The word “dentist” literally means “tooth-ist,” and many dentists take that to heart. They see themselves as tooth workers. Sure, they may pay attention to the gums around the teeth, but beyond that, they may have little concern for you outside your mouth.
And that can be a problem. Your teeth are just one part of a complicated system of joints, muscles, and nerves. Neglecting the rest of the system can lead to problems for your teeth and beyond. Fortunately, there is an approach to dentistry that looks at the entire bite system: neuromuscular dentistry. A dentist who offers neuromuscular dentistry can give you better care for your teeth–and help you avoid many problems in the future.
What Is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry looks at the teeth as part of an integrated system. The teeth have to work together with the rest of the system or it will lead to significant problems. Therefore, a neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry will look at all parts of the system: the joints, the muscles, and the nerves as well as the teeth to ensure that it’s all working together as it should.
This requires extensive training to help a dentist understand the complex relationships. Dr. Firouzian is a Fellow of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), the leading school for neuromuscular dentistry in the world. He has also studied at several other institutes where they teach related approaches. He’s a Fellow of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics, and is a member of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain.
Proper analysis of the jaw system also means that a dentist must have the technology to properly measure the entire system. At our office, we utilize CT scans to image the bones, jaw tracking and motion capture to analyze the jaw joint movement, electrosonograph to capture the sounds of the joint and electromyograph to measure the muscle tension in your jaw. These give us a detailed picture of where the problem is and how to approach it.
Protecting Your Teeth
Problems with the jaw system can actually put your teeth at risk. When the jaw system isn’t working properly, it can damage your teeth. An imbalanced jaw system puts excess pressure on your teeth, leading to excess wear and increasing the risk of chipped and cracked teeth.
A dentist who just looks at your teeth won’t notice the problem until the teeth start getting damaged. A neuromuscular dentist who is paying attention to the jaw system can identify the problems before your teeth start getting damaged. That means less reconstructive dentistry, and it especially means avoiding the full mouth reconstruction that can become necessary if the jaw system is left unattended for too long.
Avoiding Painful Symptoms
But, as we mentioned, your jaw system doesn’t just impact your teeth. When the system is out of balance, you can develop a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Your jaw muscles are the most powerful muscles in your head, so when they are tense, it can lead to tension headaches, face pain, neck pain, and back pain. Constant jaw tension can play an important role in triggering migraine headaches, too.
Problems in the jaw system can also lead to ear symptoms, such as tinnitus, earache, vertigo, and feelings of a stuffy ear.
Many doctors have difficulty tracking these symptoms to their source in the jaw, which means that patients like Mary can go for years suffering through their symptoms, unable to find relief. But our training and equipment let us deliver relief.
Incorporating Holistic Dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry is a great approach to dentistry, and we supplement it with even better care thanks to our holistic dentistry approach. With holistic dentistry, we pay attention to the biochemical interactions between your mouth and the rest of your body. This means that we avoid exposing you to tooth restorations that might be toxic. Instead, we use materials that are biocompatible and bio-inert to protect you from potentially damaging interactions.
This also guides us avoid intervening when your body’s natural healing mechanisms can provide better results. Sometimes gentle guidance and minor lifestyle changes are the best care for what ails you.
Dentistry Beyond the Teeth
If you are looking for a Columbus, OH dentist who has the skill and technology to do more than just work on your teeth, we invite you to visit Firouzian Dentistry. Please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with Dr. Mike Firouzian.