Gneuromuscular(GNM) Dentistry is the way forward for treating TMJ. GNM and OC Trained TMJ Specialists focus on the clinical application of neuromuscular principles along with bio-physiological science at a much more advanced and detailed level. A GNM specialist understands the principles of gnathology and applies them in designing and adjusting the orthotic.
GNM orthotics are built on the concepts of GNM Dentistry. The GNM and OC Trained Specialist will utilize a detailed and custom-designed GNM orthotic to ensure softer closing of the jaw. Also, the biting surfaces in GNM are shaped just like real teeth to ensure smooth opening and closing movement of the jaws.
GNM orthotics V/s Neuromuscular Orthotics
Neuromuscular orthotics also involve realigning the bite to stop the symptoms of the disorder. It fails to focus on a detailed occlusal adjustment which is critical for treating the TMJ and whole body postural problems. While an NM splint does attempt to reset the joints, it cannot stop the strong slamming forces at the back of the neck, which can still affect the neck muscle and continue to cause stiffness and pain.
However, with the latest, innovative GNM treatment for TMJ, the NM Dentistry approach is becoming obsolete.
What are other supportive treatments for TMJ?
Myofunctional Therapy: Myofunctional therapy is one of the non-invasive treatments for TMJ disorder. It is a highly effective physical therapy program that targets improvement in nasal breathing and orofacial muscles, strengthens the tongue, provides jaw & joint stabilisation, and corrects forward and oral neck posture. Myofunctional therapy includes toning and re-patterning the head, tongue, neck muscles and face by re-creating strong pathways between the muscles and the brain. This balance can correct muscular and articular TMJ disorders.
Physiotherapy: Physiotherapy is also an important and effective treatment method that is mandatory to correct the forward neck, rolled shoulders, misaligned hips which also affect the alignment of TMJ. It is an important adjunctive measure to provide pain relief from TMJ.
Gut Health: The digestive health can be adversely affected by TMJ. According to a study at the University of Massachussetts, TMJ patients had over 100% more digestive problems than those without a jaw disorder. The first step in good gut health is chewing, and TMJ can make it difficult to chew food properly. Also, unchewed food is more difficult to digest, which affects your intestines’ ability to absorb necessary nutrients. This further affects your general overall health.
Gneuromuscular Orthodontics/ Airway Orthodontics/ Orthopedics: A narrow upper jaw or deep bites tend to push the lower jaw behind, straining the muscles and exerting force on the jaw joint, leading to TMJ pain. Anterior open bite lacks an optimal front teeth contact which can also lead to neck stiffness and facial pain. Gneuromuscular Orthodontics/ Orthopedics or Airway Orthodontics/ Forwardontics focuses on expanding the jaw and bringing it forward so that it can widen the airway and recapture the dislocated discs of the TMJ. It also helps maintain an appropriate tongue and spine posture. This treatment is often used as Phase 2 treatment after achieving stability with GNM orthotics as Phase 1 of TMJ treatment. This sequence of treatments offer long-lasting results and helps alleviate the symptoms of TMJ.
Tongue tie: A Tongue tie can lead to compensations like unfavourable movements of the lower jaw, TMJ, and tension in the floor of the mouth, neck, face and head. It is essential to have a correct tongue posture to reduce the strain on the TMJ and airway. The tongue tie release procedure involves releasing just the appropriate extent of tissues to render maximum relief; not too less and not too much. TMJ Patients require special attention when keeping their mouth open for long periods of time during the tongue tie release procedure.
To learn more about the treatments for TMJ, get in touch with a TMJ expert today!