Neuromuscular Dentistry for resolution of temporomandibular joint disorder

Dental services provide the client the means to maintain good oral health through maintenance and preventive care, provide accurate diagnosis of conditions as manifested by current signs and symptoms, and implement dental procedures for the resolutions of problems related to the gums and teeth.

What is Neuromuscular dentistry?

A sub specialty called Neuromuscular dentistry deals with the practice of maintaining good condition of the jaw, gums, teeth and all the soft and hard tissues that are found in the orofacial area. This includes the muscles, nerves, the jaw bone and its articulations (joints). One of the most common conditions encountered by neuromuscular dentists is misalignment of the jaw at its joints with the skull, called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ). This condition may lead to pain in the neck and jaw, severe headache, ear ringing and tinnitus and even insomnia.

Temporomandibular joint disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) manifests often as chronic jaw pain. When jaw pain persists despite medications and other interventions designed to eliminate pain, the problem may originate from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) already. Pain relief would not be able to alleviate the symptoms, since TMD is primarily mechanical in nature. A neuromuscular dental practitioner with adequate experience in TMD will be able to assess, diagnose, and treat the symptoms more effectively.

Only a proper re-alignment of the jaw position, combined with adequate conditioning of the muscles of mastication (chewing) that are attached to the jaw and facial and skull bones, assure complete resolution of TMJ disorders. A TMJ practitioner routinely provides relief to clients and makes the simple activities of daily life such as speech and eating, more manageable and less painful. With the jaw positioned optimally, every jaw movement is once gain again painless.

State of the Art Equipment  for Neuromuscular Conditions

Treatment of neuromuscular conditions that affect the jaw and mouth often requires appliances. For example, in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders, a TENS machine is prescribed by the specialist. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is designed to relieve pain and muscle spasm. A TENS unit releases pulses of low frequency energy that relaxes muscles with its massaging effect, stimulates endorphins in the nervous system to relieve pain, and facilitates increased  blood flow, which clears the body of metabolites and other waste products.

Mouth guards that are used to stabilize the bite, as well as jaw splints that are used to solve the problem of jaw clenching and grinding, are also available. All these innovative products paired with the able hands of specialists, is making the neuromuscular dentistry specialty one of the most technologically advanced of all.

Supportive Activities to Promote Neuromuscular Dental Health

Certain activities must be done as part of the daily routine of the patient.  Some of these are:

  • Maintain good standing and sitting posture all throughout the day, focusing on the alignment of the neck with respect to the body.
  • Avoid eating foods that are difficult to chew.
  • Avoid using the telephone with the crook of the neck.
  • Support the jaw when yawning; limit jaw movement whenever possible.

These activities fully complement the professional intervention provided by .


One thought on “Neuromuscular Dentistry for resolution of temporomandibular joint disorder

  1. Excellent information– TMJ is a serious condition that both parents and children should be informed about. Another good tip for promoting neuromuscular dental health is to practice stress management. Often times, we unconsciously tense our muscles when we feel stressed out, anxious, or worried. By practicing stress management (i.e. yoga, gentle exercise, meditation), we can help the muscles relax and prevent conditions like TMJ from developing.

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