Neuromuscular Dentistry (TMJ)
Neuromuscular Dentistry is an approach to determining the proper position of the lower jaw to the upper. While that may sound simple, if that relationship is “off”, the result can be:
- Headache pain from inflamed muscles
- Damage to the TMJ
- Worn and broken teeth
- Problems with the neck
Neuromuscular treatment involves determining the jaw position using a TENS unit to relax the muscles that move the lower jaw. The relaxation of the muscles allows the jaw to go to a position of minimal muscle activity and stress within the TMJ – the "physiologic rest position."
An orthotic is then used to train the jaw to go to that position. This allows us to “test drive” that change without any alterations to the teeth. After a period of successful testing, we discuss the options for more definitive treatment.
Using these techniques, Dr. Nelson is able to treat TMJ problems as well as determine the starting point to restore badly damaged and worn teeth. Rather than just putting crowns on worn teeth, neuromuscular treatment restores function and the appearance of the teeth from years before.
While neuromuscular dentistry is a great method to treat patients with headaches, TMJ problems and badly damaged teeth, it is not a treatment for everyone. We do not use it when a patient has no symptoms or has no need for comprehensive restoration.