We recently hosted a learning opportunity for a group of dentists who were here to clinically brush up on their skills with a type of dentistry called neuromuscular. But, they were also here to interact and have fun with one another as they were learning.

ABOVE: Dr. Durham (Savannah), Dr. Coker (Tyler) and Dr. Westersund (Calgary)
BELOW: Dr. Berlin (McKinney), Dr. Strickland (Savannah), Dr. McKay (Seattle)
The group was also treated to 3-days of a plant-based diet. They told us that they were more worried about having to eat a “vegan” diet than they were about learning new clinical skills. However, by the end of the week-end, they all commented that they didn’t realize plant-based foods could be so good.

ABOVE: Dr. Mack (Edna), Joleen (Edna), Dr. Berlin (McKinney), Dr. Incrapera (Houston), Dr. McKay (Seattle)
BELOW: Mary (Tyler), Cylisa (Tyler), Leah (Tyler), Dr. Durham (Savannah), Ronda (Tyler)

Neuromuscular dentistry is used for people who have a lot of head, neck and/or jaw pain. After years of patched up fillings or just clenching or gritting their teeth, many patients have ended up with quite a bit of pain. Part of the treatment involves having the patient sit and relax for about an hour with electrodes pasted on their head and neck. These pulsing electrodes actually manage to get the pain points to relax.

At that point, the patient will be fitted with some really high-tech equipment and measurements are taken as he puts his teeth together. After those measurements are analyzed, impressions are taken of the upper and lower teeth and then placed on an articulator so the new relaxed relationship of the teeth is kept in place. Eventually a removeable splint is custom made for the patient to wear for 3-6 months. Sometimes, if the patient has been nearly locked into his painful position, it could be necessary to do another session of relaxation, measurement and impressions with another splint made to make sure his teeth are finally in a position of comfort.

Most patients find such relief from all of this work that they do not want to go without their splint. At that point, their teeth can be fitted with new porcelain crowns or veneers to keep their teeth in that most wonderful, comfortable position without having to continuously wear their splint.

As you may be able to tell from the above description, it is not a technique that most dentists wish to learn as it is very technical for the dentist and his team to learn and it is very expensive to purchase all the the necessary high-tech equipment needed. But, for those patients who are in extreme pain, it is definitely worth it to find such a skilled dentist.