Patient Information

 

Patient Information

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What is Neuromuscular Dentistry (NMD)

The way that your upper and lower teeth come together (your bite or occlusion) is part of a system of teeth, muscles and joints. If your teeth do not fit together properly (misaligned bite), the muscles and joints accommodate – work to get them together.


A misaligned bite often leads to muscles that are overworked when they should be relaxed, leading to various painful conditions. Neuromuscular dentistry considers the
entire system that controls the positioning and function of your jaw. The neuromuscular dentist seeks to establish a physiologic jaw position based on a harmonious relationship of the three main factors affecting occlusion – the teeth, muscles and jaw joints. The resulting jaw position is called the neuromuscular bite.



View media interviews with Neuromuscular Dentists and their patients who benefited from treatment and learn more about Neuromuscular Dentistry.


Head and neck pain and discomfort associated with TMD/TMJ

Most people don't think to mention the pain in their facial muscles or jaw joints to their dentists. Yet such pain is a common symptom of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders) or otherwise known as TMJ.  TMJ refers to temporomandibular joints but it is also a common name for a disorder that affects the facial muscles and joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull.  A more recent designation for this condition is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders).This condition causes pain on both sides of the forehead and sometimes in the neck as well. Other symptoms of TMD may include jaw pain, biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort, reduced ability to open or close the mouth and popping/clicking of the jaw joints during opening and closing.  The National Institute of Health estimates that 5 to 10 percent of Americans suffer from TMD severe enough to warrant treatment.  TMD can be caused by tension in the muscles that move the jaw, the way your upper and lower teeth fit together (bite) or in some cases the jaw joints. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, teeth and joints from working properly may result in TMD.

There are many possible causes of TMD. The Neuromuscular Dentist is trained and equipped to diagnose and treat your TMD condition.  Non-invasive tests can aid your dentist to determine whether or not muscle tension, your bite or your jaw joints may be the cause of your TMD and whether treatment by a dentist might resolve your condition. If you suffer more than an occasional pain in the facial, jaw or neck area, it is well worthwhile to talk to a Neuromuscular Dentist about it.

TMD/TMJ Symptom Self-Quiz

Following are a few of the more common symptoms that may possibly be associated with your TMD. If you have one or more of them, you should visit a dentist with special training in the filed of TMD

       

Pain in the muscles that control jaw function

Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw



Pain in the face or neck

Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
 
Teeth Grinding


   
TMJ pain

TMJ noise during opening or closing of the jaw



Limited opening or locking of the jaw

A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together



Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found               Pain in and around the ear without infection



Achieving Truly Relaxed Muscles

To help your muscles reach a true relaxed state, a device called the Myomonitor is used to deliver gentle electrical stimulation to your muscles. The Myomonitor is a battery operated electrical muscle stimulator. Mild electrical stimulation is delivered through adhesive patch electrodes attached over nerves that control specific muscle groups. The virtually painless stimulus delivered by the Myomonitor will cause your facial and jaw muscles to twitch or "pulse" once every 1 1/2 seconds. After about 40 to 60 minutes, this electrically induced “exercise” will allow your muscles to overcome their programming and go to a relaxed state.

Why is Evaluation of Physiologic Function Important?

The state of the teeth and the joints often cause the muscles to accommodate. Evaluation of the hard tissue alone does not provide insight to the true status of the occlusal system. This is why the Neuromuscular Dentist uses objective, scientific documentation methods in the comprehensive evaluation of occlusion. Through the use of jaw tracking, electromyography and joint sound recording, a complete analysis of the function (or dysfunction) of the masticatory system is accomplished.

 
 
 
 
   
   
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Leading in Musculoskeletal Evaluation Technologies Since 1966