As a Kansas City area provider of GNM dentistry, Dr. Shane Nelson understands how the muscles, tissues, joints, and nerves are interconnected and how, when one part of that system is deficient, it can affect the whole. In turn, he appreciates and addresses the vast array of conditions that can occur alongside TMJ Dysfunction or Disorders (TMJDs), and the potentially life-altering complications that can arise when these conditions and symptoms go untreated.
Understanding TMJDs and Treatment Options
Disorders of the TMJs are most commonly characterized as disordered function associated with the joints that connect the jaw to the skull. When the TMJs are disordered, patients may complain about chronic headaches, radiating facial and jaw pain, ringing of the ears, jaw locking, and noisy clicking or popping when opening and closing the mouth. Gneuromuscular dentistry, as practiced by Dr. Nelson, takes a big picture look at TMJDs, their origin, and their symptoms. After all, “gneuro” refers to “gnathology” and “neuro” or the jaws and nerves, respectively. This approach to diagnostics and therapies accounts for the state, condition, and function of the jaws, nerves, and muscles.
Notably, by releasing tension in the head and neck muscles, we at Shane Nelson, DDS, can further place the jaw in its optimal position. By achieving balance and harmony, patients’ lives can be transformed; not only do they experience improvement in the frequency and severity of their symptoms, but they also find that their teeth and dental work are better protected. Improved alignment and positioning mean less wear and tear and avoid excessive, premature damage to the teeth, tissues, and restorations. To analyze all these interconnected parts, Dr. Nelson uses various advanced technologies. Using these tools informs our understanding of the root causes of your symptoms and aids in treatment planning. Options to resolve deficiencies and dysfunction primarily return the jaws to their regular, optimal positions and restore healthy bites. They may include:
- Temporary oral appliances designed to move the lower jaw forward, decompressing the joints and relaxing overstressed muscles
- Orthopedic or orthodontic plans designed to enlarge narrow arches gently
- Braces or other teeth straightening techniques, applied after more space is created with expandable appliances
- Bonding techniques to prevent relapse once the jaw is moved into a more desirable location
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These and other techniques go far to resolve various dangerous and quality-of-life-diminishing conditions. For instance, once an expandable appliance has effectively created more room in the mouth, the tongue has greater freedom of movement. It may no longer block the airway and result in the sleep-disordered-breathing characteristic of diseases like sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, too, increases one risk of developing systemic conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
We could go on and on about the linkages between TMJs and other tissues, structures, and conditions. However, if you suspect these and other conditions are at the root of your troublesome symptoms or are simply due for a check-up, let’s act on it today. Call (913) 297-7800 or request an appointment at our Overland Park, Kansas office without delay. We will see you soon!
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