What Is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry looks at the mouth as a complex system of interrelated parts that have to work together harmoniously for proper jaw function and health. Muscles, nerves, bones, teeth, and soft tissues of the cheek and lips all have a role to play, and each component relies on and influences the function of the others.
From this perspective, dentures don’t just replace the teeth themselves, they have to replace the entirety of tooth function as it relates to the other components in the system.
They don’t just have to look good when smiling or serve as passive grinders in chewing. Instead, they support and encourage healthy jaw position and function. They also support the cheeks and lips to help you look attractive even when you’re not smiling. Because a healthy jaw position is often consistent with a youthful jaw position, this helps create a rejuvenating effect on your facial appearance. That’s why FOY Dentures™ received their name–they put your jaw in a youthful position.
Neuromuscular dentures are also designed to be dynamic dentures. Neuromuscular dentistry emphasizes that these systems have to work together performing a diverse array of functions, and that dentures fitted to your mouth only in a static state may not fit as well when your mouth is in motion.
Neuromuscular dentistry also emphasizes that to be best able to fulfill the functions formerly performed by your teeth, your dentures should be secured with dental implants. Implant dentures better mimic the function of natural teeth.
How Fitting Neuromuscular Dentures Is Different
The different understanding of neuromuscular dentures is manifested in a different approach to fitting dentures. First, we will relax your muscles using TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation), which encourages your muscles to massage themselves. This helps us fit your dentures independent of bad bite habits that may have been picked up due to a poorly fitted or badly worn denture. We want your dentures to fit and encourage your “natural” bite to the extent that’s possible.
When we are measuring your mouth and jaw to plan your dentures, we also take steps to ensure we’re fitting your dentures to your muscles. First, we will measure the activity of your muscles so that we can match your dentures to your bite’s natural rest position, where muscles are most relaxed and comfortable. Next, we will stimulate your jaw muscles with TENS while taking impressions for your dentures. This allows us to understand how your muscles might impinge on the denture and potentially dislodge it when in motion.