When it comes to your bite, you need three things for balance: well-positioned teeth, healthy muscles and a functional temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
If there is an issue with any of these components, it can result in a misaligned bite with symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain and difficulty chewing or swallowing. One way to ensure you have a balanced bite without these symptoms is neuromuscular dentistry.
What Is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is slightly different from the traditional approach to dentistry. Instead of focusing solely on the health of teeth and gums, neuromuscular dentists look at how upper and lower teeth come together, the stress levels of facial muscles and whether the jaw is positioned correctly or not. You could almost say that traditional dentistry is two-dimensional, whereas neuromuscular dentistry takes a third dimension into account: the muscles.
Why Is Neuromuscular Dentistry Needed?
Patients with facial pain, a misaligned bite or a TMJ disorder are ideal candidates for neuromuscular dentistry, but it can even be beneficial for patients with well-balanced bites. Whether you have problems chewing, singing, swallowing, yawning or speaking — or are interested in cosmetic improvements — neuromuscular dentistry can address your needs in a unique way.
Here are some examples of when you might need neuromuscular dentistry:
- If you have dental restorations or reconstructions you’re considering
- If you struggle with TMJ disorders, jaw pain or other facial joint issues
- If you have frequent head and/or neck pain
- If you’re considering veneers, orthodontics or another cosmetic procedure
- If the muscles in your face feel tense or you experience frequent stress
- If it doesn’t feel like your teeth, muscles and jaw are harmonious
Whatever neuromuscular issue you’re struggling with, there are numerous neuromuscular dentistry techniques that can potentially address it.
Neuromuscular Dentistry Treatment
Before a neuromuscular dentist can prescribe the right neuromuscular dentistry treatment for you, you’ll have a neuromuscular dental exam. During this exam, the dentist will ask you several questions about your teeth, muscles and jaw, as well as feel your facial muscles and joints for function. After thoroughly noting your symptoms, the dentist will prescribe treatment — possibly after additional research, computerized diagnostics and/or testing (EMG, sonography, etc.).
Neuromuscular dentistry treatment can be as simple as prescribing an oral appliance that fosters proper alignment and stability, such as a nightguard. Or, it could also include electrical stimulation to relax your muscles and relieve jaw pain, such as with Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS). In some situations, a full-mouth reconstruction or orthodontics may be the best neuromuscular dentistry treatment.
Regardless of the treatment or technique, the goal of neuromuscular dentistry is to give you a more balanced, functional bite that’s free from pain.
Both Dr. Chris and Dr. Patrice have LVI training (Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies) in neuromuscular dentistry. LVI is a world-class center for post-graduate dentistry training and at Winterholler Dentistry you are in safe, skilled hands if you need TMD treatment.
Dentistry has been changed and modernized by advances in technology. We can now accurately diagnose a misaligned jaw and bite and give you relief from what might have been years of pain and discomfort. Our training in neuromuscular dentistry, combined with our sophisticated equipment, can pinpoint the cause of your pain and relax your jaw, possibly for the first time in years.
Now taking new patients from Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix and surrounding areas.