Diagnosing Neuromuscular Problems

Advanced technology

When diagnosing problems with your bite, we use advanced technology to measure the path of your jaw and movement of your jaw joints. We track the way your jaw performs in motion and at rest, evaluate the health and positioning of your jaw joint, and measure the muscle function.

The technology we use may include:

  • tomography,
  • sonography, or joint vibration analysis,
  • electromyography,
  • jaw tracking,
  • and a TENS unit.

Tomographs are specialized x-rays that give us a 3D view of the jaw joints. This allows us to check the health and position of the bones of your jaw joints.

The sonograph, or joint vibration analysis equipment, measures the sounds in your jaw joints as you open and close your mouth. These measurements can help us identify joint problems. With electromyography, we can measure the tension in your chewing muscles.

When muscles are tense or strained, they give off tiny electrical currents. To track your jaw movements, we’ll place a tiny magnet just below your lower front teeth. The sensor then records the movement of the magnet when you move your jaw open and closed, side to side, and forward and backward.

A bad bite is the cause of many problems

Once we know how your muscles and jaw presently work, we’ll need to compare those measurements to some taken after your jaw muscles are relaxed and comfortable. If we discover a difference, a bad bite is more likely to be the cause of your problems.

The TENS unit sends a mild, ultra-low frequency pulse into your chewing muscles to relax your jaw and reduce muscle pain. We’ll have you wear the unit for about 45 minutes. When the TENS treatment is complete, we’ll repeat the electromyography to determine if your muscles are more relaxed. If they are more relaxed, we’ll then use the TENS unit and jaw tracking equipment together.

The TENS will make your jaw move slightly along its most relaxed path of closure, and the jaw tracking equipment draws a line that displays that path. This shows us the jaw position that will allow your jaw joint and muscles to be the most stable and comfortable at rest, and when chewing, talking, and swallowing. After the workup is completed, we’ll create a treatment plan just for you. Our goal is to get your bite to stay in this comfortable, relaxed position.

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