Not everyone pays attention to the mechanism behind our ability to bite and chew. However, neuromuscular dentistry requires detailed knowledge of the nerves, muscles, joints, and bones that work together in the process of mastication (chewing). We have to know exactly how this system is supposed to work so that we can identify and fix any issues that arise, such as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Here is some information for you to learn a little more about the science behind the bite.

Senior man cutting up his steak in a restaurant

Names to know:

  • Mandible – Jaw bone
  • Maxilla – Upper dental arch
  • Cranium – Skull
  • Trigeminal nerve – Controls chewing, delivers pain signals from head and face
  • Occlusion – How top and bottom teeth fit together
  • Malocclusion – Overbite or underbite
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – Connects mandible and temporal bone of the cranium

The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in our body, and is absolutely essential to proper jaw function and mastication. Unfortunately, most of us have some degree of malocclusion, which forces facial muscles into a stressed position.

Malocclusion causes the articular disc of the TMJ to become displaced, which we call TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).

TMD might seem like something minor at first, but it comes with painful symptoms that are not limited to the mouth and jaw area. This is because the stress of malocclusion and TMD can impact the trigeminal nerve, which carries pain signals from all over the face and head in addition to its motor functions.

If you have chronic headaches, muscle pains, or other symptoms, contact Rochester Advanced Dentistry right away to find out if TMD is the cause.