TMJ Syndrome-TMD-Nocturnal Bruxism Treatments

Common Methods of Treatment

This brief piece outlines both conventional and alternative TMJ treatment approaches.

  • mouth guards / appliances / splints

  • neuromuscular dentistry

  • reshaping tooth surfaces

  • mouth massage

Mouth Guards / Appliances / Splints

The principle and hope of these kinds of devices is that by separating the teeth, they are prevented from grinding each other. However, from the very name, “mouth guard,” we infer that this kind of device doesn’t solve the problem, but only hopes to prevent tooth damage as the problem — tight jaw muscles — continues. It’s obvious — what the mouth is being guarded from is … the mouth! “Appliance” and “splint” are other names for “mouth guard”

Neuromuscular Dentistry

Neuromuscular dentistry takes a more sophisticated technological approach to the use of dental appliances. By measuring electrical activity of the muscles of biting and chewing, practitioners of this approach identify patterns of movement, of position, and of dental stress and then prepare an appliance to retrain the nervous system’s control of those muscles. The desired outcome common comes in a few months; cost ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.

Re-shaping Teeth

Dentists have found that by changing the fit of upper and lower teeth, they can alter neuromuscular control of the muscles of biting and chewing and thereby alleviate TMJ Syndrome. This approach posits that the cause of excessive jaw tension is poor fit between upper and lower teeth. Its method is to reshape tooth surfaces by a polishing process to improve the fit. This method does get results. By changing the fit between teeth (by removing contours that prevent uniform contact among teeth), the process changes ones experience of biting and chewing. This change introduces such a new experience of biting and chewing that habitual patterns of muscular control are interrupted, allowing new movement patterns to form. However, it’s an indirect approach involving ongoing dental surgery in a series of steps to a good fit. While its effects are beneficial, it misses the role of dental trauma in the formation of dental stress.

Mouth Muscle Massage

While the approach sounds relevant, given what I have said above, the limitation of this approach is that jaw muscle muscle tension is maintained by the brain — it’s conditioning — not by the muscles, themselves.  So, the results of mouth massage tend to be short-lived.

A New TMJ Therapeutic Approach

Understanding that we are dealing with conditioned postural reflexes that govern muscular tension, one way to cure TMJ Syndrome/TMD naturally would be to retrain those conditioned postural reflexes — in effect, to eliminate residual trauma reflex and to ease dental stress. The video on this page demonstrates exactly that process — called Hanna Somatic Education®. The video shows changes in real-time — painless, fast, inexpensive, and lasting — produced by dispelling automatic, reflexive contraction patterns and re-awakening control of free movement.

The various symptoms of TMD/TMJ Syndrome — headaches, earaches, bruxism, poor bite, tinnitis, postural changes, limited ability to open or close the jaws — resolve into normal function.


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