When do you need to see a neuromuscular dentist?

Neuromuscular disorders

The term neuromuscular dentist is one you won’t come across often. For many patients who suffer from jaw pain and migraines, seeking the help of a dentist who specializes in neuromuscular disorders has changed the quality of their life. If you’re looking for a solution for symptoms related to TMJ disorder, you’ve come to the right place. We define what a neuromuscular dentist does and when to consult one below.

Neuromuscular dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry

What is neuromuscular dentistry?

This type of dentistry focuses on the proper alignment of the jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) for a balanced bite. Neuromuscular dentistry is based on the philosophy that highlights how a balanced bite contributes to the proper function of the upper body’s muscles and nerves.

The approach uses a non-invasive technique designed to correct the origin of TMJ problems rather than simply relieving pain and treating symptoms. A misaligned bite and poor posture can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulders. With a corrected bite, pain is reduced, and the risk of tooth damage is minimized.

What does a neuromuscular dentist do?

During a consultation, your dentist will gather more information about your bite pattern, observe your TMJ symptoms, and evaluate your jaw, teeth, and muscles. With this information, your dentist can develop a customized treatment plan to realign your bite and find a position that works for you.

To diagnose the source of pain, your dentist may use the following computerized analyses:

  • 3D jaw tracking to identify imbalances
  • Sonography to measure vibrations in the jaw
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to relieve muscle spasms
  • Electromyography (electrical pulse) to track jaw muscle movements

When to consult a neuromuscular dentist

If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, we recommend speaking to a neuromuscular dentist for a treatment plan:

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Clicking when opening and closing the jaw
  • A locking jaw that makes it difficult to open and close the mouth
  • Migraines and frequent headaches
  • Face, neck, and shoulder pain or stiffness

These symptoms often indicate a disorder or misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects your jaw to your skull and keeps your jaw movements smooth. If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms without relief, you may benefit from a specialized treatment plan that a neuromuscular dentist can administer.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 8th, 2021