New Patients • 302-600-1165 Current Patients • 302-239-1641 Hours • Monday - Wednesday 8am To 4pm, Thursday 8am - 1pm

Treating TMD With Neuromuscular Dentistry

added on: July 26, 2022
All About Smiles in Wilmington

Everyone has headaches at some point in their lives. However, if you frequently get headaches, facial pain, trouble chewing, talking, or even yawning, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Neuromuscular dentistry aims to find the source of headaches and myofascial pain, cure the symptoms and underlying problems, and enhance patients’ overall well-being. In contrast to conventional dentistry, which focuses solely on the teeth, Neuromuscular dentistry considers the teeth, muscles, and position of the jaw joint.

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a ball-and-socket joint that links your lower jaw to your skull. Among its many functions, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) regulates not just how you open and close your mouth, but also how you chew food and speak. Even your ear canals, shoulders, and back can be affected by a problem with your TMJ.

Temporomandibular joint disorder, often known as TMD, is a condition in which the joint in your jaw is misaligned. A misaligned jaw can lead to issues with your bite and severe pain that can be incapacitating. You must seek treatment for TMD to avoid the painful and unnecessary damage that can be caused to your teeth by a misaligned jaw.

What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint is involved in nearly every mouth movement. The joint allows us to bite, chew, swallow, and talk. Injury to the jaw joints or the surrounding tissues can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder. The following other factors can also cause TMD:

  • Stress 
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth
  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Arthritis in the joint

Researchers are investigating whether hormones play a role in TMJ disorders, given that women are more likely to suffer from them.

What Are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

You should be aware that sounds (like clicking or popping) emanating from the TMJs that are not accompanied by discomfort are pretty common and do not require treatment. Other symptoms that indicate a TMJ disorder include:

  • Clenching or grinding of your teeth and jaw
  • Headaches
  • Numbness/tingling of the arms and fingers
  • Shoulder, neck, and back pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joints
  • Worn or cracked teeth and fillings
  • Loose teeth

At rest, your jaw should be aligned and in its most relaxed position.

Treating TMD with Neuromuscular Dentistry 

By addressing the alignment of the temporomandibular joint, neuromuscular dentistry treats the problem at its core rather than simply treating symptoms. In neuromuscular dentistry, a patient’s temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is moved into its proper, natural alignment using specialized procedures to restore proper function and correct malocclusion.

How Does Neuromuscular Dentistry Work?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy is a treatment that is used in neuromuscular dentistry. In TENS therapy, electrical impulses are delivered to the nerves in the patient’s jaw. Nerve stimulation will result in a relaxation of the jaw muscles and increased joint and jawbone mobility.   

Not only can TENS therapy alleviate the pain associated with TMD, but the posture and alignment acquired during TENS therapy show the best position for your occlusion and temporomandibular joint.

After determining your neuromuscular alignment, your dentist will administer treatment to help restore occlusion and posture. Various treatments can be used, including TENS, orthotics, orthodontics, and restorative dental procedures.

Reach Out to All About Smiles To Treat TMD

At All About Smiles, we specialize in restoring face and jaw muscles to their ideal positions using neuromuscular dentistry. Anyone who suffers from TMD can come to us for assistance in finding relief from their painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Lewis Yu and Dr. Grace Liu at our office in Wilmington to learn more about how neuromuscular dentistry can help you.

Learn More About Your Dental Health with All About Smiles!

It all adds up to better health, smile, body, and spirit!