dentist

The Differences Between Neuromuscular Dentistry and General Dentistry

Misalignment of the jaw can often cause painful headaches and other bothersome symptoms.  Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on correcting misaligned jaws to help alleviate the many symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD/TJD).

Misaligned jaws can create severe headaches, jaw pain, clicking and popping of the jaw, as well as neck and shoulder pain.  Many Americans suffer from these symptoms as a result of a poorly aligned jaw.

Neuromuscular dentists have studied and thoroughly understand the muscular mechanics of your face and jaw and how pain in one area may be related to pain in another area.  They work to find the cause of the pain and alleviate it through restoring proper jaw joint alignment.

What Are the Symptoms of TMD/TJD?

Any of the following symptoms may be indicators that your jaw is poorly aligned:

  • Headaches or toothaches.
  • Facial, shoulder, or neck pain.
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears.
  • Pain behind the eyes and dizziness.

These could all be signs that something is not entirely correct with your jaw alignment.

How Does a Neuromuscular Dentist Diagnose TMD/TJD?

Your dentist will use the latest technological and medical advances to help determine whether or not your symptoms are a result of TMD/TJD.  First your dentist will physically examine the muscles of your head, face, neck and shoulder area to determine if there are any trigger points or muscle spasms. Radiographs may be taken to observe the joint components and determine if anything is out of line.

Neuromuscular dentists will also use computer diagnostics to create measurements of and track your jaw’s movement.  By three-dimensionally tracking your jaw’s movements your dentist can get a better idea on how to effectively correct the misalignment.

How is TMD/TJD treated?

The primary objective of treatment for TMD/TJD is to realign the jaw so that the patient’s bite is comfortable and the symptoms listed above are either reduced or eliminated entirely. One treatment option is known as ULF-TENS, or Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. ULF-TENS relaxes the face muscles by using a series of low frequency electric pulses.

The dentist may also design an orthotic that can be worn over the lower teeth.  The orthotic is small and fits naturally in the mouth to help move the jaw to its natural, aligned position. More permanent solutions to TMD/TJD may include:

  • Reshaping the enamel of the teeth.
  • Bonding an orthotic to the teeth.
  • Reconstruction of the teeth with porcelain layering.
  • Orthodontic correction, such as braces or Invisalign®.

Neuromuscular dentistry is an important field of dentistry that can help alleviate and cure pain that countless Americans suffer from.  Symptoms of TMD/TJD are generally very treatable- the first step in curing discomfort is finding a neuromuscular dentist who is highly trained and cares about you, the patient.