San Francisco Neuromuscular Dentistry

Porcelain VeneersDo you often have neck pain, shoulder pain or migraine headaches? Do you have trouble chewing or speaking? Do you notice a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your jaw?

These issues could be caused by TMJ disorders. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders disrupt the tendons, facial muscles, ligaments, bones, nerves and teeth. TMJ disorder is frequently called TMD.

Some common TMD symptoms are:

  • numbness or tingling in your fingertips or hands
  • migraine headaches
  • earaches
  • limited jaw mobility
  • difficulty chewing and biting
  • pain in your neck, jaw, face or shoulder
  • hearing loss
  • jaw stuck in an open or closed position
  • a clicking sound during jaw movement

Many times patients believe these symptoms are consequences of a sinus issue or earache. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist for an exam.

As a San Francisco neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Larson helps patients find their ideal physiologic rest positions for their lower jaws. He works to bring patients relief from TMJ disorders by studying and treating imbalanced bites. In the diagnostic phase Dr. Larson will inspect you for forward head posture, front tooth wear, loose teeth and withdrawing gum line. He is currently the only doctor in San Francisco to have Myotronics ® K-7 Diagnostic equipment in his office which analyzes the relationship between jaw muscles, joints and teeth. With the aid of this computer Dr. Larson can accurately pinpoint optimal jaw treatment positions, which can relieve pain and correct TMJ problems.

He will also inspect your airway and jaw to evaluate their narrowness. In many cases Dr. Larson can treat TMD with a custom dental appliance. Dr. Larson also partners with other doctors during the treatment phase, including pulmonologists, chiropractors, ear nose and throat (ENT) doctors and physical therapists.

Dr. Larson may decide you would benefit from a neuromuscular orthotic to reposition the bite, relieve symptoms and prevent further deterioration. These orthotics are more sophisticated than traditional night guards, as traditional night guards may sometimes exacerbate TMJ issues due to the extra pressure placed on the jaw and facial muscles. We strive to balance unevenness in the jaw, neck and back with neuromuscular orthotics. The orthotic helps the patient rest his jaw in a harmonious position for the neck, back, TMJ and facial muscles.

By finding the ideal rest position for the jaw we work to alleviate any pain or discomfort caused by an uneven TMJ. Please contact us if you think you may have a TMJ disorder. There is hope; we can help.