How Neuromuscular Dentistry Techniques can address TMJ
It is rare for people to connect oral pain or even discomfort to something as specific as a temporal mandibular joint disorder. According to dentists, this is a fairly common disorder characterized by headaches or migraines, the inability to fully open the mouth, a popping sensation in the jaw or difficulty chewing. Many people just carelessly dismiss all these symptoms or consider the root cause to be something different.
10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorder and misdiagnoses tend to happen quite often. However, when it is diagnosed, neuromuscular dentistry is usually the recommended course of action by most modern dentists.
Traditionally, all treatments that addressed TMJ disorder focused mostly on the teeth and the jaw, offering only an incomplete solution to the problem. However, with neuromuscular dentistry techniques, TMJ disorder can be addressed more efficiently.
The first step in treating this disorder is to identify it properly. Most dentists use accurate neuromuscular electrodiagnostic equipment to assess the movement of the jaw and compare it to its relaxed state. Dentists keenly study the muscles that control the jaw. This ensures that they identify the root cause of disorder well. If the jaw is misaligned or if the articular disk has eroded, the muscles in the jaw and the retrodiscal tissues would show signs of strain or injury.
When dentists observe this, they can accurately conclude that the patient is suffering from the disorder due to a misaligned jaw or an out of place articular disk. This helps them diagnose or eliminate it from the list of suspected problems.
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses primarily on the optimal position of a patient’s jaw and ensures harmony between the jaw, muscles, soft tissues and nerves. If there’s a misalignment, it can lead to a significant amount of pain.
When treating TMJ disorder, dentists first address the pain and muscle spasms in the jaw by utilizing Myotronics devices. They then move to stabilize occlusion by using dental orthotics for ensuring proper bite alignment. The condition may also be addressed by conducting coronoplasty and reshaping the tooth enamel. Alternatively, certain dental restorations may be used to ensure better alignment or they may simply suggest a change in lifestyle.
Some dentists also use orthotics as a solution to address misalignment. When the proper position of the jaw has been determined, orthotics keep it in place and allow the tendons and muscles to heal properly.