WHAT IS NEUROMUSCULAR DENTISTRY?
Neuromuscular Dentistry is a unique discipline performed by specially-trained dentists. It is an approach to treatment of specific signs and symptoms that we recognize are related to having pathologic occlusion, or a ‘bad bite.’
The position of our jaw is primarily determined by the hard tissues, i.e. the joints and the teeth. If this position is not precisely where the muscles are relaxed and comfortable, signs and symptoms will likely occur.
Signs of a bad bite include:
– severely worn teeth
– overclosure (deep bite)
– jaw pain
– neck pain
– tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
– forward head posture
– tooth pain & sensitivity
WHAT IS AN OPTIMAL BITE AND HOW DO YOU ‘FIND’ IT?
The optimal bite is the position of the jaw (in relation to the skull) that the surrounding muscles are most relaxed with. It is the goal of the neuromuscular dentist to find this position using equipment that provides nerve-mediated muscle relaxation and computerized feedback from the muscles. The doctor can then use the optimal bite to make a removable orthotic for pain therapy or actually rebuild the bite with porcelain restorations or orthodontic movement.
CAN A BAD BITE CAUSE HEADACHES & MIGRAINES?
Yes. A majority of pain experienced in the head and neck region comes from the muscles. Muscles produce pain when they are not comfortable within the position they are forced to function. The pain comes from a buildup of lactic acid in the fatigued muscle or tension that the overworked muscle is placing on another structure. When the system is overloaded with too much tension from the muscle, and sometimes enhanced with certain stimuli, the migraine occurs.
HOW CAN NECK PAIN BE RELATED TO A BAD BITE?
Your head is essentially a 14 lb. bowling ball sitting on a pencil. What keeps your head upright? Your muscles! The muscles on the back of your head and neck offset the muscles on the front of your head and neck. All of the major muscle groups on the front of your head and neck are in some way attached to your jaw. When the jaw is not in an optimal position, the muscles of the neck can be affected due to this relationship causing pain and discomfort.