Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

Started my Neuromuscular Dentistry Treatment

So after many months of research, multiple opinions, obsessing, and contemplation, I am now officially about 3 hours into wearing a NMD orthotic after all of the preliminary tests, TENS'ing, and measurements. Like many of you, I have wondered how well this would work and after much trepidation and skepticism, I figured the only way to really know if it would work is to bite the bullet (or orthotic rather) and try it.

For those who are on the fence or considering this, I have been where you're at and I can understand the hesitation. The costs are pretty high, and in my case I'm looking at braces again after all of the adjustments are made and perfected. Will be a small fortune for sure. But if it relieves my symptoms, I'll find a way to come up with the money to pay for it. And if it fails miserably, perhaps my story will be interesting to some of you considering this treatment. I will try to be as objective and honest as possible realizing everyone's case and pathology are very different.

I figured I'd keep a diary of sorts of my progress, as before I began treatment I wondered how the whole process works. I realize every dentist of course probably does things differently so most likely your experience may vary or be completely different. Here are my initial thoughts / experiences:

Testing: This is indeed very thorough and way more extensive than any other mouth guard or orthotic I've had. To date, I have had two before this but those were made simply from basic impressions giving little thought to where the muscles actually were "relaxed." The dentists who did those were simply looking for even contact when the bite came together. The NMD diagnostic appointment took well over 3 hours and included TENS'ing, measuring my muscular forces before and after when biting, and a few different rubber orthotic molds to sample how the muscles would react to different positions. Finally the dentist felt he had a good baseline for my bite that would achieve a harmony of my jaw muscles. Was told this was confirmed by the diagnostics still attached to my face at that point. Other interesting takeaways: He was able to tell by my sustained bite test I might have some other muscular issues going on in my neck/back which might be contributing to my TMD problem(s). Not sure how that will impede or impact my issues going forward.

TENS'ing: Personally I am not a fan of this, and I find it to be somewhat uncomfortable. It's more like a violent pulse every second versus a constant buzzing I've had in other situations like at the chiropractor. The pulses are actually so intense, it will slap your teeth together uncontrollably. They can dial it down slightly, but it's definitely different from what I envisioned. The first few times take getting used to, and perhaps my comfort will change in time. The office tells me other patients come in just to TENS, while for me - I can't wait until they shut it off. It does seem to "warm up" the muscles for whatever it's worth, but my jaw is nowhere near as tight as it was in May 2011. So, hard to tell how much this would help if my masseter muscles were as tight as before.

The Orthotic (on my lower teeth): (again only 3 hours in) I find it to be tolerable but definitely not comfortable. The plastic is hard, but not rock hard. So it has the density and flexibility of a hard plastic bottle top. There is slight give when you bite down firmly, which is unlike the harder orthotics I've had previously. Eating with the device is definitely going to be a challenge and in my particular case the NMD has it so that I cannot easily contact my frontmost teeth. This will make biting into a taco for instance (or any food you'd have to bite and tear off a piece (like a slice of bread) nearly impossible to eat. Also, any sort of grinding or gnashing will be tough. My contact area for my teeth coming together is a fraction of what it once was. Now just my rear molars touch, and that's about it. So it's learning to chew all over again. For lunch I tried eating a couple of chips - and thus far the crunchy food and the hard plastic have a very unnatural feel to it. It alarmed me - like I subconsciously had a bone in my chicken. You bite down and aren't expecting this foreign object sensation. The sensation of your teeth coming together are impeded. *If that makes sense. I have a feeling I am going to steer towards softer foods because I can sense it being hard to adequately chew up anything remotely hard or coarse. The device sort of is more mentally uncomfortable than physically. There is a temptation to just chew the heck out of it because it's in your mouth. I can imagine this just takes time to get used to / adjust.

My first NMD adjustment is tomorrow - just one day after the initial fitting. I am not expecting any miracles overnight obviously but I will keep notes on my progress here. I am told there is a six week window where I either have to commit 100% or abandon ship. Hoping I experience enough of a relief in symptoms to stay the course and commit to the full treatment.

Since I am guessing it may come up as a question, my biggest symptoms are: tight jaw muscles, ringing in the ears, tingling in my hands, neck / back pain, clicking and popping of my discs reducing, sporadic vision issues, and occasional vertigo.

Will report back tomorrow to indicate any changes / progress.
Did you find this post helpful?
First Helper 343v2
|

replied September 26th, 2011
NM Dentistry
Nm dentistry got rid of a lifetime of migraines for me...I'm a big fan!
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 26th, 2011
Phase 2?
Did you end up going on to Phase 2? If so, what did it consist of?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 26th, 2011
my natural teeth we able to be adjusted by a procedure they ccalled coronoplasty. since then i have not had a single migraine. my teeth were hitting together improperly. I know friends that have gone thru NM treatment with great results. you just need to see a doctor that is properly trained. My doctor was trained and LVI and I can not say enough good things about him. I guess that is because I am better.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 27th, 2011
Day 2 of the NM Treatment, and already my first adjustment. TENS'd again, and spent a couple of hours changing the profile of the orthotic so that I could chew easier with it.

(+) PLUS SIDE - was able to get the orthotic more stable so that I could chew easier. Was actually able to eat a meal with less discomfort than yesterday.

(-) DOWN SIDE - I feel myself having to chew "harder" in order to really eat the food - and thus I have sore jaw muscles. I don't think my jaw is used to the position yet and I can feel my jaw going in to spasm as I write this. Not looking forward to it, hoping I can stave off a serious flare up. Sad

Next adjustment is Monday, so if all goes awry, I am going to have quite the wait on my hands to remedy it. Will be an interesting night.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied October 15th, 2011
Day 24 - Update
So I'm roughly one month in and thought I'd give anyone who cares an update. My jaw opening motion has greatly relaxed and I am able to open wide with only very minimal tightness. There are times my jaw opens so freely (after eating when my muscles are "warmed up") where I think - Oh S*** what happened! Because my jaw opens like a feather with no issues. Almost feels like something is wrong. But it's just that the sensation is so foreign. I'm not used to having my jaw so relaxed.

So the orthotic has definitely improved the jaw muscle situation and I notice a definite change. I'm as skeptical as anyone on this forum, but I am reporting my results objectively. I still think I have a ways to go and I definitely know my issues are more than just a bad bite


I have found and secured a NUCCA chiropractor who did some X Rays of my upper cervical spine. My atlas is way out of alignment and I have other misalignment issues going down to even the hip. So I think I have some mechanical posture issues to improve on which I know contribute to my jaw pain.

Back for another adjustment this coming Monday, will see what that holds.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 8th, 2012
can you update your situation? i'm really thinking about NM-dentistry for me!

Other question. Is NM-bite usually how much forward from the most back position (CR)? Can it be in somepeople just few 2mm(0.0800 inches about?) or like 2cm(2.54inches)?

Can it be that different?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 9th, 2012
Experienced User
It will vary depending on the individual. I think about the furthest forward you would have it would be maybe a millimeter or so in front of your upper teeth. Most wouldn't need to be that far forward.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 9th, 2012
Thanks for the reply! The reason why i'm asking, i had a dentist made CR bite which was awful for me. I had couple time orthodontics via dentists that didn't want to move my teeth, so my jaw would get forward, but did it cause i was persistant with my feelings. it got better, but not where i wanted it. There's no NM-dentists in my country. And my relaxed bite seems much closer now and i'm like 1-CM! forward or something. My jaw's side and forward movements are wrong, so i'm trying to find a good NM-dentist possibly in europe somewhere. And i'm hoping my ideal bite is close, how it feels. It's definitely not 1-2 mm or something like that forward in my case, or then i'm totally lost.

I noticed from another topic that you are also in phase one treatment! I hope that it will get better with you!

Does your LVI trained NM-dentist use low frequency tens AND k7? You have had lot of adjustments?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 10th, 2012
Experienced User
Yes he uses the ULF TENS and K7. I get it adjusted quite often especially with atlas adjustments in conjunction.

What I meant when I said maybe 1mm forward was your bottom teeth in relation to your top teeth. I have seen some patients (myself included) who have their bottom teeth just slightly in front of their top teeth with the orthosis in. I wasn't referring to how far forward it should come in relation to the starting point, that may very well be 1cm if it started back so far.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

This post has been removed because it did not meet our Community Guidelines.

replied January 18th, 2012
Sorry for the lack of updates - but here goes.

* NM treatment has been going great for me. I can honestly say I am glad I did it. I was very skeptical and cynical, and worried like many of you whether or not it would do any good. I can honestly say it was a good move and I have no regrets.

* The other day (with the orthotic) I even ate a steak for the first time in months. Absolutely no pain or issues after. It's not something I would necessarily do every day, but it's good to know I can from time to time. Otherwise what fun would life be? I still avoid gum, though my NMD had me chew it in his office *even with the orthotic* to simulate chewing after adjustments.

* I can honestly say that the orthotic got me about 70% better. The remaining issues related to my case had/have a LOT to do with forward head posture and tension in my upper neck/back from years of stressful computing work. I can't stress the importance of that enough (in my case) - the final improvements came when I really made a conscious effort to get my ears, over my shoulders, over my hips and relax. I think this is a GREAT video that really helped me understand the relationship of FHP.

* I have also given a lot of thought to my MENTAL contributions to the TMJ/TMD - my anxiety fueled muscle tension, which fueled my anxiety. I'd recommend "The Mindbody Prescription" by Dr. John Sarno. Not saying it's the ONLY answer, but there is a big component of how the mind will add more tension to the jaw area.

I would say I am about 90-95% better and have been given the green light to proceed to phase 2. Any other improvements after this point would be gravy. That said, I will continue posture exercises and physical therapy for a few more months to see if I can continue with any improvements. Future adjustments are at my discretion - there isn't much more in the way of "malocclusion" I can fix. It's more just if I can get the jaw and surrounding muscles to relax any further which would necessitate minute adjustments.

So as of today:

- No clicking
- No pain
- Maybe 1/10 on scale of jaw "tightness" if I am tense
- No restrictions on what I eat (even though the orthotic can be hard with sticky foods)
- I probably COULD eat things like licorice or candy, but I avoid as not to tempt fate.


** WHAT I LEARNED, IF IT'S OF ANY VALUE **

TMJ (again in my case) is just a small piece to a bigger puzzle. My case was actually the canary in a coal mine for a much bigger set of problems. Chronic muscle tension still plagues me, albeit more in my hands with RSI type symptoms. I am working to getting more and more in touch with the mental component of how my thoughts add to my condition(s). Humbling myself enough to believe it is not just a "mechanical" problem took a lot of effort. I went through MRI's of my neck and back only to realize that, structurally, there is nothing wrong with me. My soft tissue tension however is a different story. For those with TMJ, do look carefully at your posture, your neck, your upper back, your thoracic spine, and your surrounding tissues. My guess is there might be a lot more going on than JUST your jaw.

Hope my experience helps others during their time of decision. I know it's hard when people fall off the earth and don't answer questions.

BOTTOM LINE: If I got braces and captured my bite "as it is" today - I would consider NMD a success. I still think I can improve things just a tad before I commit to a mouth full of metal however. But even if I can't, I wouldn't be terribly disappointed.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 18th, 2012
Sorry for the lack of updates - but here goes.

* NM treatment has been going great for me. I can honestly say I am glad I did it. I was very skeptical and cynical, and worried like many of you whether or not it would do any good. I can honestly say it was a good move and I have no regrets.

* The other day (with the orthotic) I even ate a steak for the first time in months. Absolutely no pain or issues after. It's not something I would necessarily do every day, but it's good to know I can from time to time. Otherwise what fun would life be? I still avoid gum, though my NMD had me chew it in his office *even with the orthotic* to simulate chewing after adjustments.

* I can honestly say that the orthotic got me about 70% better. The remaining issues related to my case had/have a LOT to do with forward head posture and tension in my upper neck/back from years of stressful computing work. I can't stress the importance of that enough (in my case) - the final improvements came when I really made a conscious effort to get my ears, over my shoulders, over my hips and relax. Check on YouTube for forward head posture videos - again, just my case specifically.

* I have also given a lot of thought to my MENTAL contributions to the TMJ/TMD - my anxiety fueled muscle tension, which fueled my anxiety. I'd recommend "The Mindbody Prescription" by Dr. John Sarno. Not saying it's the ONLY answer, but there is a big component of how the mind will add more tension to the jaw area.

I would say I am about 90-95% better and have been given the green light to proceed to phase 2. Any other improvements after this point would be gravy. That said, I will continue posture exercises and physical therapy for a few more months to see if I can continue with any improvements. Future adjustments are at my discretion - there isn't much more in the way of "malocclusion" I can fix. It's more just if I can get the jaw and surrounding muscles to relax any further which would necessitate minute adjustments.

So as of today:

- No clicking
- No pain
- Maybe 1/10 on scale of jaw "tightness" if I am tense
- No restrictions on what I eat (even though the orthotic can be hard with sticky foods)
- I probably COULD eat things like licorice or candy, but I avoid as not to tempt fate.


** WHAT I LEARNED, IF IT'S OF ANY VALUE **

TMJ (again in my case) is just a small piece to a bigger puzzle. My case was actually the canary in a coal mine for a much bigger set of problems. Chronic muscle tension still plagues me, albeit more in my hands with RSI type symptoms. I am working to getting more and more in touch with the mental component of how my thoughts add to my condition(s). Humbling myself enough to believe it is not just a "mechanical" problem took a lot of effort. I went through MRI's of my neck and back only to realize that, structurally, there is nothing wrong with me. My soft tissue tension however is a different story. For those with TMJ, do look carefully at your posture, your neck, your upper back, your thoracic spine, and your surrounding tissues. My guess is there might be a lot more going on than JUST your jaw.

Hope my experience helps others during their time of decision. I know it's hard when people fall off the earth and don't answer questions.

BOTTOM LINE: If I got braces and captured my bite "as it is" today - I would consider NMD a success. I still think I can improve things just a tad before I commit to a mouth full of metal however. But even if I can't, I wouldn't be terribly disappointed.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 26th, 2013
What Phase II did you end up going with?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied May 11th, 2013
Updates?
Any other updates on your occlusion? Did the NMD solve your problems? What were the other phases after the second one? Did they ever have to file down your teeth or anything? Also, what's the name of the NMD you worked with?

Thanks, and I hope you're cured!!
|
Did you find this post helpful?