T.M.J. Dysfunction “An Ounce of Prevention”

The letters “TMJ” conjure up all sorts of ideas and opinions among both the lay public and dental and medical
personnel. The reason for that is what I often refer to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) as “the mysterious joint.

It is the only joint of its kind in the human body. The type of joint it represents is a ginglymo-arthrodial
joint. A ginglymus joint is a hinge-joint and an arthrodia joint is a gliding joint.

The TMJ is the only joint that both hinges and glides. So from a purely anatomical perspective, the TMJ is a very complex joint. And that is only the beginning of its complexity.
There are 68 pairs of muscles that either directly or indirectly affect the position of the jaws. Together, those 136 muscles determine head, cervical, shoulder, and jaw position.

Using a background in physics and engineering, Dr. Casey Gusay determined that the muscle controlled “pivotal axis” of the lower jaw occurred at the dens between C1 (the atlas or first cervical vertebrae) and C2 (the axis or second cervical vertebrae). Therefore, TMJ dysfunction and dental malocclusion causes a disturbing posturing of C1 and C2. This malposturing of C1 and C2 torques the “dura mater” which is attached to them.

The dura mater is a thick and dense inelastic membrane that envelops the brain and the spinal cord. Torquing of the dura can cause scoliosis, cervical hypolordosis (military neck), thoracic  hyperkyphosis (hump back), excessive lumbar lordosis (sway back), rotation of the pelvis resulting in uneven leg length, uneven shoulder height and quite possibly head tilt. When those 136 muscles are allowed to assume a more physiologically balanced relationship (by correcting the malocclusion, the jaw position, and the vertical dimension) the head assumes a more upright posture, the shoulders level off, the pelvic rotation relaxes allowing the leg length
to equalize, and the overall body posture tends to normalize.
Adding yet more complexity to the TMJ is the fact that 92% of all the nerves that enter and exit the skull come in direct contact with either the sphenoid bone or the temporal bones, which coincidentally happen to be the two bones that are most influenced by the position of the jaws. If those bones are in a strained position due to jaw position, some of those nerves could be irritated and/or stimulated causing symptoms that would not seem directly related to the TMJ. That is exactly what happens.

Almost a half-century ago, two scientists named Penfield and Rasmussen, demonstrated that almost half of both sensory and motor aspects of the brain are devoted to the “dental area” or what I would call our gnathologic system. So, approximately half of the programming of our computer-brain that runs the body, comes from the gnathologic system. Consider also the fact that the muscles of mastication and the muscles of facial expression accurately and instantaneously register happiness, anger, fear, excitement, animosity, love, hatred, sadness, pain, sickness and all attitudes of the body. If there are malalignments in the gnathologic system, the impulse patterns will transmit stressful messages, inevitably to all parts of the body. Clearing up those pathological impulses through the correction of jaw position and malocclusion offers the possibility of elimination of many chronic and seemingly unrelated medical conditions.

The late great Dr. Al Fonder labeled what I call TMJ dysfunction or cranial-mandibular-cervical dysfunction, the Dental Distress Syndrome or DDS. Now aren’t those letters quite a coincidence! He said, “DDS patients complain of headache, dizziness, hearing loss, depression, worrying, nervousness, forgetfulness, suicidal tendencies, insomnia, sinusitis, fatigue, indigestion, constipation, ulcers, dermatitis, allergies, frequent urination, kidney and bladder complications, cold hands and feet, body pains and numbness and a host of sexual failures and gynecological problems. Elimination of the DDS reverses these chronic problems, the body chemistry and blood picture normalize”.

Article by By Dr. David Rolfe Wooten

Dr. David Rolfe Wooten, Located is Houston Texas, Dr. Wooten caters compassionately to his dental patients, striving daily to provide a relaxing environment and give all patients peace of mind. Dr. Wooten and his skilled cosmetic dentistry staff provide advanced solutions to your cosmetic, orthodontic and neuromuscular (TMJ) problems by combining high tech diagnostics and treatment options with an extremely high standard of care. Dr. Wooten is proficient in orthodontics, dento-facial orthopedics, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, implants, TMJ therapy, and sedation dentistry concentrating on difficult or unusual cases. Learn more about Dr. Wooten. He may be reached be calling 281 837-9090

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  1. Paul Shepard says:

    My wife has suffered with debilitating vertigo and imbalance for almost a year and a half. This started about five weeks after having braces put on to correct a bite problem. She had TMD prior to the braces and had “hints” that something was wrong for years such as not being able to sleep on her left side because she felt like she was on a boat. The injury/disease or whatever it is has totally devastated our family. She cannot drive, can barely walk, cannot be a mother to our two boys or a wife to me. We have been to Neurologists at Vanderbilt, ENT’s, chiropractors, etc. The chiropractic manipulation actually helped for a short time and then it got worse than ever. We went to a neuromuscular dentist who believed that her vertigo was a result of TMD exacerbated by the braces she had gotten. The theory was that the misaligned jaw pulled the c1 and c2 out of position (rotated and tilted) causing her vertigo. She was fitted with a lower fixed orthotic ($6k) and we were told this was the first stage. This helped some especially in the beginning as she was able to walk straighter and her head was in line and not over to the right but her vertigo and balance issues never went away. 3 months of wearing the orthotic and we were told that her upper teeth, which had been moved back with her braces (which were taken off several months prior to the placement of the orthotic), were a not allowing her jaw to come forward enough. We had mentioned this several times to the doctor before placing the orthotic. Now we were told that we had to decide if we wanted to proceed to stage 2 which costs ranging from $5k which only keep her where she is at , $20k which is full mouth reconstruction, and $60k which is with porcelain veneers and crowns. No guarantee that it will work and no money back if it doesn’t. We are a middle income family of four with only one income. How am I supposed to come up with $20k to $60k ??? When I couldn’t get a loan we were told quite coldly by the receptionist that “You will need to schedule a visit to have the orthotic removed”. Did I mention we live 10 hours away. So we just yank out the orthotic and what happens to my wife? How bad will this affect her? We have been to two other LVI neuromuscular dentists and neither were helpful and both wanted at least as much money. How can these doctors say that they believe they can help my wife but be so callous and uncaring. Send her away because we can’t pay so much. I mean she has no hope and I am afraid what may happen if she doesn’t get some relief from the constant vertigo. Constant letdowns. Constant loneliness. Constant helplessness. I could probably come up with half that money. I guess I just don’t know what kind of a person can see someone in so much pain and choose not to help them because they may not get enough money to go to Aruba for vacation or buy the new Mercedes. What kind of Neuromuscular dentists is LVI producing? Not compassionate I can tell you that. I would love to hear any suggestions you might have.

    Desperate in Kentucky

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