Dentists have traditionally been associated with tooth problems like pain, aesthetics, or decay, but modern research has found that there is a close relationship between oral health and overall health in the body. This is referred to as Physiologic or Neuromuscular dentistry. It’s based on optimizing the physiology of the body and restoring the balance and creating harmony between the muscle and nervous systems that co-ordinate jaw function, and its two-way connection with the rest of the body.
The way your upper and lower teeth come together (your occlusion) is part of a system of muscles, teeth and joints that makes up the Temporomandibular Joint Complex (TMJ). If your teeth do not fit together properly – your bite is misaligned – then the muscles and joints accommodate to bring your teeth together. This can often lead to overworked muscles and very painful conditions.
Often, TMJ issues can result in severe, debilitating headaches from clenching or grinding – often while sleeping. As with other conditions, the dentist will start with an exam to determine the likely cause of the pain. If TMJ is suspected, we can create a custom mouth guard that will help to align your teeth and jaw at night, reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches, and often eliminating them altogether.
Dr. Rachel Staples will seek to establish harmonious jaw position while considering three main factors affecting your bite: teeth, muscles and jaw joints. The new jaw position, in a relaxed state, is called the neuromuscular bite. To help achieve this, your dentist will use a Myomonitor to deliver a gentle electrical stimulation to your muscles, delivered through adhesive patch electrodes that are attached to specific nerves that control muscle groups. A light stimulus will cause your muscles to twitch or pulse once every 1.5 seconds. After 45-60 minutes, the muscles will become fully relaxed, overcoming their programming.
At Urban Smiles, we utilize computerized software to analyze the muscles and joints (neuromuscular) that may be associated with your pain. These diagnostics help us to address the long-term management of your jaw joint disorder.
Elements of neuromuscular dentistry can be successful in managing some symptoms of Bell’s Palsy. Success is dependent on such factors as the severity and progress of the disease. Please contact Dr. Rachel Staples immediately if you begin to suffer the signs of Bells Palsy. We will do an emergency consultation to determine if neuromuscular dentistry could be a beneficial treatment option for you
Neuromuscular dentistry specifically looks at the relationship between the teeth, joints, and muscles and how they can potentially cause a range of disruptions in the body. The most common condition that this type of dentistry focusses on is the treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMD in Victoria, Colwood, and Langford.
Patients who suffer from TMJ disorder will often have the following symptoms:
Clicking or popping jaw
Limited jaw movement
Grinding or clenching of the jaw
Facial or neck pain
Treating these symptoms with neuromuscular dentistry can help you relieve the problems without the use of surgery or heavy medication.
One thing you must remember is that neuromuscular dentistry doesn’t just apply to TMJ disorder or poor bite alignment. It also applies to orthodontic or cosmetic improvements that a patient wants. So, if you’re undergoing treatment like porcelain veneers, or Invisalign, it is going to have an impact on the positioning of the teeth and jaw and must, therefore, neuromuscular principles should be considered alongside the treatment.