Solution – Orthotics
Therapeutic orthotics are made from clear acrylic, molded to fit your lower teeth. (They are used on the lower teeth whenever possible, because that is much more comfortable than attaching the orthotic to upper teeth.) The biting surface of the orthotic simulates teeth that are properly positione. The orthotic bite relaxes the jaw muscles and aligns the jaw joints, balancing the jaw muscles and joints in their closure and resting positions. That balance extends to the musculo-skeletal systems of the head, neck, shoulders and back, to help provide alignment, stability and comfort to those systems as well.
The design of the therapeutic orthotic and how much time it is worn, depends on individual circumstances in each case. Flat-plane versus anatomic; part-time versus most-of-the-time, versus wearing it full-time including while eating. These are all options that need to be taken into account. A custom plan is made for each patient after a thorough evaluation and diagnosis by Millennium Dental.
The beginning – a proper diagnosis
Whether it is a non-pain patient wanting to to save teeth from being destroyed by a stressful bite, or a pain patient who needs relief, or a pain patient whose goal is to relieve pain and save deteriorating teeth, a proper diagnosis is the starting point for providing proper treatment. It is necessary to differentiate among muscle disorders, tmj disk disorders, inflammatory disorders, chronic hypomobilities, hypermobilities, growth disorders, traumatic injuries, and abnormal jaw closure patterns as being components of each case. Millennium Dental performs comprehensive clinical examinations, using Computerized Jaw Tracking, EMGs, Sonography, and extremely low radiation CT-Scan imaging for evaluation, diagnosis, and the best treatment options for every patient. We bundle the cost of the diagnostic procedures into the cost of the various orthotic options we offer.
Non-Pain Patient Therapeutic Orthotics
Providing protection from excessive wear and tear on teeth, dental restorations and periodontal tissues that are caused clenching and grinding or pressure on the teeth, these are meant to be won part time only. These orthotics are made to a rested jaw muscle position that minimizes or eliminates clenching and grinding, and then we include the use of a physio-therapeutic Ultra-Low Frequency TENS to relax tense jaw muscles and help determine the relaxed bite position for the patient. The result is the best support for the jaws and protection from bite stresses while the orthotic is being worn.
Pain Patient Initial Therapeutic Orthotics
The pain patient has special needs. To decrease the pain and suffering caused by a pathological biting position, Ultra Low Frequency TENS is used to relax tense jaw muscles and determine a relaxed bite position which has the best potential to optimize head, neck and jaw posture, giving the best support for the jaw muscles and joints, and reducing bite stresses on the teeth.
The initial therapeutic orthotic for a pain patient is designed to be worn full-time with the exception of during eating. It the most common starting orthotic we make because of its high success rate, its ease of care and maintenance, and its relatively low cost. Wearing this type of orthotic as prescribed usually eliminates or drastically reduces pain and other related symptoms within a few days or weeks of initially wearing it.
After the initial healing period, patients may continue wearing their initial therapeutic orthotic as long as it still fits their teeth (as long as no major dental work is performed, it should fit). Some patients attempt to wean off of their orthotic as much as they can, without the return of their symptoms and wear their orthotic only when they feel they need it the most. Other patients upgrade to a higher cost anatomic orthotic that can be worn full time-including during eating.
NOTE: Orthotics do not fix or repair teeth. An orthotic by itself does not permanently correct the pathological bite arrangement of the teeth that caused the initial disorder. Therapeutic Orthotics bring balance to the jaw and neck muscles, but only while you are wearing the orthotic.
Think of it this way: if you have poor eyesight and you need glasses to correct your eyesight, you need to wear your glasses for them to work. Your glasses will not heal your eyes. If you have flat feet and you need foot orthotics to give you a proper stance, the foot orthotics will only work while you have them in the shoes you are wearing. Your foot orthotics will not heal your flat feet.
To permanently fix the bite of your teeth so you do not need to rely on a Therapeutic Orthotic for proper alignment, another type of treatment is needed.
A more permanent solution – Reconstructive Orthotics
The thought of a lifetime wearing a Therapeutic Orthotic is undesirable for many. While comfortable to wear, Therapeutic Orthotics require care and maintenance, must be replaced if they they wear out, become broken or lost, or don’t fit the teeth anymore (i.e. if major dental work has been performed). Many patients want a more permanent solution. That solution requires a more comprehensive treatment plan to determine and perfecte the bite position.
Reconstructive Orthotics are the next step towards a more permanent, phase-two treatment solution consisting of Orthodontic Braces, or Reconstructive Porcelain Restorations (what we call Smile Rejuvenation), or a combination of orthodontics and reconstructive porcelain restorations.
There are two main types of reconstructive Orthotics: Removable Clear Acrylic, and Bonded Tooth-Colored. Both have anatomic biting surfaces to imitate the ideal bite position, with cusps which help provide a stability for the upper and lower jaws to bite or occlude, and allow for more efficient chewing. These orthotics are monitored over several months and adjusted as the jaw muscles relax, the jaw joints decompress, and posture improves.
Clear Acrylic Reconstructive Orthotics (Removable)
For patients with more serious TMJ disorder pain issues who want to have phase-two treatment in the future. Similar to Pain Patient Therapeutic Orthotics, we use Computerized Jaw Tracking, 8 channel EMGs, jaw joint Sonography, and extremely low radiation CT-Scan imaging to assist in determining the proper bite position for the jaw.
Reconstructive orthotics are worn full-time (during eating), for usually at least a three months and sometimes six to 18 months or longer. The duration depends on the number and extent of bite rebalancing orthotic adjustments that may be required as the jaw muscles relax, jaw joints decompress, and head, neck, and back posture stabilizes and improves.
Three bite rebalancing adjustments during the first three months are included in the cost of the Pain Patient Removable Reconstructive Orthotic.
Bonded and Tooth-Colored Reconstructive Orthotics
The most comfortable, easiest to wear as these orthotics are bonded or glued onto the surface of the tooth of the lower and/or upper teeth. Patients find it is easy to eat, talk, and sing with these orthotics. We provide special home care devices to help keep the teeth and gum tissue healthy while wearing the Bonded Tooth Colored Reconstructive Orthotic. Professional cleanings are required by our hygiene team every 3 months to ensure healthy gum tissue while wearing Bonded Tooth-Colored Reconstructive Orthotics.
They are practically invisible in your mouth, blending in with your own teeth. They can be in the mouth for up to two years with proper care. In the case of worn down, crooked or misshapen teeth, the upper orthotic actually looks better than the original teeth and is gives a preview of the results of a smile-makeover.
Three bite rebalancing adjustments during the first three months are covered in the cost of Bonded Tooth-Colored Reconstructive Orthotics.
Orthotic is worn for at least three months to symptom relief.
Second phase of the treatment begins.
Phase II Treatments
Rejuvenate your Smile
Smile Rejuvenation explains the rebuilding of broken, dentally compromised teeth that cannot be corrected with Orthodontic care. Smile Rejuvenation is the use of attractive and modern Porcelain materials which not sonly give a natural attractive looking set of teeth but correctsthe bite problems that lead to the initial TMJ Disorders.
Smile Rejuvenation can be done at the same time as Orthodontic care or on its own As with all dental care, Smile Rejuvenation is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, budget and time frame. Treatment may be staged in order to defer costs over a greater period of time.
Orthodontic Care – Braces
Many TMJ Disorder patients choose Orthodontic care as phase-two treatment.
Millennium Dental is uniquely qualified to provide neuromuscular functional orthodontics as a conservative, less costly option (compared to the cost of bite reconstruction with porcelain veneers or crowns), and often the most effective option, to ensure ongoing comfort in the jaw joints, muscles and general posture achieved during phase-one orthotic therapy.