Neuromuscular dentistry is, simply put, the field of dental medicine that deals with the structures of the head and neck including soft tissues (or muscles), bone, and nerves. It not only involves upper and lower jaw disorders such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), but also, the anatomy and physiology of the patient as a whole.
The Role of Neuromuscular Dentists
The neuromuscular dentist treats a variety of symptoms and disorders involving the jaws and teeth. He understands how the relationship of the muscles, nervous system, joints, the bite, and the biomechanics all relate to the proper functioning of the jaw, and their role in the disease process. Some of the diagnoses that a neuromuscular dentist treats include TMJ disorders, headaches, head and neck pain, jaw disorders such as popping, clicking, and locking, sinus pain, and sleep apnea.
The Benefits of Seeing a Neuromuscular Dentist
When a patient seeks healthcare related to a specific problem, they usually go to a specialist to treat the problem (e.g. a chiropractor is seen for back pain). The field of dentistry is no exception. For a problem with the jaw, there are many benefits of seeing a neuromuscular dentist.
- They are trained in evaluating and treating the anatomy and physiology of the head and neck as a whole.
- They have the technology necessary to diagnose, isolate and treat the problems
- They decrease or eliminate pain completely.
- They help their patients achieve overall enhanced health.
- Due to corrections they make, dental restorations last longer.
The field of neuromuscular dentistry is a relatively new one with many distinct advantages for treating problems in the TMJ, or in treating headaches. Their in-depth knowledge of the head and neck allows them to effectively treat and give their patients relief from pain and discomfort. The interventions range from wearing an orthotic to position the lower jaw, to orthodontics to correct the disharmony of the bite, to restoring the damage caused from a bad bite with crowns or onlays. Many of the treatments are easily performed and provide a lifetime of relief to the patient.