What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is the science of using the relaxed position of the muscles of the head and neck to place the jaw in the optimal physiologic position for comfort and function. It is also used to find the optimal jaw position before restorative dentistry, which greatly increases the longevity of the restorations.
Symptoms of Neuromuscular conflicts
- Frequent headaches
- Neck, shoulder, back pain
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Numbness in arms and fingers
- Pain or clicking and popping in joints
- Pain behind the eyes
- Facial pain
- Ringing or congestion in the ears
How Does Neuromuscular Dentistry Differ From Traditional Dentistry?
Traditional dentistry looks only at the teeth and jaws, whereas neuro-muscular dentistry considers the muscles that control the jaws and the nerves that control the muscles, and how this relates to the overall body.
Identifying the Rest Position:
A neuromuscular dentist may use an electrical impulse device or TENS, on the muscles of your head and neck. This process not only relaxes the muscles, but also increases blood flow and flushes out toxins. After about 45 minutes of stimulation, your muscles will be relaxed and your jaw in the ideal relaxed position.This information is then recorded and used to fabricate an orthotic that will allow your jaw to close to this position. An orthotic is a clear appliance that sets in the mouth, over the teeth to even out your bite. Most patients will wear their orthotic daily for approximately 3 - 6 months, during which time your bite becomes stabilized. With your bite stabilized in the optimal position, muscle activity diminishes which allows for muscle healing and alleviation of painful symptoms. Then the orthotic may be worn only at night.
How Long Does it Take?
After you have worn your orthotic for 3 - 6 consecutive months, you have options as how to proceed. You will make a decision to wear the orthotic indefinitely; have orthodontics done to move your teeth to this ideal position; and/or have one or two arches of teeth restored to adjust your bite to this position.