smile is strong, healthy. Not only will your new smile look beautiful, but it will last!