In Depth

Your Smile, Your Life ™

How Our Neuromuscular Dentist Can Help

"Always trust the professionalism of all employees! I was able to be seen at the last moment today with an inflamed gum. X-ray and exam were done and I was put at ease. When I began my work with Dr. Rye's office several years ago I told them we would be best friends! Well it feels like that whenever I am there. Highly recommend this practice for all dental needs!!!! Dr. Rye even lectures to dental students on the newest treatments in his field."


TMJ-related problems are typically caused by an improper bite (occlusion), which puts excess strain on the muscles of the face and joints in the jaw. A traditional dentist is primarily concerned with how the teeth fit together. However, the bite is affected not only by the teeth, but also by the facial muscles and temporomandibular joints. A neuromuscular dentist takes into account all three of these elements – the joints, muscles, and teeth – and, through treatment, seeks to bring them into a harmonious relationship for a correct bite. As an experienced neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Rye uses many methods to help ease the symptoms of TMD, beginning with the proper diagnosis.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

Dr. Rye employs Neuromuscular Dentistry and a variety of non-invasive electronic instruments to evaluate his patients’ bites and determine if the bite is the cause of any pain. Dr. Rye uses a computerized bite analysis to evaluate how the teeth, muscles, and joints work together in a patient’s mouth, and how to treat any problems she or he may be experiencing. By using a computer to analyze bite, Dr. Rye can create a highly accurate digitalized tracing of your jaw movements to help explain the causes of your problem.

Some patients may wear a dental orthosis – a custom-made plastic appliance that fits over the natural teeth to help maintain a proper bite – to help Dr. Rye determine whether or not TMD is the cause of their pain. If the symptoms decrease after wearing the orthosis for a specific amount of time, then the bite is most likely the cause of the problems. Dr. Rye will then create a Personalized Dental Plan to permanently reposition and correct your bite, which will alleviate your TMJ symptoms.

Having TMD properly diagnosed by a neuromuscular dentist or TMJ specialist is critical for patients to receive proper care. Contact Rye Smiles for Life in Fairfax to schedule a TMJ consultation and learn more about the problems caused by an incorrect bite.

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