Physiologic Orthodontics

NEUROMUSCULAR ORTHODONTICS

Did you know that there is more to a “perfect” bite than just 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 set off a domino effect of problems – particularly problems that affect the muscles that surround the jaw. If your bite is off, the force will fight to move 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, neck and 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 we work to find that balance.

Many times patients feel like their 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.

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DAYAMI

Testimonial

TMJ disorder is a painful life interruption that you shouldn’t have to suffer with. Learn how Dayami’s mouth reconstruction improved her quality of life and left her wishing she had done it 20 years before.

I didn’t realize that my body was kind of slanting towards one side. I had a lot of headaches, I was grinding my teeth and they were symptoms that I kind of learn to live with. Dr. Garcia tied them all together.

Balanced Bite, Beautiful Smile

What Are Neuromuscular Orthodontics?

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 all the components, such as your joints and bones of your jaw, your teeth’s position and how they come together, along with your upper airway.

Teeth are just one part of the smile. Neuromuscular orthodontics also recognizes that:

  • The teeth are surrounded by the muscles of the cheeks and tongue. These muscles are always at work, which, in turn, puts pressure on the teeth and negatively affects jaw position.
  • These muscles can negatively impact your facial development, head posture and tooth alignment.
  • Excessive mouth breathing can lead to abnormal stress from the tongue on the teeth, causing the tongue to move outward, leading to an open bite.
  • When the airway is restricted, it can contribute to developing a narrow dental arch and crowding of the teeth.
  • Many factors cause muscle forces that adversely affect a person’s bite.

Balancing the Bite

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 ease.

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.

TENS

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 TMJD 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 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.

Measuring Jaw Movement

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.

Recording Jaw Joint Sounds

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.

Why Try Neuromuscular Orthodontics?

If you’re living with the pain of TMD 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:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Discomfort while chewing
  • Severe TMJ and jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain/shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Bad posture due to jaw alignment

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.