If you suffer from recurring headaches, or have frequent jaw pain, earaches, or a teeth grinding habit, you could benefit by seeing a neuromuscular dentist. Those problems are among the many symptoms of a misaligned jaw – a condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD or TMJ).
TMD/TMJ is a little-known condition and although many people suffer from it, most do not realize it. They do not know what is causing their chronic pain and discomfort. The TMD headaches can be very severe and migraine-like, and you might visit a sequence of doctors in search of a remedy. Many such people come to us after using a series of painkillers for years but never receiving an explanation of their headache cause.
A general dentist and a cosmetic dentist do not necessarily have training in neuromuscular dentistry. It is not taught in most dental schools. To become a qualified neuromuscular dentist, a general dentist must complete rigorous post-graduate training, both theoretical and hands-on.
Baystate Dental has an array of dentists, some practicing general dentistry, some cosmetic dentistry, and some neuromuscular dentistry. Some are both cosmetic and neuromuscular, such as Dr. Haluch and Dr. Coughlin.
Working on Your Bite
A general dentist looks at your teeth and gums and responds to problems like cavities or loose teeth. General dentistry provides full basic dentistry services, which is all that some people need.
A neuromuscular dentist works on the teeth and gums, but also on your bite – occlusion, to use the dental term. How does your jaw move? Do you feel any discomfort or limitation in the way it opens and closes your mouth? The bite is a three-point mechanism with the two jaw joints and the chin. If you place a finger in front of one ear and open your mouth, you can feel the jaw joint working.
Your bite includes the jaw joints, jaw muscles, and the nerves and blood vessels servicing those structures. When a neuromuscular dentist gives you a tooth crown or a white filling, he does so with your bite in mind. This is more than just making sure than the restored tooth will meet its opposite neighbor smoothly. Misaligned teeth or a poorly done tooth crown could be the cause of TMD. They could be preventing your mouth from closing correctly and this would build up muscle strain in the face, neck, and shoulders.
Please see our TMD page for more information on its symptoms and treatment.
TMD (TMJ) has a cluster of subjective symptoms you can feel and objective signs that your neuromuscular dentist can identify. TMD can be accurately diagnosed by a neuromuscular dentist using special technology and comprehensive dental knowledge. If you have been suffering from migraine-like headaches or if you have other unexplained pain, the pain will be relieved right in the diagnostic procedure. Diagnosis will discover your correct jaw position, and from there, your treatment can be designed to make it permanent.
You can read more on Questions About TMJ Disorder.
If you would like to learn more about TMD, and whether it might be causing your discomfort or pain, please contact our neuromuscular dentists for a neuromuscular consultation. We have offices in West Springfield, Wilbraham, and Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to serve you.