Dentists in every area of practice deal with occlusion daily. Commonly dentists do not practice with a specific working concept of occlusion. Dental schools traditionally teach static relationships between cusps and fossae and between mandibular condyles and temporomandibular joint fossae. In reality, dental occlusion is a dynamic phenomenon, which involves the teeth, the TMJ joints, the masticatory musculature, cervical spine, cervical musculature and the central nervous system. This latter concept was developed by Dr. Bernard Jankelson in the 1970’s, who coined the term neuromuscular dental occlusion. It incorporates relaxed masticatory musculature with maximum unencumbered intercuspation of the teeth. Dr. Jankelson was responsible for the creation of devices to relax masticatory muscles and to record and analyze mandibular movements, masticatory muscle function and TMJ joint sounds.
The neuromuscular concepts are applicable in restorative dentistry when full occlusion is being created with complete dentures or full mouth crown and bridge restorations. It also can be involved in orthodontic, periodontic treatment, dental implants as well as in orthognathic surgery. Neuromuscular dental treatment has been shown to provide valuable, effective initial and long term treatment for patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders.