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Why See a Neuromuscular Dentist?

- Headaches

- Migraines

- Dizziness

- Pain in the shoulder, neck, face or jaw

- Jaws that click, lock or pop

- Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)

- Tooth sensitivity

- Cracked or worn teeth

- Irritability

- Inability to fully open or close the mouth

Neuromuscular dentists are able to reposition a person's bite to alleviate symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Most people are unaware of the intricate movements provided by the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). By connecting the skull with the lower jaw, these joints allow for side-to-side, front-to-back and up-and-down movements of the jaw, giving individuals the ability to effectively talk, chew and make facial expressions. Only when these joints become misaligned do many people realize the full extent of how jaw misalignment can lead to aggravating and even debilitating symptoms.

What causes TMD?

TMD does not happen overnight, and the symptoms can begin slowly and become more severe over time. Most people do not associate a headache or shoulder pain, for example, with a misaligned jaw, so the symptoms can be overlooked. TMD can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

- Injury or trauma, such as a blow to the jaw

- Teeth grinding (bruxism) or clenching

- Poor dental work or orthodontic treatments

- Neglected teeth

- Bad bite (malocclusion)

- Diseases, such as forms of TMJ arthritis

- Stress

- Displaced disks

- Fatigue

- Overbite

- Dentures or partials

How do neuromuscular dentists diagnose TMD?

Neuromuscular dentists employ a whole host of computerized equipment to determine if a person's symptoms are the result of a bad bite. Instruments are used to track the jaw's full range of motion as well as the resting position. Electromyography measures the relaxed and stressed muscle positions of the jaw, while sonography detects abnormalities through sounds made by the jaw joints. The jaw muscles will also be relaxed using Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) to help the dentist identify the ideal positioning.

In the end, the neuromuscular dentist can pinpoint the patient's optimal jaw positioning and create a temporary orthotic to wear over the teeth that will help correct the bite. Once the bite is aligned, the dentist and patient may decide that other dental work is necessary, such as crowns, veneers, implants or even tooth whitening to create a more perfect smile.


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