Your Jaw & Bite
A complete, healthy smile is more than just a set of beautiful teeth. It’s the product of your muscles, bones, teeth, and nerves working together. An issue with any one of these areas can impact another, emphasizing the importance of realigning the jaw or fixing a bad bite.
Neuromuscular dentistry, or physiologic dentistry, requires the completion of advanced training on bite alignment and creating harmony between the muscles, nerves, and teeth. Dr. Whaley completed this prestigious program at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, making her one of the few Triad dentists to seek and obtain neuromuscular and TMJ dental training.
During your free consultation with Dr. Whaley, she’ll walk you through the process and carefully examine your case. She’ll determine whether you have a TMJ disk replacement or a muscular imbalance and if repositioning appliance therapy would be beneficial.
TMJ & Neuromuscular Dentistry
Some common signs and symptoms that you may need TMJ and neuromuscular care include:
- Worn dentition (shortened teeth)
- Clenching or grinding
- Chewing difficulties
- Neck, back & shoulder pain
- Ringing or stuffiness of the ears
- Pain or soreness around the jaw joints
- Limited movement or locking jaw
- Clicking and popping sounds in the jaw joint
At Triad Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Whaley guarantees a safe and effective treatment plan by using the best technology and techniques to properly diagnose your specific problem. Depending on your case, she may use a variety of tests to find the cause of your jaw pain, such as:
- Sonography: Vibrations used to identify where the joint in the jaw isn’t properly functioning when it opens and closes.
- Electromyography: Pads that measure your jaw muscle activity.
- Jaw tracking: Analyzes the lower jaw movements with a magnet that identifies abnormalities.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Ultra-low frequency electrical stimulation of the muscles to relieve muscle spasms and pain.
For TMD and MPD
The symptoms listed above are often an indication of either temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or myofascial pain dysfunctions (MPD). Neuromuscular dentistry works to relieve the pain and reposition the jaw into its optimal position.
After analyzing your bite, Dr. Whaley can treat your jaw problem with a myomonitor and a small removable mouthpiece called an orthotic. This is a customized, acrylic device that’s generally worn all day on the lower jaw.
The orthotic works to reposition the jaw and correct its neuromuscular position so it can reduce pain and align your bite. A separate nighttime appliance may be needed to help stabilize the joint position, depending on your individual needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re suffering from recurring pain or stiffness in your jaw, this could be an indication of TMJ disorder. TMD can be very painful and debilitating, so it’s a good idea to call our practice if you notice any potential symptoms. If you do in fact have TMJ disorder, Dr. Whaley can use her expansive knowledge of neuromuscular dentistry to provide an effective treatment solution.
Popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw are among the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. Typically, these sounds are especially noticeable when you speak, chew, or yawn. If this is happening to you, call our practice and schedule an appointment with Dr. Whaley as soon as you can. She’ll determine if your symptoms are connected to TMD and develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.
Since the joint is located next to your ear, issues with your TMJ can affect your hearing. Many patients report ear pain or tinnitus as a result of TMJ disorder. In some cases, TMD can cause hearing loss, though this is highly unusual.
Patients who suffer from chronic headaches or sinus pain without explanation may actually have TMJ disorder without even knowing it. Clenching or grinding your teeth is one of the primary causes of TMD and it also builds pressure in your sinuses, causing headaches on a regular basis.
Since the symptoms can overlap, sinus infections are sometimes mistaken for TMJ issues. Dr. Whaley will examine your jaw closely and determine the underlying cause of your pain so she can provide a treatment that offers the relief you need.
Find the Relief You Need
At Triad Cosmetic Dentistry
We’ll work with you to discover the cause of your discomfort and get you on track to a healthy smile and fully-functioning jaw. We want your smile to be a reason for your confidence, not discomfort.
Contact us at (336) 434-3186 to learn more about how our TMJ and neuromuscular dentistry treatments can get you on your way to a pain-free, beautiful smile.