Neuromuscular dentistry addresses the jaw joints and their nerves, muscles, and proper positioning (your bite). Of course it also addresses the teeth and gums. All these structures must work together in harmony for true dental wellness.
Overlooking any of these aspects can result in many dental problems including chipped and fractured teeth, dental restorations that do not last, and possibly health problems throughout your body.
When the jaw joints are out of alignment, many uncomfortable or painful symptoms will appear. You might have been living with some of them for years, because many people who suffer from TMD do not realize it. They notice the chronic headaches, the sleep difficulty, and the ringing in their ears, for example, but do not realize that these disparate symptoms all stem from the same dental condition.
You can feel your jaw joints moving if you place a fingertip in each ear and open your mouth. That tells you how close to the ears these joints are, which in turn explains why TMD might cause ear symptoms.
A general dentist would not have the specialized technology to accurately diagnose TMD. The first step is to do a full dental examination, but beyond that, the jaw joints and jaw muscles must be examined. Dr. Coleman uses an evaluation system that records three types of data:
He also uses a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation). This is a small battery-powered unit with several electrodes. Dr. Coleman attaches the electrodes to strategic places on the head, neck, and shoulders, and the unit administers mild electric shocks to the muscles in those places.
This is done while you relax and doze off or watch TV. After 30 to 40 minutes, your jaw muscles will be relaxed, perhaps for the first time in years. This relaxation allows your lower jaw to assume its correct position, also perhaps for the first time in years. The chronic muscle stress and tightness is now gone and Dr. Coleman has a record of your correctly aligned jaw joints and jaw muscles.
The goal of your TMD treatment will be to make the relaxed jaw position permanent. Each TMD case is individual and Dr. Coleman will discuss the methods that could be used in your case. There may be an oral appliance to retrain the jaw muscles; dental work to slightly reshape certain teeth or remove a tooth; and you may have a TENS unit at home to relax your muscles again when necessary.
Please see TMJ Questions for more on this disorder.
Dr. Coleman trained at the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) for Advanced Dental Studies. It is the world’s most prestigious school for post-graduate dentistry, including neuromuscular dentistry. When the principles of neuromuscular dentistry are applied to cosmetic dentistry or general dentistry procedures, your results will be longer lasting, more comfortable, and more aesthetically pleasing.
The Coleman Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, serving San Diego, La Jolla, and Poway, brings together the most advanced technology and techniques available for your dental care. Please contact neuromuscular dentist Dr. Coleman today to schedule your complimentary consultation.