Taking the Bite out of your Head, Neck, and Jaw Joint Pains.
By Dr. Scott L. Rose, D.D.S.
Many people suffer from a variety of head, neck and shoulder pains, and headaches. A lot of people accept this as a normal sign of aging. An equal number of people have tried many types of treatments and medications only to be disappointed time and time again by poor outcomes.
But did you know that some of these aches and pains may be caused by an incorrect biting position. That’s right! If your bite is off, the muscles of your face may go into chronic spasms, or not be working at their ideal length. These muscles may be overworking in order to maintain your present bite position. Different muscles work together to open and close your jaw. They are also used for chewing, and swallowing. These muscles are not only in the area of your jaw joint.
The jaw positioning muscles run up and down the neck, through the cheeks, into the forehead, and around the ears. Some even wrap around the skull. Every time you chew and swallow, the teeth must either come together or come very close to each other. Therefore, where the teeth want the muscles to be and where the muscles want to be may be totally different.
Our bodies can accommodate only so much. When the muscles can no longer accommodate – this translates into aches, pains, and headaches.
When muscles do not get a chance to rest, they soon suffer from poor circulation. This leads to a lack of needed oxygen and the accumulation of waste products of metabolism. This fuels the cycle of pain. Your habitual bite may be not be what is best for you. Even if you have great teeth, your bite may be off. So even if you do not have “common” dental problems, this does not mean that your bite is not affecting your overall health.
Occlusal disease can create just as many problems if not more than dental decay.
A bad tooth effects the one tooth.
A bad bite can effect the entire mouth, muscles, joints, and posture.
Neuromuscular Dentistry is the art and science of using the relaxed position of the muscles of the head and neck to properly place the jaw in its optimal position. Years of clinical experience and research has shown this technique to be effective in treating patients with a variety of head and neck pain, including TMJ. This approach differs greatly from the traditional type of dentistry. In this approach the teeth are treated and assumes the muscles and the jaw joints will accommodate to the body’s habitual bite.
In this traditional method, treating teeth by restorative procedures (crowns, bridges, and fillings) or common orthodontics (straightening teeth) are often done without accurately determining a correct jaw posture and a proper vertical dimension. A physiologic resting position and body posture is often overlooked and not even considered as an important part of the whole dental system. Not taking into account the muscles when diagnosing and treatment planning is like baking a cake and not putting in the eggs.
State of the art technology allows for the objective evaluation of the muscles and various other factors that may be affecting your bite, causing headaches and other facial pains. These tests include Electromyography, 3-dimensional jaw tracking and Joint Sonography. All three diagnostic procedures are painless and non-invasive. Yet they give the Neuromuscular Dentist the data to make a good diagnosis.
The Center for Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry is one of the few dental offices in the country to have this state of the art technology and sophisticated computerization to collect the necessary data. Once it is determined that the bite is off, the fabrication and use of a dental orthotic to be worn on the lower teeth helps stabilize the correct bite position. The new bite is determined by data that shows where the muscles are most relaxed. Once wearing the removable orthotic, most patients find this alleviates many of their problems. In fact many patients are able to go off of or greatly reduce pain medications within the first couple of weeks.
The difference between the Neuromuscular orthotic and other dental splints is that this is made to a specific relaxed bite, and not a generic made up bite. Once the symptoms subside and the patient and dentist are satisfied with the new bite, final treatment options can be discussed.
Neuromuscular Dental Therapy is also used for Cosmetic procedures. When you restore patients to their new relaxed position, this also restores facial balance and harmony. Not only will you feel great, you will look great too!
Those patients that are seeking state of the art care and treatment, or those patients that are tired of educated guesses, trial and error treatment protocols, should re-evaluate by what philosophy they would like their care and treatment to be guided by. Dr. Rose says, “Our success is in the philosophy of taking a neuromuscular approach in all facets of our dentistry!”
Dr. Rose has received extensive post-doctoral training in Neuromuscular Dentistry at the world renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.
For more information, he can be reached at www.rosedental.com.
Dr. Scott L. Rose
Dr. Rose is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. Dr. Rose has been involved in research, and has been published in many professional dental journals. In addition to private practice, Dr. Rose was the Dental Director for Brentwood Health Care Skilled Nursing Facility, and was on staff of University Hospital Bedford Medical Center. He has acted as a consultant to a major dental manufacturing company and was the official dentist of the Bedford Police Department. He is listed in the National Registry of Who’s Who in 2000, 2007.
Achievements & Awards
- Voted one of America’s Top Dentist’s for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008
by The Consumer’s Research Council of America.
- Included in the List of Best Dentist’s In America in 2006.
- Voted one of Cleveland’s Top Dentist for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009