DENTIST EXPLAINS ADDED EDGE THE SAINTS EMPLOY IN THEIR SUPER BOWL RUN
LAS VEGAS (February 2, 2010) – Part of the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl run is attributable to some new science that everyday athletes and a university study have shown improves strength, balance, flexibility and endurance.
This season, as a team the Saints have been wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard that employs the science of neuromuscular dentistry. Neuromuscular dentistry involves placing the lower jaw into its optimal resting position. Fixing the bite puts the head, neck and jaw muscles in near-perfect alignment and optimizes breathing. This science is already available across the country and is commonly used by dentists not just to improve athletic performance, but to end migraines, head and neck pain for everyday people.
“At the highest levels of physical performance, this can be the difference between making a play or not,” says Dr. Mark Duncan, clinical director at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI).
“A study conducted by Rutgers University concluded the neuromuscular dentistry-based mouthguard improved vertical jump and power output in explosive, short duration bouts of exercise,” Duncan said. (Aren’t, Pellegrino, McKenna, Jaouhari, Rutgers/The State University of New Jersey.)
“What we know is that if your bite is not right, it often leads to chronic discomfort and pain,” Duncan said. “Just like flexing your arm for a second is comfortable, but flexing it continuously for two to three minutes starts to hurt, a strained jaw position eventually causes discomfort.”
“It’s no different for professional athletes,” Duncan said. “A misaligned bite causes unnatural tension in neck and jaw muscles-this eventually diminishes breathing, saps strength and limits flexibility.”
Neuromuscular dentistry is relatively undiscovered by the dental profession. Fewer than 5 percent of the world’s dentists are trained in this discipline. Neuromuscular concepts are often applied to alleviate pain in patients caused by temporomandibular jaw joint disorder or TMD, a condition commonly known as TMJ.
Neuromuscular dentists are trained after dental school at LVI where they master special techniques and advanced diagnostics to find a patient’s optimum neuromuscular position – where the jaw is naturally aligned and at rest. Patients can then be fitted with crowns and veneers to permanently hold the new balanced position.