Human muscles during resting modes are either in a hyperactive state, physiologist resting state or a fatigued (hypo active) state. Physiologic muscle measurements can be used to quantify these various muscle conditions of our TMD patients objectively using accurate measurements and modalities that can dynamically assess muscle conditions that go beyond subjective muscle palpation evaluation that all dentist were taught in dental schools.
Today, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and ADA (American Dental Association) has recognized and accepted the science and validity of electro-diagnostic instrumentation as acceptable aids in the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Further surface electromyography (EMGs) are tests used in dentistry to evaluate and record the electrical activity produced by the masticatory muscles (dynamic) of these various physiologic states of the head (masticatory muscles) and neck regions. Dentists can use electromyography to detect the electrical potential neurologically generated by action potentials within a skeletal muscles (such as temporalis anterior, masseter, cervical muscles as well as suprahyoid/digrastic, for example). These signals can be analyzed to detect dental abnormalities, activation levels at rest, or recruitment levels during function in order or to analyze the quality of the biomechanics of movement and resting modes the jaw system.
I use the EMGs clinically in my practice to more accurately assess my TMD patients conditions before treatment as well as after muscle relaxation therapy or any treatment involving changes in mandibular positioning, joint positioning or occlusal changes. By knowing whether various muscle groups respond by either increasing in the EMG activity or by decreasing in muscle activity allows me to better understand, identifying and detecting diagnostically neuro-muscular diseases as well as helps me determine the effectiveness of my treatment. EMGs are used as a research tool with various Universities around the world in the study of kinesiology, and disorders of motor control. It is a powerful tool in the hands of skilled and trained clinicians. It can be used in conjunction with jaw tracking technology to locate and idealized a mandibular position to “physiologic” parameters.
Cursory muscle palpation examination done by any dental examiner is based on his/her subjective understanding and the patients responses. EMG recordings bring an objectivity to this muscle assessment beyond a patient’s complaint. EMGs do not measure or record levels of pain. EMG recordings used by dentists record muscle activity, like EKGs are used in the medical community to measure heart muscle activity.