If you suffer from the condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (or TMJ dysfunction for short), there are probably many times you’ve wished you could make the pain and stiffness of this ...
Orthodontics for more than just straight teeth
Did you know that there is more to a “perfect” bite besides having straight teeth? You may be surprised to learn that muscles, joints, nerves, and blood vessels also affect the bite and when something is “off”, it can affect set off a domino effect of problems.
Particularly problems that affect the muscles that surround the jaw. If your bite is off, the forces will fight to move the jaw to put the jaw into its proper position, which causes the muscles to become strained and tired.
To combat the domino effect caused by an unbalanced bite, Dr. Garcia and Dr. Sanchez-Garcia use neuromuscular orthodontic treatments to help move the head and neck back’s soft and hard tissues to their intended position. We understand that there is a delicate balance between the body’s ability to adjust to things out of alignment and the stress it can cause on your body’s range of motion and posture, and work to find that balance.
Many times patients feel like they're clicking or popping joints is something that doesn't necessarily bother them, but they don't realize that it's a system that over time will continue to deteriorate.
Before my rehab, I had a lot of headaches. My jaw would clench and I couldn't move. I would speak and you could hear the cracking. My ears will hurt. I was dizzy with vertigo. My neck was constantly in pain... and just by doing this dental work, everything has changed.
Neuromuscular orthodontics is an approach to orthodontics that considers the placement of appliances and/or brackets on the teeth considering factors such as chewing, tooth alignment and how your muscles move.
Neuromuscular orthodontics also examines your mouth from many different perspectives, focusing on how all of the components, such as your joints and bones of your jaw, your teeth’ position, and how they come together, along with your upper airway.
Teeth are just one part of the smile. Neuromuscular orthodontics also recognizes that:
By establishing a balanced bite, we can put your jaw into a more stable position and ensure the temporomandibular joints’ function. Setting a relaxed posture allows your masticatory muscles to function as intended to allow you to chew and move your jaw with easy.
Neuromuscular orthodontics studies how the jaw joints’ muscles, the jaw joints, and the teeth affect one another. It also considers how the teeth mesh together to ensure the harmony of all components.
To properly assess the bite, we use various instruments to examine the structural and fundamental components of your face, jaw, joints and muscles to determine optimal positioning. We can also determine where your jaw muscles are most comfortable and establish the endpoint to where we will move your teeth.
We use a low-frequency TENS (transcutaneous neural stimulator) unit to help relax facial and jaw muscles. Using TENS is the first step to restoring muscles to their regular resting length before we can determine your bite’s diagnosis. Often, muscle spasms and tension are found in individuals living with TMJ and individuals with wear and tear on teeth and bite dysfunction.
Relaxed muscles make it possible to measure how your jaw moves and find the best trajectory in which your muscles are at the most optimal length and position to ensure correct function.
Low-frequency TENS can also reduce pain caused by muscle tension and spasms, helping you be more comfortable.
We also use diagnostic tools to measure your jaw movement to determine how much correction your bite needs. We do this through the use of electromyography (EMG). EMG diagnostics help us monitor the tension in the jaw muscles and see how muscles work together when opening and closing.
We can also record the sounds your jaw joints make during movement (known as crepitus). If your jaw pops, snaps or cracks during movement, it can indicate a problem with the joint, especially in combination with other symptoms such as pain, stiffness and limited use.
If you’re living with the pain of TMJ and its uncomfortable symptoms, we recommend calling us for an appointment to talk about how neuromuscular orthodontics can benefit you.
If you’re having these symptoms and want relief, call us today to schedule an appointment:
You may be a candidate for controlled arch braces, AGGA appliance therapy and other orthodontic treatments. We’d love to hear from you! Schedule your appointment today.
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