A San Francisco neuromuscular dentist has a deep understanding of how the relationship between the muscles and the nerves results in the movement and function of the mouth. By realigning the jaw and correcting the bite, a neuromuscular dentist can often eliminate head, face and neck pain as experienced with neuromuscular syndromes such as TMJ/TMD.
Symptoms of TMJ/TMD
TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), also referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), is a chronic degenerative disease that often takes years to develop to the point where the patient starts to feel symptoms. Millions of people in the United States have TMJ and have lived for years with a lack of alignment of their jaw. This misalignment causes a bad bite.
Some of the symptoms of TMJ/TMD include:
- Facial pain
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Jaw pain
- Limited jaw movement
Relief from TMJ through Neuromuscular Dentistry
A neuromuscular dentist understands the interrelationship between the hard and soft tissues. He or she also has had advanced training on how the powerful muscles and the movement-controlling nerves create the movement, pressures and functions of the mouth.The neuromuscular dentist uses complex computer systems to measure the patient's jaw movements and to track muscle activities. The dentist needs to establish the correct relationship between the jaw and the head to achieve the correct bite position.
Once the correct bite position is established, the dentist will often use hand-crafted orthotics to slowly move the jaw back into its optimal position. This realignment of the jaw will often relieve the symptoms that come with TMJ.
Cost of Neuromuscular Dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry is not inexpensive, but it is usually covered completely or in part by most dental insurance plans. Treatment by a San Francisco neuromuscular dentist can range from upwards of $3,000, depending on the exact type of treatment required and the complexity of the case. Some patients only require four to six months of treatment to solve their problem. Other patients may require a year of more of treatments, significantly increasing the treatment cost.
Finding a Neuromuscular Dentist
Neuromuscular dentistry is a very specialized field which requires advanced education by the dentist and a variety of hardware and software diagnostic tools. These two factors cause the number of neuromuscular dentists to be significantly less than the number of dentists providing other types of technology-based dentistry such as laser dentistry or more generalized dental procedures such as drilling, filling and cleaning.
San Francisco Neuromuscular Dentists
A large city such as San Francisco has many dentists who provide a wide variety of dental services. The number of dentists providing neuromuscular dentistry is limited, with many of the dentists practicing outside of the city itself and instead, establishing their practices in Oakland, on the Peninsula and in the North Bay.
Here are a few of the neuromuscular dentists in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- Joshua B. Bernstein, DDS - 1375 Grand Avenue, Suite 201, Corner of Grand and Linda, Piedmont 510-601-SMILE. Clinical Instructor on the faculty of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Nominated by his peers as one of "America's Top Dentists." Office tour. Near the AC Transit 12, 11 and P bus lines.
- Jean E. Barthman, DDS - 801 Brewster Avenue, Suite 255, Redwood City 650-241-0477. Member of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Six blocks from the Redwood City Caltrain station.
- James Klim, DDS - 2755 Mendocino Avenue, Suite 204, Santa Rosa 707-544-7645. Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Former Clinical Instructor, Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Training. Parking lot behind the building. From San Francisco, take Golden Gate Transit and transfer in Santa Rosa to the Santa Rosa Citibus.
- Bradley D. Shepard, DDS - 22 Battery Street, Suite 910, In the Financial District at the corner of Battery and Market, San Francisco 415-982-4277. On the BART and MUNI lines.
- University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry, Student Dental Clinic - 707 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco 415-476-1891. Five blocks from the Judah and 9th Avenue MUNI station.
Prescreening a Prospective New Dentist
Call the office of the prospective dentist. Tell the receptionist that you are looking for a neuromuscular dentist. Then, ask the receptionist:
- About how many neuromuscular dentistry patients does the dentist see every month?
- Where did the dentist receive his/her neuromuscular education?
- Can the dentist provide references of other neuromuscular patients?
- How long would it take for you to get an initial appointment? How much would it cost?
- Does the dentist accept your dental insurance plan? If not, does the dentist have a policy on extended payments?