HEALTHY, HAPPY BITE
Gneuromuscular Dentistry in Columbus, IN
Gneuromuscular dentistry combines the study of the jaw, which is called gnathology, with the study of the nerves and muscles that are associated with the jaw. The “g” in gneuromuscular comes from gnathology, neuro means nerves, and muscular refers to the muscles of the jaw system. Gneuromuscular dentists, including Dr. Sitaram, focus on how the jaws and teeth come together when the mouth is closed. This position is referred to as bite or “occlusion.”
Dr. Sitaram, DDS, MICCMO, FICCMO, OCF, understands how occlusion can affect a patient’s mouth, head, neck, shoulders, and overall health and well-being, for better or for worse. He provides treatment to help patients achieve harmonious occlusion, or happy bites, for more health, harmony, and happiness in life.
Dr. Sitaram is one of five esteemed Fellows of Dr. Clayton Chan’s Occlusion Connections. He has also received extensive training through Dr. Mariano Rocabado’s Craniocervical Dynamics Curriculum and Dr. Javier Vasquez’s Biofunctional Dynamic Occlusion Curriculum!
Gneuromuscular Dentistry Includes:
- Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) Therapy
- Comprehensive Dental Treatments for Full-Mouth Restorations
Symptoms of TMD
While every patient is different, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs that may indicate TMD.
- Aching in or around the ear
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Clicking sound when opening and closing mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Pain or tenderness around jaw
Occlusion Problems Really Bite
The body wants to have proper occlusion and jaw posture. We feel best when the upper and lower arches of our teeth align with each other, and when the biting surfaces of our teeth fit together the way they’re supposed to. When the bite is misaligned or there are other issues with jaw posture, it can result in jaw popping and locking, headaches, facial pain, neck stiffness and pain, and shoulder aches among other problems that negatively impact overall health and comfort.
Occlusion Connections Training
Dr. Sitaram has pursued intensive training in this progressive area of dentistry at Occlusion Connections®, the Center of Gneuromuscular Dentistry & Orthopedic Occlusal Advancement in Las Vegas. Lead by Dr. Clayton A. Chan, Dr. Sitaram is part of a worldwide team of less than 50 dentists who have completed or are completing the entire seven-level Occlusion Connections curriculum. This wonderful group is called the “OC Special Group,” and Dr. Sitaram is extremely grateful for the blessing of associating with such exceptional, dedicated dental clinicians from around the world.
Powerful, Far-Reaching Benefits
The multidisciplinary approach of gneuromuscular dentistry to temporomandibular disorder (TMD) therapy has astounding benefits. How your jaws relate to one another is no small thing. From breathing and resting your mouth to chewing, swallowing, and talking, many essential daily activities center around the mouth. A disorder in this area can substantially lower your quality of life. Sports performance can also be enhanced by achieving a proper gneuromuscular bite, subsequent breathing improvements, and enriched harmony within the body.
Your Gneuromuscular Consultation to Determine Treatment
During your first gneuromuscular visit with Dr. Sitaram, he will get to know you and your dental/medical history, and he’ll ask you to share the experiences that have lead you to seek gneuromuscular treatment. To collect data on the status of your jaw muscles, Dr. Sitaram will use electromyography (EMG). EMG uses little electrodes that attach to the skin and record the electrical activity of muscle tissues—don’t worry, it’s pain-free. This will be done both when your jaw is at rest and when you’re using it.
Then, Dr. Sitaram will use three-dimensional (3D) jaw movement tracking to assess your exact jaw movements. Our 3D tracking technology is so accurate that movements can be measured down to 1/10 of a millimeter! The final step of gathering the information needed to determine the best course of action is electrosonography. Electrosonography lets Dr. Sitaram listen to the sounds your jaw makes when opening and closing. After analyzing the data collected, Dr. Sitaram can identify the new optimal bite position and make a personalized treatment plan of how to help you get there!
Steps for Training a New, Optimal Bite Position
Utilizing the TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation)
A vital technique of gneuromuscular dentistry is retraining the jaw muscles to naturally assume their optimal position. Think of any muscle action that feels automatic, including walking, riding a bike, typing, or playing an instrument. After our brains initially learn and become sufficiently practiced at these activities, we don’t have to “think” hard to make them happen; our bodies and our muscles just know. Gneuromuscular dentistry works to make muscles forget the poor jaw posture that has been causing pain and relearn how to function optimally. This is partly done using a TENS unit, which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation.
The TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation) sends painless electrical signals to the jaw muscles, causing them to contract. This process wipes away habitual patterns of chewing, and it also acts as therapeutic massage therapy that expels toxins that might have built up in the muscles. Usually after 45–60 minutes of TENS therapy, Dr. Sitaram will have discovered the ideal jaw position. The next part of the process concentrates on ideal teeth positioning, or orthopedic bite position. The new, ideal jaw and teeth positions are referred to as the “gneuromuscular bite.”
Creating a Custom Orthotic Appliance
Knowing the gneuromuscular bite, Dr. Sitaram will have a custom orthotic mouth appliance created. The orthotic works to replicate and maintain the optimal jaw and teeth positions Dr. Sitaram found during your TENS test. Orthotics fit over the lower teeth and should be worn all the time, except during brushing and flossing. Wearing the appliance enables you to test your new bite and give feedback about any needed adjustments to Dr. Sitaram at subsequent visits.
In addition to providing gneuromuscular orthodontic mouth appliances, as a certified AgilityGuard dentist, Dr. Sitaram can also custom-fit an AgilityGuard athletic mouthpiece to bring out performance potential in you that you might not have even thought possible!
M8 Concussion Orthotic
Dr. Sitaram patented the M8 Concussion Orthotic appliance which is a thick, retainer-like appliance that cushions the jaw and significantly reduces and absorbs impact. It is custom made to perfectly fit over each patient’s arch of teeth to keep their bite in an optimized position and provide maximum protection.
Finalizing Your Bite
After we confirm that the new bite position is optimal and that symptoms have significantly decreased or ceased altogether, then it’s time to make a more permanent plan. This may include restorative treatments such as changing the surface or shape of some teeth with crowns, or possibly moving teeth through orthodontics.
Many jaw, facial, and breathing issues arise from the jawbone simply not being large enough. The muscles in your face, neck, and jaw must accommodate its insufficiency and often leads to breathing problems, fatigue, TMD, and more. Rather than resorting to more extensive treatments, we offer growth appliances to increase your jaw size and alleviate your discomfort.
Unlike other appliances, growth guidance appliances actually stimulate new bone growth rather than using brute force to expand the jawbone. Your custom appliance will lightly press on a nerve in your upper palate that signals your body to begin the bone-building process. Once the growth appliance has stimulated forward facial growth, we can move forward with orthodontic treatment to move your teeth into their desired positions.
PRP TMJ Treatment
Platelet Rich Plasma injections (PRP) can be used for joint therapy to treat temporomandibular joint disorder. Blood has platelets that work to form clots. They also have proteins that play a vital role in healing damaged tissues inside of the body. Activated platelets produce healing proteins also known as growth factors that accelerate tissue repair.
PRP helps stimulate cartilage growth. To complete this treatment, we draw the patient’s blood, spin the plasma in a centrifuge, and inject it into the TMJs all in a single visit. This treatment can help alleviate symptoms from TMD, boost joint health, and repair damaged tissue. Giving patients the relief they need!
Treating Chronic Migraines with SPG Block
For those looking for a simple, non-invasive treatment for migraines and chronic headaches, sphenopalatine ganglion blocks may be the solution. The SPG consists of a group of nerves located behind the nose which is related to the trigeminal nerve—the nerve that is most often linked to headaches. Dr. Sitaram has completed additional training and is certified to use SPG blocks to treat headache disorders.
The treatment process takes very little time and relief is almost instantaneous. First, we’ll insert a cotton-tipped catheter intraorally. We’ll then administer a local anesthetic through the catheter to help block the pain. You’ll notice relief right away and oftentimes patients experience several headache-free days immediately after being treated. Treatment can be repeated as many times as necessary. Call to learn more about SPG blocks today!
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