Neuromuscular Dentistry in Jacksonville, FL
Neuromuscular dentistry sounds intimidating, and to be honest, it takes advanced training to be fully understood. Neuromuscular dentistry considers the facial muscles and joints and their relationship with the teeth. Why is this important? Candidates for neuromuscular dentistry often experience chronic headaches and facial pain. Others have no pain but have worn their teeth down significantly. Others experience symptoms ranging from clenching, neck pain, and TMJ pain to vertigo and dizziness. Using the principles of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Wagner can alleviate these symptoms and create a properly functioning oral system.
Neuromuscular dentistry begins by finding the most relaxed position of the muscles and the jaw. This is called physiologic rest. Dr. Wagner does this with the help of a TENS unit. The TENS unit sends low-frequency impulses to the facial muscles and joints, releasing endorphins and encouraging relaxation. The TENS unit also increases blood flow and flushes out toxins. After just a few minutes of “TENSing,” physiological rest can be achieved. Dr. Wagner then uses a K-7 to record the ideal jaw position and determine the proper treatment.
Once Dr. Wagner has relaxed your facial muscles and recorded your bite, he can create a custom oral appliance that will hold your jaw in place. The orthotic essentially “reprograms” your facial muscles and stabilizes your bite. Comfortable and discreet, the appliance allows for normal speech and typically isn’t noticeable to others. Once the symptoms are relieved (usually after about three months), Dr. Wagner determines a long-term solution for your neuromuscular disharmony. The beauty of neuromuscular dentistry is that no permanent modifications are made to the teeth until a comfortable bite has been established.
The most common neuromuscular treatments include:
- Coronoplasty/Equilibrium: Coronoplasty involves reshaping tooth enamel to correct the bite. This procedure can be done when the teeth are only slightly misaligned, and no anesthesia is required.
- Removable Overlay Partials: Dr. Wagner creates a permanent orthotic that fits comfortably over back teeth to maintain a properly aligned bite.
- Reconstruction: Crowns can be used to rebuild the back teeth to the muscles’ ideal positioning and provide structural support for the jaw.
- Orthodontics (Braces): Healthy teeth can be moved into their optimal alignment using traditional braces or Invisalign clear braces.
To reduce muscle spasms and treat facial, neck, shoulder, and back pain effectively, Dr. Wagner may suggest neuromuscular massage. This technique is recognized by the American Academy of Pain Management as an effective therapy for lower back pain. The massage involves alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas experiencing muscle spasms. The pressure releases built-up lactic acid and allows the muscles to receive adequate oxygen. Most patients notice that sore muscles are noticeably more relaxed for up to two weeks following neuromuscular massage.