Las Vegas is not only home to casinos, bright lights and good times. It is also the location of the world’s leading dentistry school for post-graduate training. The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) was founded in 1995 to provide dentists from around the world training in both neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry. Since its inception, more than 3,000 dentists have trained at LVI to provide their patients with the most comprehensive and up-to-date cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Neuromuscular dentistry is one type of dentistry that is taught at LVI. This branch of dentistry concentrates on identifying how well the lower and upper jaws fit together and open/close and correcting any problems that exist. It is the jaw joint (called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ) that allows a person to effectively use the mouth for actions such as eating, talking and yawning. When this jaw joint becomes misaligned, the person can suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. It is common for laypeople to call any jaw joint disorder TMD or TMJ.
What can TMD lead to?
The effects of TMD can happen slowly over time, and many people are completely unaware that a misaligned jaw joint is the root cause of other physical problems. The symptoms of TMD can be mild to severe and occur daily or sporadically, depending on environmental triggers. TMD can lead to:
- Headaches or migraines
- Pains, aches, pressure, soreness or stiffness in the face, jaw, neck or shoulder
- Jaw locking, popping or clicking
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Dental work problems
How does LVI teach dentists to treat TMD?
LVI gives dentists the knowledge and power to treat the patient as a whole, taking a proactive approach to helping rectify dental problems before they become debilitating. During the course of intensive TMD training at LVI, dentists learn the reasons why patients encounter such issues as:
- Joint soreness or clicking
- Connective tissue damage
- Disk displacement
- Teeth sensitivity
- Loose or worn teeth
Every patient will have a unique set of circumstances that brings him or her into the neuromuscular dentist’s chair. Those trained at LVI will have the ability to properly diagnose the symptoms and implement the correct treatment procedures. The goal is to identify the patient’s relaxed jaw position and restore the proper bite through manipulation of the jaw joints, nerves and muscles.
Neuromuscular dentists utilize a variety of state-of-the-art computerized technology to achieve the proper bite, instruments such as electromyography, sonography, Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (TENS) and even X-rays. LVI-trained neuromuscular dentists may implement a temporary orthotic, surgery or other dental procedures to achieve an aligned and aesthetically-pleasing smile.
If you have been experiencing painful symptoms and feel that TMD could be the cause of your pain, a neuromuscular dentist may be able to provide relief. Look for an LVI/TMD-trained dentist for the best results.