What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is a form of dentistry involving the alignment of the jaw. Neuromuscular dentists use various treatments to correct the alignment of the jaw, relaxing the muscles in and surrounding the jaw, and relieving symptoms of certain conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Treatments involve the jaw itself, as well as the neck and head alignment in relationship to the teeth and jaw. The dentist first determines where the problem lies, and then forms a treatment plan to ease the jaw into correct alignment.
When is it needed?
Treatments used in neuromuscular dentistry involve the teeth, jaw, head, and neck together as a unit. As opposed to treating solely the jaw, your dentist can customize a plan specifically for you by addressing all of these connected nerves, joints, and muscles. This can correct overbites, painful jaw symptoms, or disorders like TMJ.
Certain tests are key to the diagnosis:
- Sonography – Sound waves are used to determine whether there are any problems with jaw alignment. The dentist also listens for any abnormal sounds emanating from the jaw.
- Electromyography (EMG) – This method uses the electricity generated by jaw muscles to measure both muscle and nerve function. It can help the dentist see when there is a reaction (such as pain) to movement.
- Special computerized test equipment is used to measure the correct resting position of the jaw, identifying misalignment problems.
Treatment options available
The most common treatments provided with Neuromuscular Dentistry include the following:
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation – Small electrical pulses are delivered to the jaw muscles. These pulses stimulate the nerves, encouraging muscles to relax and the jaw to align.
- Cosmetic Dentistry or Surgery – Teeth can be straightened to align the jaw, teeth can be removed to create more room for proper alignment, or the jaw can be moved forward surgically.
- Exercises – Jaw problems can often be attributed to stress, which causes people to tighten their jaw muscles. Jaw exercises are assigned that will stimulate and relax the jaw muscles.
- Lifestyle – Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction techniques or personal care solutions that will improve jaw pain may be suggested.
Q. How do I know if I’m suffering from TMJ?
A. TMJ needs to be diagnosed by your dentist. Jaw pain can be caused by different problems, and not all are related to TMJ disorders. Dr. Barney can help you to properly diagnose what is causing your jaw pain and decide whether it requires action.
Q. What symptoms should I look for?
A. If you experience any of the following symptoms regularly along with jaw pain, TMJ can be a cause:
- Consistent headaches
- Stiff jaw
- Jaw pain
- Jaw cracking or squeaking sounds
- Ear ringing
- Unintentional teeth grinding
- Neck, shoulder, or finger nerve pain or spasms
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in learning more about porcelain crowns, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (304) 754-8803 to schedule a consultation at our office in Hedgesville, WV.