Jaw/TMJ - Diagnosis & TreatmentsPeople who grind their teeth can sometimes develop a serious problem with their jaw, which left untreated, can adversely affect the teeth, gums and bone structures of the mouth. One of the most common jaw disorders is related to a problem with the temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull, and allows your upper and lower jaw to open and close and facilitates chewing and speaking.
People with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) often have a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing their mouths. Such disorders are often accompanied by frequent headaches, neck aches, and in some cases, tooth sensitivity.
Some treatments for TMD include muscle relaxants, aspirin, biofeedback, or wearing a small plastic appliance in the mouth during sleep. Minor cases of TMD involve discomfort or pain in the jaw muscles. More serious conditions involve improperly aligned joints or dislocated jaws. The most extreme form of TMD involves an arthritic condition of the jaw joint. Traumatic injuries also can cause jaw dislocation.
In these cases, jaw surgery may be required to correct the condition. Some jaw surgery can be performed arthroscopically.
As you likely know from experience, dental problems aren’t always black and white. Dental procedures, while focused and highly effective, are not one-size-fits-all. The reason is that your mouth and jaw are highly specialized body parts that must work in concert with one another and with the muscles attached to them. That’s the heart of neuromuscular dentistry.
Your teeth and the surrounding joints and muscles make up a complex network that allows you to chew, speak and move properly. Neuromuscular dentistry (NMD) is the science behind this relationship. Specialists trained in this science are able to help patients improve alignment and, ultimately, comfort and functionality by helping them to relax the muscles controlling the jaw position, which in turn establishes the most natural, and true physiological resting position. When all is properly aligned, the difference is obvious.
Neuromuscular dentistry is a highly useful field based on the scientific principles of path-physiology, anatomy, form and function. At the Real Smile Dental Clinics, our skilled specialists can objectively evaluate how your teeth, temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and masticatory muscles are functioning. We then take steps to optimize the relationship between the mandible and the skull — known as neuromuscular occlusion.
At the Real Smile Dental Clinics, we take the entire process very seriously so that you enjoy the best results. We examine the joint-muscles-teeth relationship before, during and after treatment.
What are the Implications of Neuromuscular Dentistry?
This is a scientific field that is so significant because occlusion is at the root of dentistry. Behind every successful dental procedure is, to some degree, an examination of the joint-muscles-teeth relationship. If the alignment is off, you will have dental problems. It’s a fact that has become more evident with research. The result has been that “one-dimensional” traditional dentistry — that which focuses on teeth above all else — has evolved with a stronger focus on a triad of factors, including the teeth, the muscles and the temporomandibular joints.
An enormous body of literature has been written during the last three decades, and it is growing. Most of it strongly supports the efficacy of neuromuscular dental principles.
Why Real Smile Dental Clinics?
NMD is an increasingly important field. Unfortunately, not all dentists are thoroughly exposed to this science while in dental school — muscles and joints can get just a cursory once-over during training — meaning many dentists are not adequately equipped to treat your dental issues holistically. The result is patient dissatisfaction. Traditional treatments don’t always get to the root of the issue. A traditionally trained dentist can do everything by the book and still not address the core problem.
At the Real Smile Dental Clinics, our team is well trained in this field. We understand how to approach dental issues from all angles so that patients get the best possible treatment. Our skilled neuromuscular dentists take muscle and joint status into account so that they can optimize treatment. This gives them the ability to tackle even the most complex cases and report optimal results from treatment.