A guide to neuromuscular dentistry in Chesterland, OH: relieve TMJ pain, symptoms rooted in misalignment

First-class dentistry is available at the neighborhood office of Chesterland Family Dental Care. Led by Dr. Brianne (“Dr. Bri”) Fratantonio, our practice provides neuromuscular dentistry to patients in Chesterland, OH, and the surrounding area, including Hunting Valley, Gates Mills, Chardon, Munson, Kirtland, Russell, Chagrin Falls, Novelty, and Mayfield. 

Neuromuscular dentistry

Dentist Dr. Bernard Jankelson and muscle physiologist Dr. H. H. Dixon first introduced the term in the 1960s. “Neuromuscular dentistry” accounts for the three dimensions that make up the masticatory (chewing) system: 

  • Teeth
  • Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs)
  • Muscles

“Conventional” dentistry has accounted for two dimensions: the teeth and TMJs. But, without the muscles, this system would be static and unable to function. Throughout the latter part of the 20th and 21st centuries, technological breakthroughs have advanced this approach to dentistry. Notably, technologies were developed to assess and monitor the relationship between the corresponding upper and lower teeth when they touch each other and when at rest or when chewing (occlusal disease). Neuromuscular dentists are also able to monitor muscle activity and correlate muscle activity with the position of the jaw.

Accurate neuromuscular diagnostics, effective treatment

This concept is built partly on the idea that joint and muscle function should be optimized before restoring dental occlusion or the correction of misalignment and bite problems. Healthy bite and alignment should be restored in a way that the muscles don’t have to overcompensate or function in unnatural ways to bring the teeth together properly. This approach supports muscle relaxation, which, in turn, promotes relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorders. These functional disorders arise from imbalances related to the delicate relationship among the skull, jaws, and the muscles and nerves that move the jaw. Symptoms generally include:

  • Pain in various places – the face, jaw, neck, back, and shoulders
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Spasms
  • Jaw locking 
  • Earaches and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Muscle fatigue

Additionally, traumatic occlusion rooted in jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding (bruxism) results in chipped, damaged enamel, and teeth that are forced out of their proper positions. We at Chesterland Family Dental Care understand that relaxed muscles support a healthy bite. In fact, neuromuscular occlusion refers to how the treatment of misalignment and bite issues are coordinated with therapies to promote healthy, relaxed chewing muscles. Our dentists also use the most widely-accepted quantitative assessment to pinpoint the nature of your TMJ symptoms. The TMJ Scale™ is also used to measure how well treatments are working. 

Learn more about Neuromuscular Dentistry and other advanced dental care technologies

Call (440) 491-4001 to schedule an appointment

Some of those treatments include oral appliances such as splints and/or restorations and teeth-shaping to achieve a new, healthy bite position. Generally, neuromuscular dentistry is precise, conservative, multi-disciplinary, and directly aims at the source of symptoms. This advanced approach doesn’t merely provide relief from symptoms such as pain. Benefit from neuromuscular dentistry—Call (440) 491-4001 to schedule your appointment at our office today.

Brianne R. Fratantonio, MA, DMD
Nicholas R. Fratantonio, DDS, FAGD
Daniela Diaz, DMD
Trudy Amstadt, DDS

Brianne R. Fratantonio, MA, DMD, earned her dental degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and her Bachelor of Science and Masters in Biology from John Carroll University. She is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), Ohio Dental Association (ODA), American Academy of Facial Esthetics, Straight Wire Orthodontic Studies, Engel Institute of Dental Implants, and Dental XP Externship. She is passionate about providing general dentistry services and building lasting patient relationships.

Nicholas R. Fratantonio, DDS, FAGD, received his postgraduate training at Case Western Reserve University Dental School. He is a member of the ADA, ODA, Northeast Ohio Dental Society, International Association of Orthodontics, American Orthodontic Society, American Association of Functional Orthodontics, and International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics, a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, and a Past President of the Northeastern Ohio Neuromuscular Study Club.

Daniela Diaz, DMD, earned her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University and took part in an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Internship at MetroHealth Medical Center. She keeps updated with the latest technologies and follows various continuing education courses to expand her skills. Dr. Diaz is a member of the ADA, ODA, American Association for Women Dentists, Hispanic Dental Association, and Greater Cleveland Dental Society (GCDS).

Trudy Amstadt, DDS, is a graduate of the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She has followed advanced courses in cosmetic dentistry, dentures, crowns and bridges, occlusion, and neuromuscular dentistry. She has memberships with the American Dental Society, ODA, GCDS0, and various study clubs.