THE CURSE OF A MESSED UP JAW JOINT (“TMJ”) AND ITS CORRECTION
by Dr. Arlo Gordin
Many people suffer from pain that stems from their jaw. Your jaw joint (“TMJ” means “jaw joint”) is one of the most richly supplied with nerve endings in the entire human body. Jaw misalignments and malfunctions can cause a lot of havoc because of all the nerves that can become snarled up there.
Some jaws can’t open fully. That’s frustrating. Others have little jumps and bends and cracking noises when they open and close. Pain can be felt at the jaw itself. Many times pain can be transferred to other areas of the body.
If your jaw misaligns or has motion errors it can create pain and spasm into your jaw muscles, your neck, your shoulder muscles (trapezius), and even into your upper back, middle back and chest. Headaches are a very common symptom too.
The nerves of the jaw and those of the upper neck have a great degree of crossover with each other. This means that jaw problems can create neck problems and vice-versa. Whiplash injuries (from car accidents) can cause a jaw problem, in addition to the pain and malfunction in neck and spinal areas that were traumatized.
Your TMJ also has a disc in it (similar to the discs that are the spacers/shock absorbers between the vertebrae of your spine). Your TMJ discs could become displaced, injured or degenerated.
It is said that 50% of the TMJ problems in the world are caused in dentists’ chairs. Many dentists are willing to work away inside your mouth with it open for many minutes. The jaw muscles can go into a spasm, because they aren’t used to being open that long. It is wise to not let those muscles spasm.
Here is the way I keep my dentist from causing me a TMJ problem: I tell him that when I need to close my mouth for a brief rest, I will raise my index finger. Then he can remove the tools from my mouth, and I will rest a few moments. Then we can re-open and he can start again. This way my muscles won’t spasm, and my jaw won’t get distorted. Try this, and you can prevent some unnecessary TMJ problems.
It is important that when work is done by a dentist in your mouth, your teeth need to hit and close evenly when you are done. The dentist will be trained to have you bite down on some "carbon paper" that marks the high spots so that he may grind them so they are even with the rest of the teeth when you bite. It is my experience that many times the dentist thinks he has completed this essential part of his work for TMJ health when he actually hasn't done so. Move your teeth carefully around in various directions and pay attention to sense carefully if that area still has a "high spot". If so get him to continue correcting until it is truly even. This needs to be done slowly and carefully; it doesn't pay to have the dentist rush and grind off too much. That becomes a harder problem then to fix, so better to go gradually and then finally arrive at getting it perfectly right. Right is when all teeth on both sides (usually the rear ones) are striking/meeting at the same time and are thus at the same height.
To fix TMJ problems, there are Advanced Applied Kinesiology chiropractic procedures. These come from the area known as cranial technique (techniques used to fix the relationship of the bones of the skull, face and jaw). We can do these hands-on techniques in our office. Only a small percentage of chiropractors are trained to do cranial and TMJ procedures.
Sometimes a dental specialist in TMJ problems can be utilized to custom-make a “splint” appliance to wear to help correct the jaw. These splints, when needed, work when used in conjunction with chiropractic TMJ procedures.
Utilizing TMJ Chiropractic, jaw function is often improved dramatically. Jaws can open and close properly. Pain disappears. Muscles feel and work normally. Facial and headache pain clear up. Patients are very thankful who have had bad TMJ problems that have been corrected with Advanced Applied Kinesiology jaw adjustments.
If you or someone you know suffers from TMJ problems, do yourself a great favor and have me take a look to see if my more sophisicated and specialized Advanced Applied Kinesiology adjustments to the jaw joint, its muscles, reflexes and connections are what is really needed. That spells correction and RELIEF!