Pain or dysfunction of the head and neck is a very common condition and one that might be resolved very simply or might be very complex and frustrating to treat, depending upon the circumstances.
The bite can be a factor in many types of pain or functional problems because of the inter-relationship of the overall musculoskeletal system.
Since there is a relationship between the teeth, jaw joints head and neck muscles, and head posture, a problem in any one of these areas may affect others. These can include painful clicking or popping of the jaw joints, various types of head and neck pain, swallowing problems, postural problems, and excessive snoring or sleep apnea to mention a few.
In an evaluation, they will be looking for a number of signs in your posture, appearance and condition of your teeth, and existing bite that might aid in diagnosis.
An imperfect bite often plays a significant role in these conditions and the dentist experienced in treating this may resolve the problem. However, diagnosing these problems can be very difficult at times and may require the collective effort of your dentist and other health care professionals.
The Dentists' Diagnosis
The neuromuscular dentist will consider all of the information gathered by taking your history and doing a physical examination of your teeth, head and neck. When evaluating they conduct a series of tests using non-invasive electronic instruments. Data from these tests will indicate to your dentist whether your bite is a major contributing factor to your problem and will help rule in or rule out your bite as the cause of or major component of your condition. If these tests show that your bite is a probable cause of your condition or pain, the neuromuscular dentist then identifies a jaw position while the muscles are in a relaxed state. This jaw position and the corresponding new bite is called neuromuscular occlusion (bite).