Connecting the dots . . .
A misaligned jaw can affect your entire body or a specific part of it.
The slightest imbalance in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) could result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, premature wearing of your teeth, poor body posture, decreased strength and flexibility, compromised breathing airways, muscles tenderness and many, many more symptoms.
Finding the best position for your jaw is critical to the rest of your body working properly. It all starts with a good bite and its all part of what Dr. Westman refers to as the Neuromuscular Sextad.
Let’s explain . . .
An unbalanced jaw joint (Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ) ultimately influences your spine, your bite, your airway, your muscles and your nerves. The basic principles of neuromuscular dentistry state that a “good” bite is achieved when the muscles of the face, jaw and neck are allowed to be at their most efficient state, which is a restful state.
When that happens, there is an immediate improvement in your posture, your airway, your resting muscle activity, and your range of motion, flexibility, balance and strength. You can exert more power, improve your stamina, exhibit more concentration and mental awareness and overall, feel healthier, more exuberant and alive.
When you don’t have a balanced bite, the negative ripple effects make their way down your entire body:
Your tongue is attached to your lower jaw and when your bite is un-aligned your tongue acts as a pillow. It cushions the jaw and helps it to relax. An imbalance in your bite affects the size of your mouth and the altered size of your mouth no longer accommodates your tongue. Your tongue can’t sit where it should. If your tongue rests too far back in your mouth, it will block the air getting to your lungs.
Bite / Teeth
An unaligned jaw joint will begin to show wear and tear on your teeth and your bite. By moving to where the jaw muscles are more balanced, your teeth are basically ‘in the way’. They then begin to grind down against one another and you end up with shortened teeth, gum recession and/or a collapsed lower third of your face.
An improper bite will lead to muscle imbalance. When your teeth are misaligned, they cannot provide enough muscle support in your face needed for chewing and swallowing. These muscles are then forced into a strained position which translates in discomfort throughout the face, head, arms, shoulders and back. ?The over-worked muscles can result in muscles stiffness and soreness that will materialize in the form of migraines, headaches, earaches, muscles tenderness, facial discomfort, a sore jaw and a multitude of other symptoms.
The muscles and the nerves in the jaw and face are extremely complex and intricately connected. Therefore, when your bite is unaligned, the nerves and muscles are also affected. This misalignment can result in the muscles throughout your face, jaw, neck and shoulders going into spasms. The spasms then pinch the nerves that lead down your arms. The result of all of this? A feeling of numbness and tingling in your arms, fingers and hands.
There is a close relationship between your bite and the posture of your head and that of your entire body. If you have a bad bite or if your jaws don’t close properly (i.e. – your upper front teeth over-bite your lower bottom teeth), there is an immediate and direct effect on your head posture, causing neck strain and postural issues. If you are missing teeth, this postural strain becomes an even greater issue. Then, the muscles of your back and your neck – which in effect are your spine and its alignment – are impacted and greatly affected by an unbalanced jaw.
Simply put: a bad bite can cause a lot of trouble
Every part and every function of the human body is intimately and intrinsically associated with one another. When one function isn’t performing properly, it hinders all the rest.
A poorly aligned jaw can cause a number of physical and cosmetic changes to your teeth, your face and your posture. It can affect your ability to properly breathe and it can increase sensitivity and tenderness in your muscles, additionally impacting your nerves. The body depends on all of its parts to interact in unison. And it all starts at the top.
Yourjaw joint alignment is critical to your overall health and wellness. If you are experiencing these problems, Dr. Westman can help; we offer various treatments for TMJ.