Body pain? How to smile it away


Body pain? How to smile it away

Is your body pain linked to a misaligned jaw position? Find out how neuromuscular dentistry can help you tackle the cause, not just the symptoms

By Dr Rashida Juzar Ali, Neuromuscular Dentist

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Published: Thu 24 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 1 Feb 2019, 9:59 AM

Ever dreamed about getting a beautiful smile, which can also heal your body pain while also correcting a misaligned jaw position?
Yes, you read that right! According to research, a misaligned TMJ (tempero mandibular joint - the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull) can lead to a lot of problems: headache, migraine, neck ache, backache, shoulder pain, clicking and popping of the TMJ, limited jaw opening, masticatory muscle pain, pain while opening or closing your mouth, ear pain, and so on.
Most times, these are treated through pain medications, which focus on treating symptoms rather than the cause - as the source of the pain remains unknown. However, through neuromuscular dentistry, we diagnose the problem by thorough evaluation of not only the alignment of teeth, but also the masticatory muscles, nerves and joint with the aid of high-end technologies.
Neuromuscular dentistry basically focuses on correcting a misaligned joint. There are cutting-edge computerised instruments used to measure jaw movements and jaw muscle activity, and zero in on the extent of the problem; the "physiologic rest position" for the jaw is thereby established.
Once the rest position of the jaw has been determined, the patient undergoes several treatments, including wearing an orthotic or a splint; or minor occlusion adjustments, followed by extensive restorative dental procedures or orthodontics, are done to maintain this new position.
If your jaw is not aligned properly, neuromuscular dentistry may help identify - and solve - the precise cause of the problem (tooth position or alignment, muscle or jaw joint). Treatments are designed in a way that bite abnormalities are corrected and the jaw is allowed to go to its optimal position for the long term. Here's an example: if you have muscle pain and spasms, you can get relief with the use of ultra low frequency transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (ULF-TENS). The treatment involves placing electrodes on your jaw, neck and shoulder areas; these transmit mild electrical stimulation, and repeatedly contracting the jaw muscles relaxes them.
Adjustments to a person's bite can be made by using an oral appliance - like a splint or mouth guard - till such time that the bite has been permanently stabilised. At times, orthodontic work may be needed to secure proper alignment - in addition to dental restorations (crowns, for example), or tooth recontouring.
Cost of treatment
The cost of neuromuscular treatment hinges largely on the extent of the problem, the clinical situation, the procedures necessary to treat your condition, and the expertise of the dentist. It is possible that you may receive a 15 per cent to 30 per cent reimbursement through your dental insurance, depending on the type of insurance you have.
The treatment of neuromuscular dentistry can vary from simple enamel contouring to full mouth rehabilitation. Some of the cases may require additional orthodontic therapy to align the teeth which results in a physiologic bite. Aligners can also be the solution for most people who do not want to opt for traditional braces treatment. Costs may vary between Dh8,000 and Dh42,000.
However, keep in mind that neuromuscular treatments may sometimes require a full mouth reconstruction, and the approximate cost (at a minimum) could be about Dh2,500 to Dh4,500 per tooth. That figure does not include any charges for oral surgery, crown lengthening, periodontal treatments, etc.
Check with your dentist and consult the dental plan before agreeing to any treatments to determine what the total cost will be. Third-party financing may be available at some dentists' offices to assist you in making affordable monthly payments.

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