TMJ & Migraine Therapy

sore jaw and tmj pain

An imperfect bite can affect you in ways that you would normally think were non-dental related.

If you snore, have migraine/headaches, sore jaw or neck muscle pain then you could be a candidate for Neuromuscular Dentistry.

Neuromuscular Treatment for TMJ and Migraine Therapy

Step One: Dr. Gelfand will create impressions of your teeth.  Since these casts duplicate tooth anatomy, they offer a convenient way to study the tooth structure and arrangement of the teeth other than by direct examination.

Step Two: Neuromuscular and orthopedic dental treatment involves relaxing the muscles to their habitual state. We use a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation), similar to those used in physical therapy practices. The TENS unit is used by delivering gentle electronic stimulation to your muscles. After about 45-60 minutes, this electrically induced ‘exercise’ will allow your muscles to overcome their programming. Once your muscles are relaxed, Dr. Gelfand will confirm and record the relaxed position of your jaw through a process called bite registration. Bite Registration is done by placing a fast setting putty-like material between your teeth, then guiding the jaw to the desired position.

Step Three: Our dentist will then make a custom orthotic to reposition your jaw into a more physiologic resting position. This initial phase is completely reversible and allows us to stabilize your new, more harmonious bite. Once an acceptable comfort level has been reached, a decision on long-term options can be made. Your orthotic is removable, but is meant to be worn full time as your muscles become “deprogrammed”.

Your Bite & Your New Smile

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses many possible types of treatment.  This can range in complexity from simple whitening of the teeth to full-mouth reconstruction.
Muscle forces, even subconscious ones, like teeth grinding can be very harmful. Damage to natural teeth requiring veneers may have resulted from the constant application of these powerful forces.  If this was the case, the same forces will be working against the veneers once they are applied to the teeth.  For these reasons, Dr. Gelfand studies the status of muscles controlling the jaw, together with other factors affecting your bite.  This information is used to plan the jaw position prior to application of the veneer, maximizing protection against damage to the veneers or further damage to the natural teeth.

Why people grind their teeth, what will happen if left untreated and how can the dentist help:

Teeth grinding is clinically referred to as bruxism. It is the act of consciously or unconsciously clenching your teeth either during the day or while you sleep. Bruxism affects both the teeth and all of the structure near it, including your head.

People grind their teeth for a number of reasons. Doctors believe that it is because of stress. Dentists say that it happens because one’s teeth are not properly aligned with each other.

The teeth are put under enormous pressure which can wear away the enamel leading to exposed dentin and eventually teeth breakage. Bruxism is particularly bad if you have expensive dental work as grinding your teeth can destroy dental work as well as your natural teeth. Bruxism also puts great strain on the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and can cause aching jaw and facial muscles and morning headaches.

How does the dentist protect your teeth against bruxism?

Our dentist will create a customized mouth night guard for tooth and enamel protection. Impressions will be taken and sent to our lab. In one to two weeks your night guard will be ready.

How does the dentist help treat bruxism?

Neuromuscular and orthopedic dental treatment involves relaxing the muscles to their habitual state. We use a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation), similar to those used in physical therapy practices. The TENS unit is used to deliver gentle electronic stimulation to your muscles. After about 45-60 minutes, this electrically induced ‘excercise’ will allow your muscles to overcome their programming. Once your muscles are relaxed, Dr. Gelfand will confirm and record the relaxed position of your jaw through a process called bite registration. Bite Registration is done by placing a fast setting putty-like material between your teeth, then guiding the jaw to the desired position.

Dr. Gelfand will then make a custom orthotic to reposition your jaw into a more physiologic resting position. This initial phase is completely reversible and allows us to stabilize your new, more harmonious bite. Once an acceptable comfort level has been reached, a decision on long term options can be made. Your orthotic is removable, but is meant to be worn full time as your muscles become “deprogrammed”.

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