Do you or someone you know suffer from frequent jaw pain? Clicking? Popping? Clenching? Grinding?

Neuromuscular orthodontics brings a whole new dimension to treatment planning. In addition to traditional orthodontic records, carefully studying the status of the muscles of the jaw and condition of the upper airway helps the doctor to not only precisely evaluate where the teeth should be, but to better understand what caused them to be out of alignment.

Your bite, or occlusion, is simply the position of your jaw when your teeth come together. Until recently, most orthodontics has been based on the assumption that wherever your bite was naturally, the habitual occlusion, was the correct position. The habitual jaw position may be reasonably good, and our body systems are often adaptable to less than ideal circumstances; therefore many of these procedures have acceptable results. However, there are times that treatments carried out with “textbook” accuracy do not produce a result that is fully functional and comfortable.

The growing field of neuromuscular orthodontics goes beyond using your habitual bite as the basis of planning treatment. Neuromuscular dentistry considers the entire system that controls the positioning and function of your jaw: the teeth, muscles and joints. The neuromuscular orthodontist seeks to establish a harmonious relationship among these three main factors, resulting in a jaw position that is called “neuromuscular occlusion.”

Dr. Ogata is one of the pioneers in neuromuscular orthodontics and was recruited to teach his techniques at the Las Vegas Institute.

For neuromuscular patients, Dr. Ogata uses a computerized device called the Myomonitor to deliver gentle electrical stimulation to your muscles to help them reach a relaxed state. This can be an effective means of drug-free pain relief for some patients. More importantly, by recording the relaxed position with a bite registration, the doctor is able to more effectively diagnose and treat these patients’ orthodontic cases.