Why So Many Suffer From TMJ Symptoms
So why do so many people suffer from the symptoms of TMJ disorders? Today, research shows that the most common cause is airway obstruction in infancy and childhood. Primitive civilizations, such as those studied by Dr. Weston Price show that in a generation of exposure to Western culture, children of these primitive cultures develop changes in the formation of their jaws and the consequent exclusions (bad stings). Hand in hand with these changes are changes in the development of the nose, sinuses, tongue, back of the neck, as well as the muscles running throughout the head and neck.
So how does this affect us in today’s society? Today, the vast majority of people have bad bites or poor protection of some kind. Most often these dysfunctions are blamed for heredity, but in reality they are the result of allergies and airway obstruction as a child. There are many signs of a bad bite, such as, full teeth, deep overbites, underbites, bumps on the jaw next to the tongue, grinding of the teeth and much more. While the majority of people have a bad bite or blockage, only half suffer from painful symptoms and related conditions associated with their poor bite. The other half are predisposed to future issues and the development of painful symptoms that can be caused by accidents or injuries, continuous teeth grinding and good dental procedures, including orthodontics.
These malfunctions or poor stings that people today actually have their beginning before their first tooth erupts. The most common cause of these disorders is airway obstruction as an infant. Early in an infant’s life they are exposed to many things that cause allergies and affect the development of the mouth, jaw and tongue. Some of the most common food allergies are cow’s milk, chocolate, cola and wheat. Air pollution, infant formula, cow’s milk, pet food, to name a few, cause mucus to build up in a child’s nose and vagina. Bacteria are trapped in the mucosa and grow adenoids to work overtime to fight infection. As the tonsils and adenoids increase in size and swell, it becomes more difficult for the child to breathe through his nose. In order to survive and provide the body with enough oxygen for the infant / toddler to thrive, mouth breathing is performed. A precious baby who sleeps but develops a serious mouth breathing habit.
In order to facilitate effective breathing through the open mouth, the natural position of the tongue must be changed. Instead of being placed on the roof of the mouth forming a wide dental arch, wide roof of the mouth and floor of the nose, the tongue tends to fall into an uneven position to allow more air to pass into the airway. Because the tongue is not in the correct position to support a wide upper arch, the constant unwanted pressure on the cheek muscles compresses and restricts the developing arch. When the teeth finally erupt in this narrow arch there is not enough space and the result is full of teeth. If the arches are narrow, there may not be enough space for the tongue between the upper and lower teeth causing the tongue to be above the back teeth of the lower back so that they do not erupt completely. Preventing the tongue from erupting completely from the lower back teeth leads to excessive biting, as well as forcing the jaw to squeeze back the compression of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ).
It is important to note that the roof of the mouth is also the floor of the nose and nasal passages. As a narrow raised roof of the mouth (palate) develops, it invades and reduces the size of the nasal passages. As the floor of the nasal passages is pushed upwards, it also jeopardizes a person’s ability to breathe through their nose, making their dependence on mouth breathing more severe.
The majority of adults with TMJ pain and related symptoms such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, ear congestion and tinnitus show signs of airway obstruction and possibly a respiratory disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. The resulting narrow upper and lower arch formation leads to a lack of anterior and maxillary growth and / or posterior mandibular regression. If the lower jaw is sucked into the tmj, it can compress the joint along with the relevant structures and muscles in the area. Squeezing the lower jaw into the tmj can cause the joint disc to “pop and erase” the head of the tmj tuber. Opening and disabling the disc creates the click and pop-up sounds that so many people have. Each time the joint makes a noise, an additional joint injury occurs.
Having compressed jaw joints and a retracted lower jaw puts a lot of pressure on the muscles of the head and neck. Janet Travell, a prominent physician and researcher, found that 90% of pain is muscular in nature. Having shrunk the jaw muscles for years, supporting a retracted lower jaw and compressed joint, lead to muscle spasms that cause migraines, headaches, ear pain and many other related symptoms. Anterior head posture (FHP) can also develop as a result of a receding mandible. It is easier to bring your back teeth together with a head posture in front than when standing in a military style posture with the ears in the center of the shoulders. The average head weighs about 12 pounds. Imagine the strain on the neck and shoulder muscles having a 12 lb bowling ball suspended in front of the spine instead of resting directly on top of the spine. FHP muscle strain can be quite painful in the neck and shoulder muscles. The effects of FHP are visible not only on the cervical vertebrae but on the entire spine.
Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction come in many forms such as migraines, headaches, dizziness, ear congestion, and neck and shoulder pain. Each of these symptoms can be found in the relationship between the bones of the facial cranial complex (bones of the head and face) and the muscles that surround the skull. The growth and development of the head is affected by many things in childhood and childhood. A child can spend days without food and water, but only a few minutes without oxygen. A child’s oxygen dependence encourages the body to grow and develop while adapting to an environment rich in allergies to ensure an abundant supply of essential oxygen. Unfortunately, our body’s ability to adapt can lead to a variety of TMJ symptoms as a teenager or adult. Fortunately, the development of Normal Neuromuscular Dentistry techniques can alleviate the lifespan of these TMJ symptoms.
Find out how our Dr. Joseph J. Henry, DDS can help you by calling (714) 385-1672 or by filling out the form on this page at arrange your initial consultation. The Orange Center for Cosmetic Dentistry serves patients in and around Orange County, such as Anaheim, Fullerton, Orange and more.