According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as ten million people in America have some degree of TMJ Disorder or TMD. This condition is characterized by some uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from clicking in the jaw to chronic headaches. The reason for these symptoms is dysfunction or misalignment of the jaw structure, where muscles and bones in the joint are affected by teeth and the way the jaw is moved. TMJ Disorder can be a complicated matter, but that doesn’t mean you have to struggle to find more comfort in your life.
Neuromuscular Dentistry in Northern Virginia
There are common treatment suggestions for reducing the painful symptoms of TMJ Disorder, and many have merit. For example, it makes sense that a person who has TMJ symptoms due to bruxism (grinding and clenching) could benefit from a reduction in caffeine consumption and stress-management techniques. Treatment sometimes needs to extend beyond lifestyle changes, though. This is where a good neuromuscular dentist comes in.
Neuromuscular dentistry is an expanded area of practice that observes and treats the nerves and muscles in the jaw. A dentist who has obtained additional education in neuromuscular dentistry is better equipped to accurately identify sources of dysfunction. This way, treatment may extend beyond lifestyle, pain medication, and the use of a nightguard to diminish the effects of bruxism.
What a neuromuscular dentist does is observe your oral anatomy, and also your lifestyle and unique physiology and stressors that may impact how you use the muscles in your jaw. The in-depth knowledge gained through thorough observation and assessment leads to a balanced treatment plan that may involve:
- Orthodontic care to correct misalignment and improve the way the upper and lower teeth fit when chewing.
- “Cosmetic” treatment that modifies that shape of one or more teeth. This may include the placement of dental crowns, or the bonding of teeth to improve overall alignment.
- Oral appliance therapy aimed at rebalancing the bite.
The symptoms of TMJ Disorder can flare up from time to time, creating additional stress. This is unnecessary. Learn more about this oral condition and how your neuromuscular dentist in McLean, VA can help you improve your quality of life. Call 703-448-1020 to schedule a visit with us.