Who has TMJ problems?
Anyone can experience TMJ problems usually known as TMD. Typically, those who were born with poor jaw position or improper bite (malocclusion) begin to experience problems in their teen years. Others who have had a history of teeth grinding may begin to have symptoms in their mid-40’s or even earlier. Problems that can be addressed with Neuromuscular dentistry include broken or missing teeth, as well as old, decaying dentistry and TMJ pain. When there is an imbalance in the muscles that open and close the jaw and/or bite then tension is created causing pain.
What causes TMJ pain?
The TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the “hinge” that functions when the jaw opens and closes. There are many theories and practices to treating TMJ pain. Every TMJ dentist will have his or her own theory on TMJ treatment. People will often report neck and upper back pain, headaches, sore muscles and even migraines. Neuromuscular dentistry practices under the premise that when the teeth are shortened (either by wear, grinding, old age, clenching or even the cumulative effects of large amounts of dentistry) then the jaw over-closes causing stress and pressure in the TMJ. By restoring the vertical dimension to the teeth or by positioning a carefully fitted orthotic optimal health and function is restored to the TMJ. Many people suffering from TMJ pain have found relief using the techniques and theories of neuromuscular dentistry.
What are the treatment options for TMJ pain?
Fortunately, there are different ways to address TMJ problems. A Neuromuscular approach uses a computerized diagnosis called Myotronics K7 to both relax and find the position where your posture, muscles and joints are in harmony. From this position, we can provide treatment to support your bite in this new position. There are many treatment options including mandibular removable or fixed orthotics, orthodontics and rehabilitation with crowns (Full Mouth Rehabilitation).
What is a FMR?
A Full Mouth Rehabilitation (FMR) is the individual restoration of each and every tooth. The goal of Full Mouth Rehabilitation is to restore ideal occlusion (bite), therefore alleviating tension or pain from TMJ (temporomandibular joint or jaw joint) problems. Neuromuscular dentistry is a practice founded on the belief that a healthy smile begins with healthy function.
This method of TMJ treatment determines the optimal physiological position of the jaw by measuring the relaxed position of head and neck muscles and then repositions the jaw to achieve those exact measurements.
Once comfort is established with the orthotic, the next visit is called the preparation. At this four-hour visit, we remove old dentistry and prepare each tooth. Guests leave the office with temporary restorations that position the occlusion optimally. Three to four weeks later, we remove the temporaries and permanently place each ceramic restoration.
How the muscles are relaxed and the correct bite is located?
Myotronics is a computerized process that helps determine the proper relationship between the upper and lower teeth for each individual. During this phase of treatment, the jaw muscles are relaxed by “tensing,” a technique often used by physical therapists to relax muscle spasms.
Muscle tension is monitored on a computer via special sensors that read muscle impulses to determine when full relaxation has occurred. This two-to-three hour process helps to determine where the individual teeth should be restored so that they are comfortable. When the teeth are functioning in the correct bite position, the muscles and soft tissue around the head and neck remain relaxed.