Neuromuscular dentistry is the term used when assessing the function of your jaw joints and muscles; and aims to relieve symptoms of TMD by placing the jaw into its optimal position.
The bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and teeth that make our masticatory system, function in a complex manner. The components of this system including the nerves that control the jaw muscles that will allow precise movement of the lower jaw which enable our teeth to chew up and swallow food must function in a coordinated and balanced manner to avoid damage to these structures.
It is when this Neuromuscular system is not functioning in harmony that we can have the issues and problems we call TMD
At Smile Dynamics in East Wahroonga we analyse all the information available to determine if your symptoms are TMD> Most importantly we listen to the history and nature of your symptoms and consider both emotional and physiologic causes. We also have at our disposal state-of-the-art technology such as joint vibration analysis, to add more information to help us unravel what is one of dentistry’s most confusing conditions. Quite often we will also draw on expert opinion in other fields such as neurologists, psychologists and physical therapists.
Some of the symptoms of TMD may include:
Treat your bruxism and/or TMJ Dysfunction with a NTI Splint…
NTI splints or nociceptive trigeminal inhibition splint is a common treatment for facial pain that results from clenching or grinding (bruxism) and often accompanies certain temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) Studies have shown that these simple appliances can reduce muscle pain in nearly 80% of patients. At Smile Dynamics in Wahroonga we offer NTI Splints to patients who have difficulty managing their TMJ Dysfunction symptom and/or are experiencing night time bruxism.
Generally, splints or appliances cover all of the upper jaw teeth and are flat to allow the patient to move their jaw freely when the teeth bite against the splint.
However, the NTI splint design is small, contacts only the maxillary (upper jaw) and mandibular (lower jaw) front teeth, and places the mandible (lower jaw) in a slightly forward and open position. The functionality of this splint type is superior to the traditional maxillary splint in reducing symptoms of TMD.
NTI Splints are custom-made to suit your smile…
Wearing a device at night called an NTI appliance can decrease the jaw and temporal muscle spasm and fatigue and often eliminates or reduces the frequency and severity of crippling headaches or migraines.
An NTI appliance is a custom-made new design bite splint that many people find easier to wear and more effective. It is approximately the size of the end of your thumb, fits over your front teeth and is worn every night when you first receive it, but after your symptoms subside, you only wear it when necessary. You should notice an improvement immediately, although the full effect may take several weeks.
Did you know that Smile Dynamics also offers snoring appliances?
Snoring affects approximately 40% of the adult population, is more prevalent in men than women and has been recorded up to 90 decibels, similar to a model aeroplane.
Snoring occurs when the muscles and soft tissue at the back of the throat (including the tongue) relax and vibrate as you breathe in and out. Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are conditions we take seriously at Smile Dynamics as it has been linked to high blood pressure and risk of heart attack.
A custom-made anti-snoring oral splint from Smile Dynamics in East Wahroonga moulded from a detailed cast of your mouth is one very comfortable and effective solution that enables many snoring patients and their partners to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
When correctly fitted, these splints have been known to substantially reduce the frequency and volume of snoring. They work by repositioning your jaw, which increases airway space and reduces airway constriction, providing a stable position of your jawbone and an improvement in your upper airway muscle activity.
What is your temporomandibular joint?
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a ball and socket joint, which is at the junction in front of your ears where your jaw connects to your skull. It is this joint that allows you to open and close your jaw, talk, swallow, eat and chew.
A bad bite as well as improper jaw position can contribute to chronic facial pain for a sufferer of TMD.
TMJ Dysfunction (TMD) can cause facial pain, headaches and migraines…
Due to the close proximity, a common focus of pain is in the ear. Many patients are firstly referred to an ear specialist convinced their pain is the result of an inner ear infection as they can experience ringing in the ears and hearing loss.
When the earache is not associated with infection and the eardrum appears normal, a doctor will often consider the possibility that the pain is caused by a TMJ Dysfunction.
TMD is a condition which can take years to develop and is commonly misdiagnosed as a neck or shoulder muscle problem…
This can be because many TMD sufferers have constant chronic migraine-like headaches, facial and neck muscle pain. Facial swelling can occur on the affected side and your jaw may lock, or you may not be able to open as wide as you should. In addition, when you open your lower jaw, it may deviate to one side. You may find that you favour one side or the other by opening your jaw awkwardly.
This reduced range of motion can be related to muscle spasm or Trismus, and /or may be the result or a disc displacement in the TMJ itself.
Do your teeth fit together properly? This may contribute to TMJ Dysfunction…
Your teeth may not fit together properly (malocclusion), and your bite may feel odd, some patients may also have trouble swallowing because of muscle spasms and even feel nauseous. At Smile Dynamics Wahroonga we can help relieve these symptoms by treating the issue at the source with neuromuscular dentistry.
If you have any of the symptoms listed, you may be an undiagnosed TMD sufferer:
- Jaw pain
- A clicking or popping in the jaw joints
- Neck and/or shoulder pain
- Tooth pain
- Ear pain
- Grinding, also known as Bruxism
- Ringing in the ears, called tinnitus
At Smile Dynamics, we perform a full examination of the TM joints, head, neck and facial muscles, using computer diagnostics to measure the sounds, muscle balance, jaw position and occlusion.
Treatment can vary depending on the individual, although usually a neuromuscular bite splint, which is made to a physiological bite position, is the first step to confirm the diagnosis of TMD. Ultimately, a jaw position and a stable bite that allows for the optimal health of the jaw joints, jaw muscles and the teeth needs to be established.
Various symptoms may occur in your jaw joint and facial muscles including:
- Headaches, dizziness
- Grinding of teeth
- Pain or soreness in and around the jaw joints especially upon waking
- Ear aches, stuffiness or ringing in the ears
- Numbness in the fingers and arms
- Limited jaw movement and difficulty swallowing
- Clicking or popping sounds in your jaw joints
- Jaw locking- open or closed
- Pain behind the eyes
- Neck, shoulder or back pain
- Facial pain
- Worn tooth surfaces
- Broken or chipped teeth
If you suffer from any of the above conditions, neuromuscular dentistry may be of benefit to you. Talk to the team at Smile Dynamics today and discover how they can restore your bite, relieve your pain and improve your quality of life.