The Science Behind the Bite

Much of the process behind jaw function is unseen. Chewing, speaking and yawning are all normal daily routines, but the science behind our jaw movement is truly extraordinary. Neuromuscular dentistry provides diagnosis and treatment for problems arising in this intricate part of our anatomy.


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a delicate, complex joint connecting the jaw to the skull. This hinged joint makes it possible for you to open and close your jaw and move your jaw from side to side. A disc composed of firm, flexible cartilage is positioned in between the bones that form the joint. The TMJ is surrounded by a network of muscles and nerves.


Because of the intricate movements and anatomic connections of muscles and nerves of the TMJ structure, many people experience tenderness, pain, abnormal function or other TMJ symptoms. These conditions are referred to as TMJ disorders, or “TMD.” The symptoms of TMD often arise as a result of:

• A misaligned bite
• Disc erosion
• Disc misalignment
• Damaged cartilage
• Joint damage from injury
• Muscle fatigue from excessive and abnormal muscle use
The disorders associated with the TMJ range in severity. Many of the disorders are treated with dental approaches that focus on bite alignment and prevention of TMJ stress.


To learn more about TMJ and the associated disorders in Phoenix, please contact the experienced Arizona dentists Dr. Scott LeSueur and Dr. Charles Dodaro to schedule a consultation.

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