Neuromuscular Dentistry | Park City, Salt Lake City, Midway & Heber, UT
Neuromuscular Dentistry or Physiologic Dentistry is the practice of incorporating teeth, muscles, their associated nerves, and joints into consideration as an interdependent unit. This approach takes a more comprehensive look at the causes of dental issues by viewing oral health as a collection of the systems involved. A comprehensive understanding of how and why systems are disfunctional is vital to successful treatment, and the focus of Dr. Peterson’s approach in his practice. In contrast, traditional dentistry instead focuses on the teeth and gums alone, leaving important factors such as muscles, nerves, and joints out of the picture.
The Neuromuscular Dentistry approach is especially important in treating temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and the systems associated with it. Typically a result of malocclusion due to jaw growth, TMD symptoms stem most commonly from growth adaptations due to airway and tongue posture compromise. A less than ideal alignment results in adjacent systems taking on more stress and becoming inflamed. This stress affects muscles, nerves, and joints and can carry with it a great deal of discomfort and can result in lifestyle-altering conditions.
The Importance of Neuromuscular Dentistry
- Neuromuscular connection to dentistry – Of all 12 main nerve branches that descend from our brain (including vision and hearing) 70% of all sensory input travels through the Trigeminal nerve. This is the same nerve supplying the chewing muscles and muscular pain happens to account for 90% of all pain. This demonstrates the interconnectedness of our bodily systems. When one system is under stress, a neighboring system must contribute more to account for the deficiency.
- Posture – The significance of neuromuscular dentistry becomes more apparent given the example of jaw positioning and the resulting effects it has on posture. The position of the lower jaw in relation to the upper jaw affects your head’s orientation on your spine and as a result, the vertebrae of your neck and the associated muscles. A misalignment of your bite can cause back and neck muscles to become strained and lead to Forward Head Posture (FHP) which can cause pain and discomfort for the patient.
- Sleep apnea – The skeletal and muscular deficiencies created by malocclusion can also lead to an obstructed airway. Forward Head Posture (FHP) causes the airway to become less open, and during sleep, this can translate into Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
In order to provide freedom from debilitating symptoms, it’s of vital importance that your doctor understands these relationships. Too often Dr. Peterson sees changes made to the bite that were done without objective measurement. This results in patients experiencing symptoms that they didn’t encounter prior to treatment, or a worsening of preexisting conditions. Going to a neuromuscular dentist such as Dr. Peterson ensures you’re being treated by a well-informed dentist that considers all of the factors at hand.
Treatments in neuromuscular dentistry are unique and individualized to each patient’s needs. Our techniques for alleviating pain and establishing a healthier oral environment begin in careful measurement, recording, and planning for the intended trajectory of jaw development. These techniques have been perfected over 40 years of successful practice. Options include joint correcting splints, airway opening sleep appliances, porcelain reconstructions, and orthodontics. Often, a combination of treatments is determined to be the best avenue to meet patient goals.
Dr. Peterson provides patients with information on the treatment options available and explains the benefits and alternatives of each option to allow for a more collaborative doctor-patient experience.
Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry’s Tools of Neuromuscular Dentistry
- 3-D imaging and personalized analysis of each joint and craniofacial development
- Computerized EMG recording
- Computerized Jaw Tracking
- Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS)
- Postural Analysis
- Physical Therapy – aligns and creates functional space in the temporomandibular joints, cranial bones and jaws, cervical vertebrae, and surrounding muscles tendons and ligaments.
- Trigger point injections – anesthetic injections are given directly into the muscle tissue responsible for causing the patient pain
- SphenoCath (sphenopalatine ganglion, or SPG nerve block) – an image guidance device is used to apply medication directly to the bundle of nerves (SPG) triggering the pain signal
- Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) – a low-intensity laser is used to trigger biochemical changes in cells which reduce pain and inflammation while also promoting healing.
Epigenetic treatment options utilize growth appliances to restructure your jaw and bite in order to alleviate symptoms related to TMD. These devices work by applying gentle pressure on the nasopalatine nerve which stimulates growth in your upper jaw which allows your lower jaw to move forward as well, leading to better oral spatial conditions.
- Ossseo-Restoration Appliance (ORA) – Also known as AGGA, typically used for adults, this appliance stimulates the growth of the upper jaw, expanding the dental arch three dimensionally to allow the jaw and midface to reach their ideal growth potential.
Removable Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance (RAGGA) – reserved for younger children whose adult teeth have not come in, this appliance stimulates overall facial development, specifically that of the upper jaw and midface.
Contact Us Today
Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry proudly provides Physiologic/Neuromuscular Dentistry to our patients in Park City, Salt Lake City, Midway, Heber, Duchesne, Vernal, and the surrounding areas of Utah. Our more comprehensive approach to dentistry has transformed the quality of life for many of our patients, and it could for you. Call today for a consultation at 435-503-8841 or complete a Contact Form here for more information.