A neuromuscular dentist is a licensed dentist who has continued studies after dental school to more thoroughly evaluate some dental problems. In particular, this growing field is very concerned with the level of pain that can result from the way muscles and joints work at the jaw. They may address jaw pain or symptoms that appear related to it, such as headache, through a variety of corrective means.
One of the contentions of the average neuromuscular dentist is that conditions like temperomandibular joint syndrome and jaw misalignment in general has multiple negative effects. It may create headaches, as mentioned, cause people to wear the teeth in strange ways, result in constant jaw tension, and make people look older. By paying attention to alignment of the jaw and exerting corrective measures when possible, people could have a healthier mouth, stronger teeth and better alignment.
There are a number of ways that a neuromuscular dentist might approach creating better jaw alignment. It could be done through creating correction of teeth alignment, as for example, with braces or use of orthotics, which can be worn on the teeth, usually while sleeping. A few other measures could be used to create the best bite, including lowering teeth through grinding them down, or raising them by building up fillings known as crowns.
Contention in neuromuscular dentistry is that these procedures may result in more aesthetically pleasing smile, fewer incidences of head and neck aches, and less wear on the teeth. Some people strongly agree with these contentions and believe they have benefited from the services of a neuromuscular dentist. Not all people feel this way, and more than a few people question the benefits of this treatment.
It is certainly treatment that, in most cases, is available to those who can afford it. Many dental insurance companies deliberately exclude any treatment addressing problems with the temperomandibular joint. Adults may be excluded from other treatments like orthodontia, or if there is an orthodontia benefit, it’s usually quite limited in scope. This may mean services from a neuromuscular dentist are difficult to obtain unless people can guarantee payment, and each dentistry practice may have different rules about billing.
When money is not an obstacle, it still may be difficult to find one of these dentists close by, since the field is relatively new. There are a few online sites that provide dentist look-up services and these might be one way to go. Another suggestion is to chat with a local and trusted general dentist regarding specialist recommendations.