We have incorporated neuromuscular orthodontics as a new approach to solving the way your teeth come together in a physiological position. Over the past 4 years I have been adding the studies to my continuing education courses. The implications to the younger patients is very important. It allows for better tracking of their growth patterns and earlier intervention. This results in treatment beginning earlier and hopefully shorter duration. Below is a short article, from a online dental site, that sums the approach very nicely.

“Many dentists are realizing that there is more to a perfect bite than straight teeth. In dental school, we were taught that teeth are attached to the jaws, yet there are also muscles, joints, nerves, and blood vessels that make up the whole head and neck complex. Somewhere along the line, some of us have forgotten that basic knowledge. When closing the jaw teeth, we guide the muscles to a position — but that’s not always where the muscles want to be. If the bite is off, the muscles will fight to stabilize the jaw. If a person’s bite is out of line with where the muscles naturally want to go, the muscles become strained and tired. Teeth act like gears in a machine. When a machine is balanced and works properly, the gears will mesh allowing the machine to run smoothly and efficiently without having to put in a lot of energy. However, when something is out of whack, the machine begins to break down.

Neuromuscular dentistry goes beyond the hard tissues of the head and neck and includes the soft tissues, muscles, and nerves. It is important to understand that there is a balance between the body’s ability to adapt to an imperfection and the stresses placed on its physiologic range of motion and posture. Therefore, the ability to objectively measure muscle function and correlate it to a proper jaw position and its movements in function is an important part of removing stresses and finding a balanced orthodonticly finished position.

Establishing an occlusion based upon the most stable position and function of the temporomandibular joints and the most relaxed posture and function of the masticatory muscles is a key component of neuromuscular dentistry. Often it is assumed that the teeth, active muscles, and jaw joints will accommodate to the treated occlusion. With bioinstrumentation, it is possible to determine a proper resting jaw position that positively affects the facial, head, and neck muscles, as well as the teeth and joints.

Neuromuscular orthodontics emphasizes how the muscles, jaw joints, and teeth affect one another. Proper meshing of the teeth so that they function in harmony with the jaw joints and muscles will allow teeth to wear and function evenly, be stable, and decrease trauma to the surrounding supporting bone. By using bioinstrumentation with a neuromuscular approach, the fundamental and structural components of the face (which includes the jaw), the jaw joints, and muscles are taken into consideration in assessing optimal function. The use of this state-of-the-art jaw recording instrumentation identifies a proper tongue and jaw position to help eliminate negative forces on teeth. Rather than guessing subjectively and assuming the jaw trajectory is correct, the instrumentation assists in identifying a correct jaw position before and after orthodontic treatment.

By positioning teeth and jaws on a stable neuromuscular trajectory, any unidentified occlusal forces and muscular imbalances that would encourage further relapse are eliminated. Haruold, Bowbeer, Beistle, Witzig, and Spahl are just a few of the investigators who have published sufficient evidence to substantiate that “stable treatment results depend upon establishing a balanced neuromuscular function of the craniofacial muscles which support the structures at their optimal position.” We begin with tensing in order to find the most optimum jaw position toward which teeth should be moved.”

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