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138 SE 80th Ave, Portland, OR 97215-1522 Request AppointmentSchedule

Neuromuscular Orthodontics
Dentist SE Portland


Image of a woman smiling in a dental chair. In the realm of orthodontics, traditional approaches have long focused on aligning teeth based solely on their appearance. However, such an approach fails to consider what goes on beneath the surface of the teeth. Fortunately, a paradigm shift has occurred with the emergence of neuromuscular orthodontics, a holistic approach that considers not only the alignment of teeth but also the complex interplay between muscles, nerves, and jaw function. 

Dr. Dan and his team of specialists here at Portland City Dental possess a wealth of techniques and technologies to straighten teeth and ensure that the rest of the mouth is functioning properly. Neuromuscular orthodontics is just one of these methods we use to improve oral health for adults and kids alike.

Understanding Neuromuscular Orthodontics: What You Need to Know


Neuromuscular orthodontics is a specialized branch of orthodontics that focuses on achieving optimal dental and jaw alignment by considering the harmony of the entire orofacial system, including muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth. Unlike traditional orthodontics, which primarily focuses on straightening teeth, neuromuscular orthodontics aims to achieve a balanced relationship between the teeth, muscles, and temporomandibular joints (TMJs). 

The TMJ plays a crucial role in jaw movement and function. Dysfunction of the TMJ can lead to symptoms such as jaw pain, clicking, popping, and difficulty chewing. Neuromuscular orthodontics treatment aims to alleviate TMJ dysfunction by addressing underlying muscle imbalances and jaw misalignments. By achieving optimal dental and jaw alignment, neuromuscular orthodontics can help reduce strain on the TMJ and alleviate associated symptoms. In these ways, neuromuscular orthodontics seeks to not only improve aesthetics but also enhance overall oral function and comfort.

The Science Behind Neuromuscular Orthodontics


At the core of neuromuscular orthodontics lies the concept of neuromuscular occlusion, which refers to the optimal alignment and function of the teeth, muscles, and joints in the orofacial region. This alignment is achieved by identifying and correcting any imbalances in the muscles that control jaw movement and bite function. 

Advanced diagnostic tools such as electromyography (EMG), sonography, and computerized mandibular scanning are utilized to assess muscle activity, jaw movement, and TMJ function accurately. Based on these findings, a customized treatment plan is developed to address muscle imbalances, correct jaw misalignments, and achieve optimal occlusion.

Benefits of Neuromuscular Orthodontics Treatment


Neuromuscular orthodontics aims to achieve a harmonious relationship between the teeth, muscles, and joints, leading to improved bite function and reduced strain on the jaw muscles. By addressing underlying muscle imbalances and jaw misalignments, neuromuscular orthodontics can alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorders, such as jaw pain, clicking, and limited range of motion.

Optimal dental and jaw alignment achieved through neuromuscular orthodontics can result in a more balanced facial appearance and improved smile aesthetics. By examining the root cause of malocclusion and TMJ dysfunction, neuromuscular orthodontics treatment aims to achieve long-term stability and prevent relapse of orthodontic problems.

Neuromuscular Orthodontics vs. Traditional Orthodontics: A Comparison


Traditional orthodontics:
•  Focuses primarily on aligning teeth using braces or aligners
•  Emphasizes the aesthetic outcome of treatment
•  Does not always address underlying muscle imbalances or TMJ dysfunction
•  Treatment may not always achieve optimal bite function or long-term stability

Neuromuscular orthodontics:
•  Considers the entire orofacial system, including muscles, nerves, and joints
•  Aims to achieve optimal dental and jaw alignment, addressing underlying muscle imbalances and TMJ dysfunction
•  Emphasizes both functional and aesthetic outcomes of treatment
•  Utilizes advanced diagnostic tools to assess muscle activity and jaw function accurately

How Neuromuscular Orthodontics Can Improve Your Bite and Jaw Alignment


Neuromuscular orthodontics treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's orofacial system, including muscle activity, jaw movement, and TMJ function. Based on the findings, a customized treatment plan is developed to address any muscle imbalances or jaw misalignments. 

Treatment may involve a combination of orthodontic appliances, muscle relaxation techniques, and occlusal adjustments to achieve optimal bite function and alignment. Through regular monitoring and adjustments, neuromuscular orthodontics aims to achieve long-term stability and improve overall oral health and comfort.

Neuromuscular Orthodontics in Dentistry for Kids


Neuromuscular orthodontics principles are also applicable in pediatric dentistry to address early orthodontic problems and promote healthy orofacial development. By addressing muscle imbalances and jaw misalignments at an early age, neuromuscular orthodontics treatment can help prevent the development of more severe orthodontic problems later in life. Early intervention may involve the use of orthodontic appliances, such as expanders or space maintainers, to guide jaw growth and alignment effectively.

TMJ Treatment Phase 2


Neuromuscular orthodontics is often used for phase 2 of TMJ treatment. During phase 1, we determine the proper position for the lower jaw and joints. The patient is instructed to wear an orthotic over the lower teeth, which repositions the lower jaw into a stable and relaxed position. Phase 2 can begin once Dr. Dan examines the new alignment to ensure it looks and functions properly, and the patient is free of any TMJ symptoms.

Phase 2 is not required for all patients, however. If the patient opts for orthodontics for phase 2, we will then permanently move the teeth into the position decided upon during the initial consultation.

How Long Does Neuromuscular Orthodontics Take?


Neuromuscular orthodontics is different than 6 Month Smiles and takes between nine and 24 months, depending on how much we need to change the position of the teeth. In some circumstances, patients may need restorative work. Portland City Dental will go over all your treatment options with you during the initial consultation to ensure we make the best choice for your treatment needs. 

In summary, neuromuscular orthodontics is a holistic approach to orthodontic treatment that considers the entire orofacial system, including muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth. By addressing underlying muscle imbalances and jaw misalignments, neuromuscular orthodontics aims to achieve optimal dental and jaw alignment, leading to improved bite function, enhanced facial aesthetics, and reduced TMJ discomfort. 

Whether in pediatric dentistry or adult orthodontics, the principles of neuromuscular orthodontics offer a promising avenue for optimizing oral health and overall well-being. Our team of skilled orthodontists here at Portland City Dental utilizes treatment methods that are both at the forefront of cutting-edge dental technology and proven safe. We are dedicated to working our hardest to help our patients reclaim and maintain the quality of life they deserve.

For more information or to set up an appointment, please call us at (503) 256-7917.

138 SE 80th Ave
Portland, OR 97215-1522

Call Us: (503) 256-7917
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Neuromuscular Orthodontics | Dentist SE Portland | Portland City Dental
At Portland City Dental, we offer neuromuscular orthodontics, which focuses on how the chewing system works with respect to orthodontic planning. Learn more here!
Portland City Dental, 138 SE 80th Ave, Portland, OR 97215-1522, (503) 256-7917, portlandcitydental.net, 6/12/2024, Associated Words: orthodontics SE Portland,