You may be wondering about the ways in which neuromuscular dentistry differs from traditional dentistry as you work toward making a decision about which type or types of dental care may be best for you in your situation. This form of dentistry focuses not only on the teeth themselves, but on the muscles that move the jaw; dental practitioners specializing in the practice work to enable these muscles to become more comfortable and relaxed so that they do not cause conflict with the jaw joint or the teeth.
Who Benefits from Neuromuscular Dentistry?
People who suffer from a variety of common conditions that are not normally associated with the mouth or teeth, as well as people who clench or grind their teeth or who suffer from worn, chipped, or cracked teeth or fillings or even from loose teeth can benefit from this procedure. This form of dentistry can help to alleviate a number of problems, including:
- Pain, popping, or clicking in joints
- Numbness in fingers and arms
- Shoulder, neck, and back pain
- Pain behind the eyes and other facial pain
- Ear congestion or ringing in the ears
- Tooth pain and sensitivity or receding gums
- Difficulty swallowing
- Crowded teeth
How Neuromuscular Dentistry Works
Using a number of computerized instruments, dentists specializing in neuromuscular dentistry work to find the position of the jaw in which the teeth, jaws, and muscles work in harmony, after which a pair of devices called the BioTens and the Myo-Monitor are utilized to relax muscles via a mild electrical impulse. After about 45 minutes of stimulation, the muscles are often in their ideal position.
After this, a series of computerized measurements are taken to measure the ideal position of your teeth and jaws. Dentists then fabricate a custom orthotic device designed to help train muscles to rest in that ideal position. This allows healing to take place, so pain trigger points go away and joint capsules heal. The orthotic device is worn for approximately three months to stabilize the bite and to ensure that all symptoms have been corrected.
After the bite has been corrected, further dental care can take place, including restoration or orthodontics. In some cases, people choose to continue wearing the orthotic device indefinitely. Computerized records are kept in order to allow the dentist to assist again in the future if needed.
Dentists specializing in neuromuscular dentistry must train extensively in order to use the systems properly. Patients report feeling as though they have been given a brand new lease on life once the treatment begins to take effect; if you suffer from any of the conditions discussed, relief could be just around the corner.