Dr. Chris Hill has studied extensively at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Education for last 5 years about neuromuscular dentistry. Neuromuscular dentistry is an approach to optimal dental health by balancing the muscles of the head and neck to allow for proper function of the jaw and its joints. NM treatment focuses on placing the jaw in the correct position where the muscles are rest rather than in tension. Dr. Chris Hill uses advanced digital technology to help precisely determine the proper alignment of the upper and lower jaw.
In addition to digital x-rays that reveal the current position of the jaw joints and the structures of the head and neck, Dr. Chris Hill often utilizes several other advanced diagnostic technologies in order to best diagnose optimal positioning of the jaw joints to achieve optimal esthetics and relieve TMJ symptoms such as migraines, tension headaches and jaw soreness.
- CBCT Scan: This is an advanced 3D x-ray that allows us to see the entire head and neck including the teeth, jaw, joints and spine in order to better diagnose our patients’ problems.
- Eletromyography (EMG): Essentially, this measures the muscle activity of different muscles of the head and neck. It allows us to better determine which muscles overstimulated. It also allows us to determine our final position where the muscles are least stimulated. In other words, it helps us determine the end before we even start.
- K7 Jaw Tracking: this allows us to better see the path that the jaw takes when moving and provides us a better understanding of where the jaw should be for optimal positioning of the muscles.
- TENS Unit: This device uses small electrical pulses on the joint muscles in order to relax them to help us better correct the jaw misalignment.
- Sonography/Joint Vibration Analysis: this allows us to listen to the joints to better understand what is happening to the joint disc and allow us to determine the presence of abnormalities.
- T-Scan Digital Bite Analyzer: This device allows us to precisely determine how the teeth touch each other and how much force each tooth is undergoing. By understanding which teeth touch and when, we better understand which muscles are being affected. We can also use this technology in order to balance and adjust the bite.
These symptoms include:
- Muscle tension
- Neck aches
- Sore jaws
- Ringing in the ears
- Shoulder tightness
- Tingling in the fingertips
- Pain behind the eyes
Once we determine where the joint and the jaw needs to be, we have a better understanding of the type of treatment that we can utilize to achieve our patient’s goal. Treatment can include:
- Neuromuscular Orthodontics
- Neuromuscular orthotic
- Full Mouth Reconstruction
- Bite Adjustment
A neuromuscular orthotic can be used in the initial phases of treatment for TMJ disorder. The orthotic is a fully anatomical appliance that is typically placed over the lower teeth that allows the patient’s jaw to rest in a more muscularly stable position. This new position is measured through the use of advanced technology that allows Dr. Chris Hill to have an accurate idea of how the muscles are going to respond to treatment.
Over a period of several months, as the jaw muscles begin to heal, Dr. Chris Hill will adjust the orthotic to fine-tune the bite into an optimum position where the muscles are more comfortable and relaxed. When the jaw muscles are balanced, other muscles of the head and neck begin to balance. This allows muscle tension to decrease which can cause many of the symptoms caused by TMD, to disappear.
Once the bite and the muscles have been stable for a period of time, Dr. Chris Hill will discuss options that can be utilized for a more permanent solution. Call (314) 375-5353 in downtown St. Louis, (314) 678-7876 in Clayton or email us to schedule an appointment today.