The Holistic Approach of Physiologic Neuromuscular Dentistry

Physiologic Neuromuscular Dentistry, a cornerstone of our practice, offers a holistic solution to TMJ/TMD. This innovative field of dentistry recognizes the critical role of harmonious functioning between various elements – your teeth, muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and joints.

At the heart of this approach is the principle that optimal jaw and neck alignment is critical to relieving TMJ/TMD symptoms. By focusing on this interconnectedness, Dr. Raman addresses TMJ/TMD and related issues like balance problems and vertigo and enhances the overall quality of life for our patients, particularly the elderly, who are more prone to balance-related injuries.

Common Symptoms Associated with TMJ/TMD

Regarding TMJ/TMD, the symptoms can vary widely, affecting your health. Here are a few common symptoms we observe at Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep:

  • Vertigo and Dizziness: Many patients experience a sense of spinning or losing balance, often linked to TMJ issues.
  • Losing balance / Frequent Falls: This is primarily a concern for our older patients, as TMJ-related balance issues can increase the risk of falls. Younger people can also have balance problems where they get easily tripped and get labeled as ‘klutz’. 
  • Jaw Pain: A primary symptom that brings many to our center, jaw pain can directly result from TMJ disorders.
  • Ear Pain and Fullness: Often accompanying TMJ disorders, these symptoms can significantly impact your daily comfort and well-being.

Understanding these symptoms is crucial in diagnosing and effectively treating TMJ/TMD, ensuring a holistic approach to dental and overall health care.

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, and TMJD is the acronym used to describe dysfunction / disorder of the jaw joints. People often use TMJ and TMJD interchangeably.  TMD is temporomandibular dysfunction, meaning poor function of the jaw muscles and joints, including TMJD.

At Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep, we utilize non-invasive treatments for migraine headaches that stem from TMJ disorders. Rather than relying on temporary solutions, our focus is on therapeutic approaches aimed at the root cause of the discomfort. We design these treatments to alleviate migraine symptoms by addressing jaw and muscle dysfunction, providing patients with long-term relief and improved overall wellness.

If you present with the symptoms of TMJ, Dr. Raman will first do a thorough clinical examination to determine if there is evidence of poor jaw alignment – TMD.  These include evaluating jaw range of motion, muscle / joint palpations, Doppler examination of joint sounds and blood flow to the joints, and diagnostic photos.  The TMD Evaluation aims to establish evidence of TMD and that the symptoms the patient suffers from are due to TMD. Only if both are true would he accept the patient for treatment. We have a lot of technology. But It makes little sense to Dr. Raman to run many expensive tests and waste the patient’s time and money if he is not the right doctor for that patient’s problems. Then, he will review those findings and be able to tell you if you have TMD and how that may be resolved.

While pain medicine and anti-inflammatories may provide temporary relief of the painful symptoms of TMJ, we must treat the root cause to resolve the symptoms of TMD effectively. Many TMJ treatment options are very successful and do not involve taking potentially addictive painkillers.

A Physiological or neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Raman, who has undergone extensive education and training in treating TMD, should treat TMD.

When visiting Dr. Raman at the Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep, you can expect a highly personalized approach to your TMJ treatment. He conducts a thorough evaluation that includes your dental history and a comprehensive understanding of your overall health. Recognizing that TMJ issues often involve interconnected body parts, Dr. Raman tailors treatment plans to address your unique needs. His approach goes beyond treating symptoms, focusing on holistic care that considers the complex interaction between your jaw, neck, shoulders, and overall posture.

Dr. Prabu Raman at the Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep primarily utilizes non-surgical, therapeutic methods to treat TMJ and related disorders. These methods include Physiologic Neuromuscular Dentistry, focusing on aligning the teeth, muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and joints for a balanced bite. Advanced neuromuscular dental technology helps diagnose and develop treatment plans. Adjunct, supportive treatment options may involve physical therapy, posture training, orofacial myofunctional therapy, and other supportive therapies. The goal is to provide practical, non-invasive treatment for long-term symptom relief and improved quality of life.

Dr. Raman has been treating TMJ/TMD patients exclusively for over 25 years. What we have found is that insurance would cover usual and customary (Average) services but not his sophisticated treatment. However, we will help you file your medical insurance claims so that you may be reimbursed subject to the policy terms.

Traditional orthodontics typically involve metal braces used to straighten teeth. Clear aligners are preferred by those who are not excited about wearing metal braces. Either way, the goal is to straighten the teeth to improve the appearance of your smile.  

Neuromuscular functional orthodontics, on the other hand, is designed to gradually move your teeth into their best, most comfortable position, thereby alleviating the strain on the jaw joints’ surrounding muscles, tendons, and nerves. Breathing, swallowing, and chewing functions are best supported through this approach rather than just straight front teeth.

Ear pressure, often experienced alongside symptoms like ear pain, fullness, and ringing (tinnitus), can be intricately linked to TMJ disorders. This connection arises from the proximity and neurological relationships between the temporomandibular joint, ear canal, and surrounding muscles. When the TMJ is misaligned or dysfunctional, it can affect the tension and functioning of these muscles, leading to symptoms in the ear. Additionally, this dysfunction can impact the broader network of head, neck, and shoulder muscles, further contributing to ear-related symptoms.

Some studies have indicated that migraines may lead to brain changes, so while your brain may show abnormal function during or after a migraine, the term “brain damage” is not medically accurate in most cases of migraine-associated brain changes.

While difficulty swallowing (medically known as Odynophagia) may indicate several medical problems, when you have difficulty swallowing due to TMJ, you may have developed trigger points, which are “knots” of muscle tension. TMJ pain when swallowing indicates the trigger points in the neck and head muscles have affected the temporomandibular joint, causing discomfort while swallowing.

Dizziness and vertigo, while both related to spatial orientation, have distinct connections to TMJ disorders. Dizziness, characterized by lightheadedness or faint feelings, can result from the TMJ’s impact on surrounding muscles and nerves, affecting balance and orientation. Vertigo, specifically the sensation of spinning, is often linked to TMJ disorders through its influence on the inner ear and related structures. TMJ and AtlantoOccipital joint, where the skull connects to the first cervical vertebra, work together functionally. Both conditions can be exacerbated by the interconnected issues within the head, neck, and shoulders, highlighting the importance of a holistic approach in treating TMJ-related symptoms.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep breathing disorder and occurs when the tissue in your airway becomes so relaxed that it collapses and causes a blockage. The blockage of tissue in your airway forces you to choke and gasp for air while you sleep. Snoring is the sound we make when forcing air through an obstructed airway, so you likely have OSA if you snore.

To get air through a blocked airway, our body kicks into high gear and starts performing some functions to allow us to breathe; the blocked airway causes the body to push the lower jaw forward to open the airway. The constant motion of the Temporomandibular Joints throughout the night can cause stress and tension on the jaw joint and increase the likelihood of TMJ disorder. Many people will have both sleep apnea and TMJ, but you can have one and not the other.

We have many great success stories from our clients over the years. You can read some of our clients success stories on our Patient Stories page or hear first hand from our clients as they present their story on our testimonials page.

Get More Answers About TMJ

Please contact the Raman Center for TMJ and Sleep by calling (816) 436-4422. You may also fill out our online contact form, and one of our team members will reach out to assist with scheduling, answer any questions you have, or discuss insurance coverage.