We Take Chewing for Granted
Get relief for TMJ Symptoms! We rarely think about our bite, or the temporomandibular joints that make it possible to eat, drink, talk, and breathe. It’s awesome to not have to think about our physiology every minute of the day. How every part of our body works.
The maxilla and mandible are the two bones that make up the jaw. The lower teeth are part of the mandible, while the upper teeth are part of the maxilla. The mandible is a relatively free moving bone that is attached to our head by strong muscles responsible for chewing. The maxilla, however, is part of the skull and does not move independently. In essence, you bring your lower jaw up to your upper jaw to make your teeth come together.
How Your Jaw Works
For many years, dentists viewed the maxilla as stable because of its inability to move independently. Therefore, many dentists adjusted your tooth contact without regard for head position or head tilt. Has your dentist ever put a piece of paper between your teeth to check the contact of a completed filling? Did the dentist have you lying back or sitting up? For many years, and in fact still frequently today, the position of the head isn’t considered when adjusting occlusion (the position your teeth are in when they come together). Even today, many orthodonists do not consider the actual position of the patient’s head relative to gravity prior to placing braces in a patient’s mouth. Luckily, this is slowly changing.
Let’s Check Our Bite Together
Let’s do an experiment together. Tap your teeth together. Now nod your head forward and tap your teeth together. Look up to the sky, repeat… head to one side, repeat, and the other side, repeat. What you’ll notice is that the change in the position of your head directly results in how your teeth touch. You can even try this when you are laying down. Sitting up. Or standing up. Do you notice the difference?
Thankfully, cutting edge dentists, orthodontists, and other dental professionals are beginning to recognize the importance of head position prior to providing treatment and bite adjustments.
Head Tilt Affects Your Bite
Just like socks and shoes work better when they are put on in the right order, there is also an order that works better for integrating care between your upper cervical chiropractor and your dentist.
If you already had braces as a kid, wear a retainer at night now, or had jaw surgery in the past, definitely make an appointment with an upper cervical chiropractor. Getting your neck stable will be critical to stabilizing your jaw and TMJ.
We recommend making an appointment with your dentist, orthodontist, or neuromuscular dentist to ensure that any retainers or appliances are refitted a couple weeks after beginning upper cervical care. After all, the position of your head and neck will have likely shifted. Make sure to get an occlusal tune-up with your dental professional to keep the relationship between your body posture and your bite optimized.
What is TMD
Pain and dysfunction of the jaw is often referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). Unfortunately, the overall prevalence in our society is fairly high, with women being more likely to experience pain associated with this dysfunction. In the United States, TMD was found to occur in 4.6% in the population (6.3% for women and 2.8% for men).
Get Relief for TMJ Symptoms: Dentists and Upper Cervical Care Doctors Work Together
Our office collaborates with dental professionals to make sure you are getting the best care possible. As a patient, you need to be an essential member of your health care team. Learn What Everyone Should Know About TMJ Disorders here.
Gentle Adjustments. Powerful Results.
Gentle NUCCA Chiropractors
Intouch Chiropractic | San Diego, CA