What is neuromuscular dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialized field of dentistry focusing on the relationship between your temporomandibular joint (a small, delicate jaw joint) and the alignment of your bite. When this jaw joint is even slightly out of place, it can overwork your muscles and tendons, leading to a misaligned bite and other painful symptoms.
This condition is called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The goal of neuromuscular dentistry is to correct your jaw joint’s dysfunction and realign your bite into a more ideal position, eliminating your symptoms and preventing future problems.
How can I tell if my jaw is misaligned?
The only way to accurately diagnose whether or not you have TMD is to schedule a consultation with an experienced neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Terry Bass. Our practice uses a TENS unit to test for TMD in patients. This device relaxes your jaw muscles and tendons with gentle electrical impulses, allowing your jaw to be moved into its ideal position. It also provides a significant amount of relief from certain TMD symptoms, such as:
- Headaches, migraines
- Neck, facial, and shoulder pain
- Jaw popping
- Ringing in your ears
If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, you may be one of millions of patients who suffer from TMD.
How can my jaw become misaligned?
Several different factors can contribute to your jaw becoming misaligned. You may have suffered a traumatic blow during sports or an accident that knocked your jaw joint out of position. Certain genetic factors can also result in misalignment, along with tooth grinding (a condition called bruxism). If your teeth are already slightly misaligned, this can lead to TMD complications later, as your jaw muscles are constantly struggling to bring your lower and upper teeth together when you close your mouth.
What treatment options are available for TMD?
If you are diagnosed with TMD, Dr. Bass will work with you to develop a TMD treatment plan that best fits your needs. In general, treatment can take the form of:
- Pure Power Mouth Guard – This mouth guard is custom-designed to fit your teeth and gradually re-align your jaw into the correct position. Usually, the Pure Power Mouth Guard only needs to be worn at night to help your jaw relax into its ideal position.
- Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments – TMD often causes problems with patients’ teeth, wearing them down and causing damage that worsens your bite’s misalignment, producing painful symptoms. To fix this, Dr. Bass may use certain cosmetic dentistry procedures to re-shape your teeth and improve your bite, such as dental bonding or dental crowns.
- Orthodontic Treatments – In some severe cases, treatment for TMD might include the use of orthodontics such as braces or orthotic devices.
If you have further questions about neuromuscular dentistry and TMD/TMJ, please contact our experienced dentistry Team online or call 405-848-7780 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Terry Bass. Our office serves patients in and around Lawton, Edmond, Norman, and other communities in the Oklahoma City area.