What’s the difference between my dentist and a neuromuscular dentist?

What’s the difference between my dentist and a neuromuscular dentist?

If you are fortunate to already see a neuromuscular dentist, nothing!

In all cases, dentists in North America have attended and graduated from dental school.

In all cases the dentist is charged with continuing to learn and develop as the profession advances.

One of those advances has been in the way we restore the teeth. We have entered an era where we can actually be more conservative and have a longer term result if we utilize newer materials. Solutions like silver-mercury fillings had served us very well for over a hundred years, but there are better approaches to fixing disease in teeth today. Similarly, there are better ways to evaluate the comfort and function of the bite.

In days gone by we have looked at the tooth to tooth relationship as the most important. Creating simultaneous contact on the back right and back left teeth was the primary goal. This was improved by looking to see that we have not just good interdigitation or gearing of the teeth, but also had simultaneous alignment of the jaw joints. Our focus actually moved from primarily being tooth driven to primarily being bone and joint driven. In order to allow the joint to function in a specific relationship, the teeth were reshaped and altered to attempt to help address bite issues. However, while it is more complete to include not just teeth but also bones in the evaluation of the patient, it is still sorely lacking in what turns out to be a major consideration.

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What a neuromuscular dentist will do is actually measure and assess the soft tissues like muscles as well as the teeth and the bones. The neuromuscular dentist can literally measure the bite muscles exactly like a heart doctor would measure your heart muscles. This comprehensive and complete picture allows the neuromuscular dentists to see beyond the teeth – and in fact, since the muscles account for 90% of the pain in the body, the neuromuscular dentist has a focus that allows them to help in ways classically trained dentists don’t yet understand.

Fortunately LVI is training dentists from across the globe in these concepts however there is a long way to go before it is a common thing in the profession. If you are dealing with chronic pain or headaches, you can search to find a neuromuscular TMJ dentist here.

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Categories Neuromuscular Orthotics
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