By Dr. Jennifer Wallace
If I told you I could help you sleep and breathe better, rid you of a lifetime of headaches, neck and back pain, increase your energy, and help you live a happier pain free life without medication, would you believe me?
Maybe not, but that’s normal to be skeptical. But if I could show you, would that convince you?
Over the last 10 years in practice, I have passionately explained and taught the importance of the effects of neuromuscular dentistry to our patients. Having a “bad bite” has become a common topic in the news and research as of late.
Continued education over the past 20 years has strong evidence relating the temporomandibular joint and teeth position to undesired symptoms.
Further research has now connected TMD (temporomandibular disorder) and a person’s posture as a major contributing factor to occlusal disease.
This new approach is called physiologic dentistry. It is derived from neuromuscular dentistry, which is the science of aligning the lower jaw in relation to the upper jaw while creating a balanced and relaxed musculature of the head. This is done non-surgically. The physiologic dentist incorporates the neck and cervical posture position into treatment modalities.
The body’s systems are fully interconnected and when one system is in distress or out of balance, accommodations are made that can result in pain and malfunctions in other areas of the body.
There has been research to find the association between posture and occlusion, and its clinical impact.
TMD is directly related to the cervical and scapular region by an interrelated neuromuscular system.
Changes in the cervical spine (C1-C7) can cause relatable TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders and also the opposite is also true, that misaligned teeth and bite can cause cervical dysfunctions. Head and cervical (neck) muscles are closely related to the stomatognathic system (i.e. a patients oral health).
Studies have shown and confirmed that postural changes of the head and neck regions play an important role, and if misaligned will lead to TMJ dysfunctions.
Dental occlusion can present itself in a poor or bad bite and can cause discomfort in the surrounding areas.
For example, when the head, neck, and shoulders are imbalanced, you can see premature wear and damage to teeth. The muscles are often the affected areas that are more noticeable to patients, often presenting with migraines, headaches, and cramped or sore muscles.
During a routine oral examination in our office, signs and symptoms of occlusal disease are noted and the patient will be educated about the need for further diagnosis and treatment.
Better care is provided to our patient if occlusal disease and temporomandibular disorders are detected early and properly treated. Treating occlusal disease can lead to a long, healthy life of the dentition as well as restorative success.
Our exam also includes checking the joint for clicking/ popping, and muscle soreness. We can also test for muscle function and muscle hyperactivity. Technology allows us to track muscle movement, function, and enables us to find the ideal position for your jaw that places the muscles in the most relaxed state.
By placing the jaw and muscles in the ideal position the patient will then over time see relief from the tension symptoms they have been experiencing.
Physiologic dentistry is the way of the dental future! It involves less drugs and finding a solution to fix the problem.
It also involves so much more than just the mouth/ teeth. Knowing this is changing how we do dentistry and creating a healthy patient without jaw, head, or neck discomfort by simply finding the relaxed position of the jaw and the correct postural position.
We are passionate about this as well as our comprehensive dental care that allows us to increase our patients overall health, we are also taking pain and discomfort out of the lives of those we treat.
Please come see us and learn more about how we could help you and change your life!
Dr. Jennifer Wallace attended Clemson University, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She then attended The Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine and graduated with a D.M.D. in 1998. Wallace practices at Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort at 40 Kemmerlin Lane, Lady’s Island. For more information or to make an appointment, call 843-524-7645 or visit www.palmettosmilesofbeaufort.com.