Do you have headaches, jaw pain, dizziness or worn or chipped teeth? If you are experiencing head, neck or facial pain, perhaps we can help. Many patients do not realize muscles play an important role in dentistry. To understand neuromuscular dentistry, it helps to first know a few things about your bite—the way your upper and lower teeth fit together and how your muscles affect your bite.
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- Full-Mouth Reconstruction
- Bite Adjustment
- Orthotic Appliances
- Headache Relief
- TMJ and TMD Treatments
- Lifetime Solution to TMJ
You may spend most of your life unaware of the important little triangular-shaped joints located in front of each of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these joints move with a smooth, gliding motion. Under normal conditions, they join your lower jaw and temporal bone, allowing your mouth to open and close. However, stress-related reactions can wear down that cartilage, exposing nerve endings and creating jaw pain. In fact, the temporomandibular joint is highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional and psychological stress. Further, it's affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. So, a little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may temporarily knock the whole system out of balance. The resulting TMJ disorder or TMD can cause a wide variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, jaw and teeth; it can also “lock” your jaw open or shut, or dislocate the jaw altogether.
TMJ is so common in our culture, that we automatically evaluate our patients for it: with the goals of arresting the problem, protecting your teeth from further damage, and correcting any underlying bite malfunction. This may involve fitting you with a hard acrylic physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy food, take small bites, and alternate chewing between both sides of the mouth. Good nutrition will help the joint heal more quickly; good posture will also help relieve discomfort. A straight back, relaxed neck, and side-sleeping position are also most helpful. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles, For actual bouts of pain, alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes will further increase circulation. Finally, over the counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.
If you've ever had trouble with your TMJ joints, you know firsthand how painful and troubling it can be. Normally, the tiny triangular-shaped temporomandibular (TMJ) joints in front of each of your ears move with a smooth, gliding motion, controlled by your temporal and jaw muscles working in balanced partnership. However, genetic structural disharmonies, physical stress, and even emotional troubles can all work to alter the system's smooth biomechanics, creating mild to severe symptoms: from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temples, ears, jaw and teeth; TMJ trouble can also “lock” your jaw open or shut, or dislocate the jaw altogether. What's worse, you may develop an unconscious or conscious habit of clenching and grinding your teeth, causing further mechanical damage and imbalances. And while dentistry has developed a number of treatments over the years, from protective acrylic appliances to bio-feedback, there's not been a long-term solution.
Until recently. Now, there's a revolutionary series of treatments available to actually diagnose and restore the source of the TMJ trouble: Bioesthetic Dentistry. Following diagnosis, meticulous individualized planning is completed, then careful restorative dentistry is performed as needed to create a balanced bite. Restorations may include veneers, crowns, fixed or removable dental work, implants, and any other tooth or jaw adjustment processes needed to bring the system into perfect biomechanical balance. As complex as that may seem, the result is permanently rewarding: a beautiful and pain-free smile, a stabilized TMJ system, comfortable muscles, efficient chewing, and teeth that last a lifetime.