Many are under the preconceived notion that “braces” only enhance the appearance of a smile. The truth is, they have other uses, too. Take neuromuscular orthodontics, for instance. This treatment not only straightens your smile but also helps balance your bite for health and function. Neuromuscular orthodontics happens to be the treatment of choice for many patients suffering from painful TMJ issues.

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An Overview On TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) links your skull to your jawbone. If injury or inflammation occurs in this area, TMJ disorder develops. It can create painful headaches, jaw discomfort, grinding/clenching, muscle fatigue, ear, neck, and shoulder pain, and other painful symptoms. Some risk factors and causes of this condition, include:

  • Poor positioning of teeth.
  • Dental surgery.
  • Bad posture in the upper back muscles and neck.
  • Stress, which increases jaw clenching or grinding of teeth.
  • Certain infections.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • People who have had jaw trauma or injury.

If you start to notice signs or symptoms of TMJ, reach out to your St. Louis dentist. They can help with diagnosis and treatment options.

Traditional Braces Versus Neuromuscular Orthodontics

First, the focus of traditional braces is to create a straighter smile. This is done by bringing your teeth together without thinking about your jaw joint or its muscles. Regular braces don’t take these issues into account because they ‘assume’ your jaw and muscles will adapt easily to this new position. But this isn’t always the case.

The good news is, neuromuscular orthodontics takes another approach to misalignment. The focus is optimal positioning for teeth, joints, and muscles, so it creates a functional harmony in your mouth. Therefore, the idea is to develop better jaw function and movement, along with aesthetics. The beauty of neuromuscular orthodontics is that it helps in two ways. One is with proper positioning of your teeth and jaw, the other is the bonus of a gorgeous smile.

Your St. Louis dentist will work with you to create a custom neuromuscular orthodontics plan, which outlines your specific needs and goals.

Benefits Of This Treatment

Some benefits of neuromuscular orthodontics, include:

  • Relief from the pain and discomfort of TMJ symptoms.
  • A more stable bite, which isn’t prone to relapse from other influences.
  • A broader, full smile that’s aesthetically pleasing.
  • Facial symmetry, proper proportions, and proper jaw position.
  • A more youthful appearance. In fact, the treatment is thought of as a “non-surgical” facelift.

 The commitment time for this orthodontic ranges between 9 and 24 months. It all depends on a patient’s case and the severity of the issues at hand.

When Neuromuscular Orthodontics Come To Play

Before determining if you need neuromuscular orthodontics, your St. Louis dentist will evaluate your TMJ symptoms to find the root cause of your condition. Your TMJ dentist will ask you questions about your teeth and jaw. Second, you will need to undergo some tests for a diagnosis. You may require digital x-rays for more insight into your head and neck structure. Not to mention the position of the jaw joint. These days, state-of-the-art technologies are part of the process for TMJ diagnosis. This helps with precision around jaw joint positioning and recommending treatment options.

Your TMJ dentist creates a personal plan made specifically for you. They use results from your x-rays, models, and photographs to get a full picture of your TMJ issues for analysis. With this information, they can better understand how your joints, muscles, and teeth are working together to gain more insight on how to address your TMJ symptoms. The best part is, your St. Lewis dentists can find out how to reposition your lower jaw, to relax your pain and discomfort.

Not all TMJ patients require neuromuscular orthodontics. Some patients may decide on full-mouth rehabilitation or dental restorative work, while others turn to oral appliances, like mouthguards. Some cases may need more than one treatment option to address symptoms. No one treatment plan is the same, because not every patient is the same!

Looking For Neuromuscular Orthodontics To Relieve Your TMJ Issues in St. Louis?

TMJ requires a dentist who has experience with jaw joint diagnosis and treatment. This is where Smile On Dental Studio in Richmond Heights, MO can help. Dr. Chris Hill is a neuromuscular dentist who focuses on identifying the underlying cause of TMJ to eliminate pain without surgery or medications.

Whether you suffer from TMJ or are simply unhappy with your bite, neuromuscular orthodontics can benefit most patients. TMJ dentist, Dr. Chris Hill is here to answer your questions about treatment, address concerns, and recommend the right option for you. Please call (314) 678-7876 today for an appointment or you can schedule one online.