What Is Neuromuscular Treatment?
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the healthy relationship among the teeth, jaw joints, and head and neck muscles.
A harmonious bite
In a harmonious bite, the teeth, jaw joints, and muscles can work together without strain or tension. The biting surfaces of upper and lower teeth fit together neatly, and the jaw joints work smoothly. The muscles on both sides of the face are relaxed when you are not chewing or swallowing, and when you do chew or swallow, these muscles contract evenly to bring the teeth together.
A problem bite
But when there’s a problem with the bite, upper and lower teeth don’t come together correctly. A problem bite often exists when teeth are missing, misaligned, or worn down. In this situation, the muscles must use extra force and the jaw joints often shift position in order to bring the teeth together. And when you are not chewing, your jaw muscles may not fully relax, even though they feel normal to you.
Over time, this can cause the muscles and joints to become sore, tired, and stiff. A bad bite, together with tense, strained muscles, can lead to a variety of problems, such as headaches, muscle pain, damage to the teeth or jaw joint, clicking and popping, and other symptoms. It can also shorten the life of crowns, veneers, and other dental restorations through damage or excess wear.
Diagnosis and treatment
When we are planning your dental treatment, we’ll use specialized advanced equipment to identify problems in the muscles, jaw joints, and bite. And if we do find any problems, we may recommend treatments to stabilize your bite. These may include—
- wearing a custom bite splint, called an orthotic.
- providing orthodontic treatment.
- placing crowns and veneers on all the affected teeth.
With the techniques and technologies of neuromuscular dentistry, we can help you achieve a healthier bite, and more comfortable muscles and jaw joints.