825 S Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045

Why see a Neuromuscular Dentist

Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

If you have temporomandibular joint disorder, seeking the care of a medical professional is crucial to finding lasting pain relief. However, not every dentist in Lake Forest is qualified to treat this ailment. In fact, diagnosing TMJ disorder is one of the greatest challenges in medical science because its symptoms correlate with other medical conditions.
tmj symptoms

Our Lake Forest area neuromuscular dentists have specialized training to meet this challenge. Lake Forest Smiles is proud to offer neuromuscular dentistry as part of our overall program of care, helping TMJ patients find the lasting relief they deserve.

Here is some information about neuromuscular dentistry, and how Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt possess these special skills to help patients who suffer from chronic headaches, jaw joint pain, and TMJ disorder.

What is neuromuscular dentistry?

Neuromuscular dentists are the most qualified medical professionals to diagnose and treat TMJ disorder.
A neuromuscular dentist provides treatment to correct alignment issues with the bite and/or jaw. By restoring the bite to the ideal alignment, it eases jaw joint tension, reduces inflammation, and relieves pain and headaches. As an airway-focused dental practice, one of the things we take very seriously is the interaction between the various muscles, bones, and joints to create an ideal function. Neuromuscular dentistry is a treatment philosophy that closely aligns with airway-focused dentistry with the goal of achieving optimal comfort and function of the orofacial systems. Neuromuscular dentistry is used in treating a number of common oral and overall health concerns, including TMJ dysfunction and chronic headaches. Contact our team to find out more or schedule an appointment today.

Dentists that pursue this specialty go through significant post-graduate education. In addition to going through dental school and gaining an understanding of all of the techniques and procedures entailed in general dentistry, a trained neuromuscular dentist gains the knowledge to treat the entire system of hard and soft tissues of the mouth, head, and neck—including the jawbone and temporomandibular joint. When your jaw is misaligned, or your temporomandibular joint enters a state of dysfunction, a neuromuscular dentist can perform an evaluation for signs of damage, or misalignment and develop a treatment plan to get you out of pain.


As part of their post-graduate training, neuromuscular dentists become adept at using special state-of-the-art technologies to help in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorder.

As part of our overall commitment to providing leading edge comfortable care, Lake Forest Smiles uses the following technologies:

K-7: This is a state-of-the-art diagnostic system consisting of several key components. Our trained neuromuscular dentists determine if jaw muscles have endured inordinate stress and strain through electromyography. This technology records the electrical impulses naturally emitted from the jaw. Electrosonography identifies what sounds, if any, are coming from the jaw as they perform their normal movements. If pops, clicks, or grinding sounds are detected, these all can be evidence that TMJ dysfunction is likely. The K-7 measures the speed and movement of the jaws as they open and close. Then, using all this information, a computerized mandibular scanner produces images depicting the ideal alignment of the bite and jaw.

TENS: An abbreviation for transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation, this treatment is used throughout the medical world to relax muscles through a series of low-frequency electrical impulses. In neuromuscular dentistry, a TENS unit can be applied to the muscles of the jaw, head, or neck—all of which can become aggravated when a person suffers from TMJ disorder. This becomes quite a convenient tool to help TMJ patients find initial relief. An experienced neuromuscular dentist also can use TENS technology to stimulate muscle contraction, and determining the ideal resting position for the jaw.

Know the Signs of TMJ Disorder

The following issues could be evidence that you are currently suffering from TMJ disorder

  • Persistent ringing in the ears
  • Migraine headaches, which do not respond to standard treatments for migraines
  • Jaw pain when chewing
  • Hearing a popping or clicking sound when your jaws open and close
  • Pain in your neck and back, which has been difficult to find treatment for from your general physician or chiropractor

One of the most common misdiagnoses related to TMJ disorder are chronic headaches of migraine-like intensity, but that does not respond well to traditional treatments. If you would like to learn more about TMJ headaches or how TMJ headaches differ from migraines, schedule a consultation with Lake Forest Smiles.

Why Treatment is Important

If you suffer from TMJ disorder, you cannot merely “tough it out” or hope that the condition goes away. In fact, failure to seek diagnosis and treatment only will exacerbate the issue. While the symptoms of this disorder can vary significantly from person to person, TMJ frequently causes pain—often of chronic and severe varieties, bad enough to impede your ability to function on a daily basis and complete regular tasks. Eventually, TMJ will continue to create problems throughout your body. The dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint could eventually spread from the jaw joints to the adjacent musculature, blood vessels, and nerves, and begin impacting the face, neck, and even the spine.

Neuromuscular Dentistry in Lake Forest

To learn more about how we use neuromuscular dentistry to diagnose and treat TMJ, please contact Lake Forest Smiles by calling (847) 234-4800. Drs. Campbell and Schmidt have been providing elite dental care to the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire for more than 30 years. We welcome you to our practice.

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