The Science Behind Neuromuscular Dentistry

Neuromuscular Dentistry (NMD) utilizes the principles of physiology and anatomy to objectively interpret and evaluate the relationships between the jaw, the teeth, temporomandibular joints and the masticatory muscles. The goal of Neuromuscular Dentistry is to achieve a balanced occlusion based on the optimum relationship between the mandible and the skull.

Dentists refer to the manner in which your teeth come together as your “occlusion” or “bite”. Proper occlusion is one of the most critical components of your dental health. If you have a healthy bite your teeth come together without muscle strain and with your jaw joints functioning in a smooth, quiet and uninterrupted motion. If any of these elements of your occlusion are not working properly you have an improper bite or what dentists call “malocclusion”.

Many factors can cause malocclusion; trauma to the head or neck, worn or damaged teeth, missing teeth, previous dental work, even poor posture can affect the way you bring your teeth together.

As a neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Adams objectively evaluates the current status of the muscles, the teeth, and the Temporomandibular joints. The muscles are evaluated through the use of electromyography, a diagnostic tool (similar to an EKG) that measures the electrical function of the facial muscles important to the functioning of the jaw. This test (typically referred to as “EMG”) will tell Dr. Adams the effectiveness of these muscles during function and their status at rest. The teeth are evaluated by a complete dental exam as well as through the study of plaster casts that Dr. Adams creates from molds taken of your upper and lower dentition. The function of the temporomandibular joints is evaluated through the use of Computerized Mandibular Scanning (“CMS” or simply “jaw tracking”). CMS allows Dr. Adams to record the movement (both up & down, forward & backward and side-to-side) of your lower jaw (the mandible) as you chew and as you open and close your mouth. (For more information about this advanced instrumentation visit www.bioresearchinc.com.

Once this information has been recorded and evaluated Dr. Adams will then use Ultra Low-Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (“ULF-TENS”) to help place the muscles of the face and neck into a state of physiological rest. Once this has been achieved he will then, utilizing the jaw tracking instrumentation, record the trajectory the jaw takes as you open and close your mouth – all while the muscles, the teeth, and the Temporomandibular joints are all working together in physiologic harmony. The end result is a position of occlusion that is called the “neuromuscular bite”, the optimum position of form, function, and aesthetics.