Neuromuscular dental treatments allow a dentist to track the movement of a jaw as it opens and closes. Using the analogy of an air traffic controller monitoring an approaching airplane on a landing strip, if the plane is making an incorrect approach, the air traffic controller’s job is to guide it safely and correctly. In this analogy, the brain is the control tower and the muscles are the pilot of the mouth.
If you suffer from a bad bite, meaning your teeth don’t mesh together properly and the teeth hit wrong, the brain will keep telling the muscle to continually “pull up” or “go down to the right” or “go up again”. Over a prolonged period of time, these muscles will naturally become overworked and fatigued, causing severe neck and head pain.
Having said that, not all misaligned or bad bites result in pain. The accompanying pictures are of a 65-year old male who has had a bad bite for his entire adult life however, he’s never suffered from headaches. So why does he have broken teeth? Why is there no pain? Simply put, his brain didn’t tell the jaw to slow down and hit softly and evenly. Within the confines of the analogy, there was no communication between the control tower and the airplane, which was nose diving and coming in hard and fast.
Over time, because of endless crash landings, his teeth were eventually destroyed. Instead of his muscles taking their cue from the brain and pulling back to soften the blow, it was “all systems go!” which led to the extreme breakage and damage illustrated in the picture. While it may be hard to understand, the teeth did all the damage to themselves; this wasn’t the result of a fall or an accident.
In treating cases like this, the concern dentists have is predicting the outcome. Will the recommended solution last or will it break, eventually resulting in the same problems down the road? The first step is recognizing the cause and the effect it had on the teeth and the mouth, then determine the best and most appropriate solution, taking into consideration what the patient wants to accomplish in the end.
In this particular case, the patient wanted to end up with a beautiful, functional smile. All new, porcelain crowns on his natural teeth are what you see in the picture. But you might think placing crowns will just cover up the problem and the patient will still have a bad bite. By using neuromuscular technology, this patient’s muscles and his jaw position was accurately and precisely measured, with the new porcelain crowns being placed at their correct and natural bite position.
This patient, along with most people, are also concerned about predictability. They want their new teeth to:
– Fit better
– Look better
– Be more comfortable
– Last longer
They also want to know they are getting the best value possible given their investment of time and money. With neuromuscular technology, being able to measure muscle and jaw position is just another way to be more predictable, which ultimately alleviates a patient’s concerns and questions.