Yes, unfortunately it actually can, since everything in the body is connected. A neuromuscular dentist focuses not only on the health of teeth and gums, but also the entire functional system that allows you to chew, swallow, speak, and yawn. Basically anything you do with your mouth that includes the jaw joints and facial muscles is addressed. They consider the position of the teeth and your bite in relation to the optimal function of the joints and muscles, restoring balance that in turn reduces pain and increases function.
This style of dentistry treats people with TMJ problems, bite misalignment, and facial pain. However, anytime there are modifications to teeth, such as orthodontics or veneers, the overall impact on function must be considered to ensure harmony of the system.
Headaches and migraines are most often caused by having a “bad” bite. If the teeth don’t fit together optimally, clenching and grinding (bruxing) can occur. This places stress on the muscles of the head, face, and neck. Most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. Clicking, popping, locking, joint pain, headaches, and ear or eye pain can be the result of a compressed joint and/or compromised masseter muscles.
Signs of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Teeth Grinding
- Sore or Stiff Neck
- Ear Congestion or Earaches
- Ringing in Ears
- Soreness in Facial Muscles
- Jaw Fatigue
- Worn and/or Cracked Teeth
- Limited Jaw Opening
- Difficulty Closing Teeth Together
- Jaw Deviates To One Side When Opening
- Jaw Popping, Clicking, Grating
- Blurred Vision or Pain Behind Eyes
Bite Misalignment Causes
- Allergies causing mouth-breathing
- Orthodontics and dental restorations that don’t take muscle and joints into account
- Tooth extraction that caused shifting
- Displaced disc in TMJ joint
- Injury from fall or whiplash
- Intubation procedure
- Natural child birth (when birthing partner pulls on jaw from behind)
You dentist will conduct a muscle and joint palpation to determine if they are functioning with your bite correctly. You’ll open, close, and clench your teeth as the doctor feels for function in the various facial muscles and temporal mandibular joint (TMJ). If your main chewing muscles are unable to fire with clenching and/or there is pain, there is imbalance.
Additional computerized diagnostic testing may be required to determine the exact amount of imbalance, the optimal rest position for the jaw, and best treatment.
Treatment ranges from a simple night guard, removable orthotic device, or functional orthopedics to full mouth reconstruction. These are conservative, non-invasive treatments that produce a significant reduction or elimination of symptoms.
If you ignore TMJ, it does not go away, but only gets worse. Muscle relaxers and pain meds are only temporary band-aids to the problem. People may search for answers from many health professionals for years before learning that a specially trained TMJ dentist is usually the primary care giver in these cases. We address the jaw joint factors related to the pain and restore proper function that improves overall health.
Dr. Arhiri at the Premier Smiles Dental Spa can evaluate your head, neck, shoulder, jaw, and facial pain to determine if it is related to TMJ and if neuromuscular dentistry could alleviate it. Call 610.647.7611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment.