Physiologic Dentistry

The majority of North Americans suffer from one or more of these symptoms of TMD/TMJ, and unfortunately in many cases these patients’ symptoms are either misdiagnosed or dismissed as having no physiological cause. Our bodies systems are fully interconnected. When one system is in distress or out of balance, accommodations are made by our bodies that can result in pain and malfunction. This same premise is true of our occlusion. A poor or bad bite can cause discomfort to the surrounding musculature. Also, unbalanced musculature can cause premature wear and damage to our teeth, muscles and jaws.

Our bodies strive continually for balance. With our jaws, this balance occurs between the muscles that support our jaw and head and the teeth. If the teeth are in positions where the muscles are in a constant state of unrest, there will be resulting symptoms of pain, headaches, wear on the teeth etc. Imbalance in the muscles and teeth cause a tug of war between the two with the teeth bearing the brunt of the abuse. Based on the premise that muscular discomfort can cause corresponding changes and accommodations in our occlusion and vice versa, neuromuscular dentistry focuses on balancing occlusion in order to bring the muscles and teeth into harmony thereby eliminating pain and malfunction.

Often time Temporomandibular Joint Disorder presents itself as a toothache.  This is why a a thorough Dental examination is important to rule out the teeth as the culprit causing Jaw Pain. Our examinations include three prong approach of check the joint for clicking and popping, muscles of mastication examination and bite evaluation.  For more complicated cases a full work up is suggestive using technology from Myotronics and their K7 machine which measures live muscle function and tests the muscles for hyperactivity. This machine allows us to measure jaw movement and muscle function simultaineously allowing us to find the most orthopedic and physiogic position for the jaw and muscles allowing the muscles to relax and giving the patient relief from long standing jaw pain and headaches.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) include:

  • Headaches / migraines
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Face pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia (Tic douloureux), a neuropathic pain disorder unrelated to TMD
  • Bell’s Palsy, a nerve disorder unrelated to TMD
  • Sensitive and sore teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Limited jaw movement or locking jaw
  • Numbness in the fingers and arms (related to the cervical musculature and nerves, not to TMD)
  • Worn or cracked teeth
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw joints
  • Jaw Joint pain
  • Clenching/bruxing
  • Tender sensitive teeth
  • A limited opening or inability to open the mouth comfortably
  • Deviation of the jaw to one side
  • The jaw locking open or closed
  • Postural problems (forward head posture)
  • Pain in the joint(s) or face when opening or closing the mouth, yawning, or chewing
  • Pain in the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints
  • Pain in the occipital (back), temporal (side), frontal (front), or infra-orbital (below the eyes) portions of the head
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Swelling on the side of the face and/or mouth
  • A bite that feels uncomfortable, “off,” or as if it is continually changing
  • Older Bells palsy

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