The way your upper and lower teeth come together (your occlusion) is part of a system of muscles, teeth and joints that makes up the Temporomandibular Joint Complex (TMJ). If your teeth do not fit together properly – your bite is misaligned – then the muscles and joints accommodate to bring your teeth together. This can often lead to overworked muscles and very painful conditions.
Often, TMJ issues can result in severe, debilitating headaches from clenching or grinding – often while sleeping. As with other conditions, the dentist will start with an exam to determine the likely cause of the pain. If TMJ is suspected, we can create a custom mouth guard that will help to align your teeth and jaw at night, reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches, and often eliminating them altogether.
Dr. Rachel Staples will seek to establish harmonious jaw position while considering three main factors affecting your bite: teeth, muscles and jaw joints. The new jaw position, in a relaxed state, is called the neuromuscular bite. To help achieve this, your dentist will use a Myomonitor to deliver a gentle electrical stimulation to your muscles, delivered through adhesive patch electrodes that are attached to specific nerves that control muscle groups. A light stimulus will cause your muscles to twitch or pulse once every 1.5 seconds. After 45-60 minutes, the muscles will become fully relaxed, overcoming their programming.
At Urban Smiles, we utilize computerized software to analyze the muscles and joints (neuromuscular) that may be associated with your pain. These diagnostics help us to address the long-term management of your jaw joint disorder.