Your mouth is more than just teeth. You have a variety of muscles, joints and alignments that affect your jaw movement and activity. So when you have a problem that isn’t directly related to your teeth, you likely need more innovative techniques than traditional dentistry provides. That’s where neuromuscular dentistry steps in.
Neuromuscular dentistry takes into consideration a third-dimension – the status and function of the muscles that control jaw position, chewing and swallowing. It can help you resolve TMJ pain, bite problems, reflux issues and so much more.
What Is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is the term applied to techniques that expand upon the traditional approach to dentistry. Dental treatment that restores your teeth to the present bite (occlusion) might be called two-dimensional dentistry and is appropriate for most dental procedures. Neuromuscular dentistry takes into consideration a third-dimension – the status and function of the muscles that control jaw position, chewing and swallowing.
Why Neuromuscular Dentistry?
There are times when your occlusion — the way that your upper and lower teeth fit together — is not correct and must be changed. In neuromuscular dentistry, we seek to position your jaw so your new occlusion establishes a harmonious relationship between the muscles of your head and neck, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and your teeth. Neuromuscular dentistry is beneficial for the following situations, for example:
- If you’re considering a dental reconstruction
- If you suffer from head and/or neck pain
- If you have a TMJ disorder (TMD) or other jaw issue
For any of these symptoms, neuromuscular dentistry may have a positive and long-term impact on the outcome of your treatment.
Neuromuscular Dentistry Diagnoses and Treatments
Most neuromuscular dentistry techniques involve a computerized instrument that either measures or stimulates muscles and movements in your mouth. Here are some examples of common neuromuscular diagnosis and treatment techniques:
- X-rays: They’re not just for teeth. X-rays can give dentists an accurate look at jaw joints, positioning and other data that can help them determine how to best relieve your TMD symptoms.
- Electromyography (EMG): This technique measures jaw muscles during various movements and helps pinpoint joint issues.
- Sonography: By recording jaw joint sounds and vibrations, sonography can help identify joint abnormalities.
- TENS: Also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, this treatment uses electrical stimulation to relax your jaw muscles and relieve jaw pain, muscle spasms and abnormal jaw positions.
- Oral appliances: Once your dentist finds out how to stabilize your bite using neuromuscular dentistry techniques, an oral appliance can help ensure proper alignment.
If you have head, neck or jaw pain, neuromuscular dentistry may be for you. If you’d like to know more, schedule a consultation with us today.