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Advantages of Neuromuscular Orthodontics

April 23rd, 2021

Insufficient jaw development is one of the primary contributors to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Neuromuscular orthodontics can help remodel adult jaw structure and provide growth guidance for children.


Insufficient jaw development is one of the primary contributors to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Neuromuscular orthodontics can help remodel adult jaw structure and provide growth guidance for children.

The Neuromuscular Approach

Neuromuscular orthodontics is about more than straight teeth. Dr. Firouzi's approach to treating the entire face instead of focusing on teeth alone helps build a strong foundation for future dental work and development. This approach integrates:

  • The patient's teeth
  • Condition of the patient's TMJ
  • Space for the tongue to rest comfortably
  • Upper airway
  • Muscles that control posture
  • The function of the jaw and neck

The goal of neuromuscular orthodontics is to create a balanced smile, beautiful, aligned, and in harmony with surrounding structures and systems.

How Is Neuromuscular Orthodontics Used?

Neuromuscular dentistry's primary focus is to diagnose and treat temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). This practice is essential because an unbalanced dental alignment can cause:

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Jaw and tooth pain
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Jaw locking
  • Teeth grinding
  • Sleep apnea

Implementing neuromuscular dentistry techniques helps treat these conditions and prevent existing symptoms from worsening. Additionally, advanced orthodontics can optimize jaw structure and positioning. Restructuring or guiding jaw growth can also yield better cosmetic results.

Better Than Traditional?

Many orthodontists focus primarily on cosmetics, ensuring patients' teeth are straight by fitting them with braces. While this approach can create beautiful smiles for patients and give them the visible result they're looking for, it can fall short of the mark. Straight teeth are a noble goal. Aesthetically speaking, pearly whites lined up neatly look better. What's missing from the equation is all of the other structures that contribute to the problem. If the jaw, for example, is too small or underdeveloped, it can affect the way teeth interact with each other.

Neuromuscular Orthodontics at the Center for Exceptional Dentistry

Don't leave your orthodontic needs to a traditional orthodontist. Dr. Firouzi provides his patients with advanced dentistry knowledge and techniques focused on functionality and beauty. Contact Dr. Firouzi today at (412) 274-1126 or visit our contact page here for a consultation and learn about the benefits of neuromuscular dentistry.

The Dangers of Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea

April 23rd, 2021

According to Columbia University, 90 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea don't know they have it.

Sleep apnea

What Does It Mean to Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea?

Suffering from sleep apnea and not knowing or receiving treatment for it means suffering in silence. Because of the implications of living with sleep apnea, people who have it experience trouble breathing, don't get enough sleep, and risk their lives.

Who Is Most At Risk?

Those most at risk for experiencing sleep apnea typically fall into one or a combination of categories:

  • Excess weight - Obesity greatly increases sleep apnea risk. Fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing and cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
  • Those with a narrowed airway - Some patients are unfortunate enough to have inherited a narrow throat. Additionally, a patient's tonsils or adenoids might become enlarged and block their airway.
  • Men - Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. Women's risk increases if they're overweight or are postmenopausal.
  • Older adults - Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
  • Alcohol or drug users: Depressants relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Smokers - Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than those who don't. Smoking can increase inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
  • People with nasal congestion - If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, either the result of an anatomical problem or allergies, you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

How to Know You Might Have Trouble Sleeping

  • Your partner regularly mentions your habit of snoring
  • Waking up not feeling rested
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Frequently waking up in the middle of the night
  • Waking up choking or gasping for air

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Pittsburgh, PA

If you're wondering whether you're suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea, Dr. Firouzi can provide remarkable treatment plans and help patients experience lasting relief.

Of course, every situation is unique, and what is best in your situation will be discussed in greater detail during your sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Firouzi. Please contact Dr. Firouzi today by calling (412) 274-1126 or visiting our contact page.

What to Do For a Gummy Smile

April 23rd, 2021

You work hard to care for your teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits keep your smile healthy and functional. But sadly, great dental habits and care aren't everything. Cosmetic issues, like a gummy smile, can keep even the most diligent brusher from being satisfied with their smile. In good dentistry, beauty and function should work together.

Patients aren't just looking for a working bite and pain relief, they're looking for an aesthetically pleasing appearance too, and that's the approach Dr. Firouzi implements in his practice.

Gummy smile

How Do You Fix a Gummy Smile?

What's the best way to fix your tooth to gum ratio? The best treatments are those that are patient-focused and specific to their unique case. Depending on the cause of a patient's gummy smile, the necessary treatment may take on numerous shapes. 

Problem-Solution Approach

  • Teeth that aren't fully erupted or jaw's with an irregular shape: Orthodontics is one of the most comprehensive treatment methods in dentistry. With the proper strategy in place, orthodontics can help remodel fully developed jaws, guide growth for developing ones, and promote optimal teeth emergence. 
  • Gum overgrowth: While many individuals with a gummy smile are under the assumption that they have abnormally small teeth, the reality is that this is very rarely the case. Most gummy smiles are the result of overdeveloped gum tissue or gum tissue that has not receded properly. In these cases, gum recontouring is recommended to remove excess tissue.
  • Naturally short teeth: Short teeth can result from grinding (bruxism) or heredity. Two of the most effective treatments for naturally short teeth are porcelain veneers and dental crowns.
  • High smile line: A high smile line is a condition where a person overexposes gum tissue when smiling naturally. This cosmetic inconvenience can be treated with injections to the gum tissue to relax the muscles of the upper lip, helping prevent as much pulling up, which results in a more balanced smile.

Say Goodbye to Gummy Smiles!

Gum recontouring gives patients a chance to enhance their smiles with a safe, pain-free treatment plan. Dr. Firouzi uses a Hoya Con Bio laser to remove excess gum tissue and unveil his patient's beautiful smiles.

Cosmetic dentistry is so much more than vanity. Improvements to your appearance can make you more confident and comfortable smiling, leading to a potential for more happiness overall. To learn what steps you can take for a better smile, schedule a consultation with Dr. Firouzi today. Call (412) 274-1126 or visit our website here for the next steps.

5 At Home Remedies for TMJ Pain

April 23rd, 2021

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. The TMJ sits at the intersection of several routine motions and activities, making a disruption in function at this joint potentially critical. A disorder of the TMJ is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).


What Causes TMJ Disorder?

A few factors can contribute to TMJ disorders. Health care professionals and patients alike can find diagnosis and subsequent treatment challenging for this reason. 

  • Genetics
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Behavior

If you're struggling with jaw pain, migraines, or sleep apnea, you're likely looking for ways to help ease symptoms. We've compiled a list of 5 self-care practices for living with TMJ.

Self-Care for TMJ 

  • Moist heat: Dull, steady aches (rather than sharp pains) benefit from moist heat compresses. This strategy treats dull aches by increasing blood circulation to the area.
  • Cold packs: For sharp pain, apply cold packs to the affected area. Cold packs can decrease inflammation, numb pain, and promote healing.
  • Eat soft foods: Eating soft or blended foods can help give your jaw and surrounding muscles a rest. Smaller bites may also help by reducing the amount of chewing necessary.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements: For the same reasons people with TMJ should gravitate toward soft foods, they should also avoid extensive jaw movements when possible. Things like yawning, singing loudly, and chewing gum cause added stress on the jaw, exacerbating symptoms.
  • Practice stress-reducing techniques: Stress can cause muscles to tense, jaws to clench, and "tics" like lip or cheek chewing. Some patients have found relief in meditation, prayer, and exercise. 
  • Try gentle jaw stretches and exercises: Like exercising before a workout to prepare your muscles, gentle stretches may help improve your jaw's range of motion, prevent injury, and decrease muscle stiffness. 

Before incorporating any of these DIY TMJ practices into your daily routine, please consult with Dr. Firouzi to determine which approaches are most suitable for you.

Treating TMJ in Pittsburgh, PA

TMJ treatment requires a multi-faceted approach to remedy the broad spectrum of symptoms it entails. Dr. Firouzi of the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in cosmetic and neuromuscular dentistry. For more information about TMJ relief, call (412) 274-1126 today or visit our website here.