Dr. Ami Barakat uses the principles of Physiologic Dentistry when addressing the oral health and orthodontic needs of our patients. Physiologic dentistry goes beyond the appearance of the teeth, taking into account how the entire oral system is working, seeking to identify any disharmony or imbalance in the function of the teeth, gums and jaw joints. The goal of this comprehensive approach to the masticatory system is to provide an end result that is not only lasting but supports the overall physical well-being of the patient.
What Is Physiologic Dentistry?
The study and implementation of physiologic dentistry focus on the patient as a whole, looking at how the masticatory system is functioning and how it relates to the body. It is becoming increasingly clear that the function or dysfunction of the bite can impact or be impacted by overall musculoskeletal function throughout the body.
In other words, a bite problem can be related to tooth position as well as the nerve and muscle function in the head, neck, and body. For a dental or orthodontic treatment to be effective for the long-term, these factors need to be taken into consideration in evaluation and treatment planning. Dr. Barakat uses the principles of physiologic dentistry when diagnosing a patient with concerns about the appearance or the comfort of their bite. A comprehensive exam will cover a wide range of factors, including:
- Tooth position and condition
- Bite alignment
- Jaw joint function and comfort
- Posture of the head and shoulders when sitting
Dr. Barakat will also discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, such as jaw pain or headaches and discomfort in the head, neck, shoulders, and back. These are common signs of an underlying problem that is related to the function of the bite. The goal of treatment using the physiologic approach is to restore harmony to all aspects of the masticatory system, which includes the teeth, gums and jaw joints.
Airway Health: The Foundation of A Healthy Smile
Breathing function also plays a key role in the early development of a child’s oral structure and the stability of the adult bite. A patient who is a “mouth-breather” is more prone to TMJ related disorders, sleep disordered-breathing and other dental problems that ultimately impact the jaw structure and the function of the bite. Airway health is an important element of both oral and overall health and wellness and a part of the physiologic approach to your dental care.
By addressing breathing problems, TMJ dysfunction and muscle tension in the jaw, Dr. Barakat can also help patients achieve a straighter smile. Orthodontic treatment with a physiologic approach can provide a comprehensive solution to both developmental concerns in children and complex bite problems in adults.
Technology: The Key to A Physiologic Approach
Dr. Barakat incorporates advanced technology that is designed to evaluate neuromuscular activity in the jaw joints and neck area.
- EMG: electromyography can record muscle activity as a patient moves the jaw and pinpoint areas where there is friction or tension. This is extremely beneficial when diagnosing and treating patients with a TMJ related disorder and provides a foundation on which to build for improving jaw function through effective treatment.
- TENS: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can be used on areas of pain and tension to manage symptoms and potentially reduce discomfort. Dr. Barakat offers experienced care using TENS to treat TMJ related disorders and other problems related to muscle tension or nerve pain in an around the jaw joint area.
How Can Physiologic Dentistry Help?
The comprehensive, whole-body approach that drives Physiologic Dentistry continues to evolve as the science surrounding it develops. In some ways, it is almost “common sense” that the body functions in a highly connected manner and that dysfunction or imbalance in one area can impact the rest of the body and how a patient feels or functions. When there is tension or damage to nerves surrounding the oral system, there is a connection to the muscles and tissues in the head, face, neck, back, and shoulders- which in turn connect to the rest of the body.
Helping patients identify where their discomfort or dysfunction in the bite is coming from is the first step in diagnosing and treating with an accurate result. Incorporating technology to fully evaluate where adjustments need to be made enables Dr. Barakat to provide effective treatment using a range of options, from mouth guards to restorative dentistry.