TMJ = temporomandibular joint. The TMJ’s are the jaw joints. Patients who have problems with the TMJ and its related muscles have TMD = temporomandibular disorder or dysfunction. People who do not have teeth rarely have TMD. Often the malocclusion or poor alignment of the teeth cause TMD symptoms. However it is not just a bad bite that creates problems but also how a person uses their teeth. A person with a significantly bad bite that rarely puts their teeth together may not experience symptoms. A person with a minimally bad bite and frequently clenches their teeth is more likely to experience symptoms.
A comprehensive examination aids in identifying people with TMD and those that are displaying the signs of developing TMD. Preventive treatment includes the fabrication of an orthosis (orthotic mouth guard, splint). The splint establishes neuromuscular harmony of the teeth with the jaw joints and muscles.
Neuromuscular dentistry involves a careful evaluation of the patient and their response to splint treatment. The use of electronic measuring devices is not necessary as they often do not create consistent readings and they do not measure all of the muscles involved in the complex positioning of the jaw. Dentists who rely heavily on the use of the myomonitor and other electronic measurements are often led to believe more restorative treatment is necessary. The myomonitor created bite is often a more open treatment position than if splint therapy and exquisite observation is employed. When a bite is treated to a more open treatment position, the dentist often recommends restoring a significant number of teeth with crowns. In over 20 years of treating patients, I have been successful in treating patients with more conservative restorations than those proposed by dentists using electronic generated bites.