Neuromuscular Dentistry a Valuable Commodity for TMJ Sufferers
- Posted on: Mar 30 2018
We may call it by different names – TMJ, TMJ Disorder, TMD – but the clicking and the popping and the pain of a poorly-functioning jaw is something that typically provides us with very clear evidence of its existence. The condition in which the temporomandibular joint at the back of the jaw does not move as smoothly as it should affect nearly 10 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. So, more important than calling it by it’s “right” name, what we need to focus on is the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
TMJ Disorder may feel complicated because it may present a plethora of symptoms, some of which seem completely unrelated to the mouth. It may seem complex because the oral structure itself is supported by the TMJs, blood vessels, tendons, nerves, and by muscles that extend all the way around the head and neck. This can all lead to a perception that TMJ Disorder is difficult to understand and even more difficult to treat.
That is not our experience.
Neuromuscular Dentistry near Philadelphia
Many dental practices offer services geared toward TMJ Disorder. In many instances, the protocol that is used focuses on the reduction of pressure on the joint. In some cases, this may be sufficient. However, a neuromuscular dentist will look beyond the stress that the jaw is under and explore potential reasons why.
Neuromuscular dentistry is the practice of in-depth investigation into the musculature and nerves of the face and jaw. To perform this depth of care, Dr. Marshall has completed years of expanded training that have increased her familiarity with the structures of the jaw and how they work together for optimal performance.
In the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ Disorder, your neuromuscular dentist observes the joint and facial muscles at rest. This provides a baseline of alignment and muscle lengths. Additionally, Dr. Marshall observes the bite and how alignment issues may be an obstacle to joint function. The extensiveness of diagnostic exploration leads to a treatment protocol that may include:
- Cosmetic dentistry treatment that adjusts the shape of teeth that are not supporting alignment. For instance, if a dental crown is sitting higher than natural teeth around it, replacement may be beneficial.
- Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to improve the way opposing teeth come together when chewing.
- A custom-made oral orthotic can facilitate a balanced jaw position that reduces stress on muscles and the temporomandibular joints.
Posted in: TMJ