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“Orthodontics” literally means “straight teeth.” And while that’s often the cosmetic goal of orthodontics, there should actually be a lot more to it than that. More than just making your smile pretty, it’s important to make sure that the position and orientation of your teeth creates a healthy bite that will function properly and stay pretty for life. That’s where neuromuscular orthodontics comes in. By looking at your teeth as just one part in your complex bite system, neuromuscular orthodontics can achieve a more functional and more comfortable result.

Whether you’re considering orthodontics for TMJ treatment or just for cosmetic reasons, neuromuscular orthodontics may give a better result for you. To learn how neuromuscular orthodontics may help in St. Louis, please call (314) 678-7876 (Downtown St. Louis) or (314) 678-7876 (Clayton) today for an appointment with neuromuscular dentist Dr. Chris Hill at our office in downtown or Clayton.

What Makes Neuromuscular Orthodontics Different

Traditional, retractive orthodontics focuses on straightening the teeth and getting teeth to come together properly without respect to the TMJs or the muscles. Traditional orthodontics assume that the joints and the muscles will adapt to the new position. Once the teeth have straightened into proper form, they now dictate how the bite comes together rather than allowing the muscles to dictate this. While this method works well initially, it may lead to other issues if the muscles and the joints adapt improperly.

With neuromuscular orthodontics, Dr. Chris Hill uses a practical approach to align the teeth, muscles and joints in an optimal position. Dr. Chris Hill primarily utilizes arch expansion to allow for better jaw movement and function as well better overall facial aesthetics. Dr. Chris Hill works with his patients to understand their desires which will allow both he and the patient to create their Personalized Dental Plan.

In order to create a personalized dental plan, Dr. Chris Hill evaluates each patient using models, photographs, and X-rays for a full esthetic and skeletal analysis. Once Dr. Chris Hill has a better understanding of how a patient’s teeth, muscles and joints work together, he will position the lower jaw in its proper relaxed, and stable, position. Patients that experience symptoms from TMJ disorder, including migraines, muscle stiffness in the head and neck, sore jaws, clenching or grinding, may require more tests to better determine this new position.

TMJ Treatment Phase 2

Neuromuscular orthodontics is often one option in Phase 2 of TMJ therapy . Phase 1 of TMJ therapy allows Dr. Chris Hill to determine the proper position of the joints and the lower jaw. At this stage, once the new bite has been determined, the patient will wear an orthotic which is discreetly placed over the lower teeth and repositions the lower jaw into the new, stable bite. This allows Dr. Chris Hill and the patient to test out the new bite and make any changes necessary to achieve optimal aesthetics and functions. Once Dr. Chris Hill has verified the new bite and the patient is symptom-free, Phase 2 can take place.

If the patient decides to pursue orthodontics for phase 2, the teeth are now permanently moved into this new position. By determining this position in the beginning, it allows Dr. Chris Hill and the patient to have a clear understanding of where treatment needs to end in order for the patient to maintain a healthy bite.

The overall results of neuromuscular orthodontics allow for:

  • Facial Symmetry and proper proportions
  • A fuller, broader smile
  • Non-surgical Facelift by developing/re-establishing proper proportions and jaw position
  • A more youthful appearance
  • A more stable bite that is not as prone to relapse from outside influences

Treatment time can range from 9-24 months depending on the severity of the movement necessary. This type of braces differs from 6 Month Smiles in its comprehensive approach. All options will be explored with the you. Dr. Chris Hill will work to complete treatment as efficiently as possible without compromising the overall outcome. In some instances, where tooth shape change is necessary, restorative treatment may be completed at the conclusion of orthodontic treatment. All options will be discussed with the patient at their initial visit including the type of orthodontics necessary to achieve their goals as well as any alternatives to treatment or additional restorative treatment that may be necessary.

Are Neuromuscular Orthodontics Right for You?

To learn whether neuromuscular orthodontics might be the right treatment approach for you, please call (314) 678-7876 (Downtown St. Louis) or (314) 678-7876 (Clayton) today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Chris Hill at City Smiles in St. Louis.