[caption id="attachment_1606" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Image via Shutterstock ID 198052919[/caption] Chewing and eating are actions that our body is able to complete almost automatically. When you eat you don’t have to stop and think to open your mouth and then close it, and then to continue to chew, and we certainly don’t usually think about which side of our mouth to chew on. Researchers say that picking a preferred chewing side may have to do with pain. How Chewing Works Eating food doesn’t require much concentration and subconsciously the tongue generally moves the food to one side of the mouth or the other. The jaw joint is made up of a right and left temporomandibular joint that both support and guide the mandible when you chew. Generally the TMJ on the opposite side of the dominant chewing side is the joint that receives the larger amount of stress and tension. For example, food chewed on the left TMJ will put the right TMJ under the most stress and vice versa. According to the NIDCR, more than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder and have a problem with one of their temporomandibular joints. In many cases the disc is somewhat out of place and, surprisingly, people tend to unconsciously chew food on the same side of the problem TMJ because the stress is actually lower on the chewing side than the other. At the same time, continuous chewing, especially of hard foods, can weaken and further aggravate an already imbalanced or misaligned TMJ. If you suffer from symptoms related to TMJ disorder, the cause may be an imbalanced bite that can be fixed with the help of an experienced Nashville TMJ dentist. Contact Dr. Clark's office online or call Downtown Dental at 615-254-1393 to learn more about TMJ disorder and the treatments available to you.
When teeth and jaw are improperly aligned, it can cause straining of the muscles that support the face, neck and back. It is this muscle imbalance that causes much of the pain associated with TMJ disorders. In most cases, TMJ disorders stem from a condition called malocclusion, which means having a “bad bite”, or from accidents and trauma. Malocclusion means that your upper and lower teeth do not close together in the correct way—they are misaligned. As a qualified neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Clark can follow up on any TMD diagnosis and give you customized TMD treatment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrEeopiE6aQ
There is a genetic code that determines your eye color, tooth size, and a lot of other information about how your face should look. However, not all faces develop in the same way, and there are key external factors that make a face both structurally sound and aesthetically balanced. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnJjvjgyDfU
Physiologic dentistry is a comprehensive view of oral health, balance, and beauty: it's making sure that the shape and position of the teeth and jaw support natural pain-free function. The teeth, jaw joint, and the muscles that support them must all be balanced or the system will break down over time. Symptoms of an unbalanced bite show up in many ways:
- clenching and grinding
- TMJ/TMD symptoms
- vertigo/motion sickness
- airway obstructions
- gum recession
- chipped and broken teeth
- many more!
Nearly everyone on occasion experiences a throbbing headache that interferes with concentration at work or school, or saps the joy from the day. But sometimes the source of that headache can be surprising. For many people, the pain that emanates from the head can be traced back to their teeth, their bite relationship and the alignment of the lower jaw. With many headaches, the cause could be the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ: the place at the front of the ear where the lower jaw and the temporal bone on the side of the head meet. Sometimes the bite and the lower jaw are out of alignment, putting additional strain on muscles, which leads to the headaches. And for many, TMJ headaches aren’t going away because people try to mask the pain with medication rather than correct the underlying cause. But how do you know a headache is caused by TMJ? Here are a few things to watch:
- Your bite feels off. The TMJ’s position is dictated by where our teeth come together in our bite. So if your bite feels off or your teeth don’t fit together well, there’s a good chance your TMJ joints are off, too.
- You have pain around your forehead, temples, back of head or radiating down your neck. Ninety percent of pain comes from muscle: if your muscles are not functioning well because of fatigue from supporting one or both of your TMJ joints in an improper position, they produce pain. It’s much like when you exercise or work hard and feel muscle pain later. The only difference is that TMJ is more subtle and chronic.
- You have forward head posture. Our heads are supposed to be centered over our shoulders. If yours is in front of your shoulders when you are upright, you have “forward head posture.” That relates to your bite and your airway. The human head weighs about eight to 10 pounds; the farther forward it is off the center axis, the more strain it places on neck muscles and vertebrae.
- You snore. Snoring is a red flag that respiration during sleep is disturbed, Abeles says. Several factors can lead to snoring, but one of the most important is the position of the lower jaw, he says. If your lower jaw is a little too far back, then the tongue is farther back as well.