Several seminar programs are promoting the concept of a very unnatural dental bite dictated by protocols related to a muscle pulsing TENS device. The dentists have been led to believe that the bite represents a position where all the jaw muscles are relaxed. This approach has caused harm to patients seeking help for TMJ problems, cosmetic dentistry, migraines and headaches. What the dentists will not tell you is some authorities are banning the technique and many experts warn dentists to avoid these seminars to reduce their malpractice risk.
The typical 'orthotic scam' goes like this:
1) The patient may find a dentist advertising special skills in treating TMJ problems/migraines. Their bio may list 'prestigious' training at an institute and assorted credentials. These are not recognized by any university.
2) The dentist will perform an examination and bite analysis -often using a TENS unit which may be referred to as a myo-monitor.
3) The electronic unit will pulse the jaw muscles and a bite will be recorded. The dentist will then recommend testing the bite with a removable acrylic appliance referred to as an 'orthotic'. It may be clear plastic or tooth colored. The cost may be $500- $2000.
4) The dentist may recommend wearing the appliance 24 hours a day (as opposed to a bruxism appliance that is typically worn at night to reduce grinding damage).
5) The testing period may be one to three months, but if your condition seems to improve (and sometimes even if it does not) the dentist may want to move to a cemented orthotic or a full mouth of crowns (cost may be $60,000).
6) Once all your teeth are drilled for crowns the enamel is lost forever. The cascade of assorted complications can be significant and over-treatment can lead to premature loss of your teeth. Lawsuits related to this approach are common but many patients find the dental authorities to be of little help.
7) The porcelain crowns made to match an 'orthotic' bite are typically much thicker and longer than normal teeth. The inside joke is victims look like they have 'horse teeth'. To replace a mouth full of crowns is a second insult on your teeth and on your bank account.
If you are being pitched this kind of treatment it is highly recommended that you should consider seeking a second opinion from a prosthodontist/dental pain specialist as soon as possible. BEWARE: The 'neuromuscular dentist' may attempt to encourage you to see a different dentist who uses the same questionable approach.
The 'neuromuscular orthotic' may provide some temporary relief - but according to authorities it is no better than a placebo. This is not designed to be individual advice. Seek the care of a trusted dental professional who does NOT advertise this approach.
SEE IMAGES BELOW- You will see a typical clear acrylic orthotic, the myo-monitor TENS device, a simulated smile ruined by following this approach and an actual victim of 'neuromuscular' dentistry with drilled teeth. Andrea is now an advocate for victims.
ANOTHER APPARENT SCAM used by many fringe dentists in this same club is the 'AGGA' (Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance) which claims to be able to grow the front part of the upper jaw. One reviewer 'hopes' these professionals would NOT promote something that doesn't work but these are the same ones using the 'voodoo' myo-centric bite as a cure for headaches and migraines. Oddly the practitioners CHARGE MORE THAN ORTHODONTIC SPECIALISTS - but are usually general dentists who are infatuated with a particular dental training program that gives them assorted designations that can fool the average patient into believing they offer something better than the standard of care. If a dentist recommends an AGGA it may be wise to consult with a certified orthodontist for a second opinion. Growing adult bones is not nearly as easy as some would have you believe. A photo of an AGGA is shown below - seen with metal with springs.
Simulated crowns made to match the orthotic