TMJ Tooth Body Connection

In playgrounds all around the country children will be singing about how their knee bone is connected to their thigh bone etc., all the way up to the neck bone being attached to the head bone. While this is an innocent child’s song it helps to illustrate that the different parts of the body are interconnected.

The teeth are joined to the rest of the body through the central and autonomic nervous system and through the musculoskeletal system including the fascial planes. The vascular system (Blood Stream) and Reticuloendothelial system can transport toxins in the mouth to other parts of the body. Science is now linking periodontal disease with cardiovascular problems, strokes, diabetes, stomach ulcers, osteoporosis, obesity and weight loss, respiratory diseases and premature low birth weight babies.

Occlusal problems, when the teeth do not meet, can cause muscular tension in the muscles of mastication (jaw muscles). This may be due to missing or decayed teeth or restorations that are too high causing a premature contact. This may result in temporomandibular problems and an associated myofascial adaptation which may cause dysfunction of the upper cervical spine. This may also be a result of increased neural excitability from a displaced mandible, mercury exposure, infections or inflammatory diseases such as mumps or bruxism from psychosomatic issues. The increased muscle tension may reduce the blood supply to and lymph drainage from the head which may cause headaches or migraines to occur.

TMJ

The resultant dysfunction of the neck vertebrae can cause a scoliosis in the back affecting the pelvis and the weight distribution to the hip joints and knees. This is a two way process and knee or pelvic problems may also affect the jaw joint. In this scenario the patient would need body work before any dentistry was started. The thick myofascial planes affected also wrap around the liver and may affect the blood supply and nerve supply to the liver so that it does not function optimally. Chronic muscle pain may result.

Chronic problems in the body will give rise to inflammation and chronic inflammation is now being looked at as a component of autoimmune diseases and diabetes and obesity. The source of chronic inflammation may be a localised or a systemic effect from the teeth or jaws. In 1890 WD Miller first proposed that the mouth may be a focus for infection elsewhere in the body. This was followed by William Hunter proposing that oral micro organisms and their by products were involved in a range of systemic diseases not always of obvious infectious origin, such as arthritis. G. V. Black, “The Father of modern Dentistry” also refers to dental foci and areas of osteonecrosis causing systemic problems. While all his other concepts were adopted in the field of dentistry the dental foci theory was put on the proverbial back burner and is only recently re-emerging as a potential source of chronic infection in the body.

As each person is an individual the effect of mercury or dental foci of infection will be different. Each person has their own ability to adapt to differing attacks on the body whether that is through toxins or stress. This is dependent on that person’s nutritional intake, their level of physical fitness, their emotional and spiritual background, their previous history of infectious episodes and their individual genetic make up. Add to this car crashes, surgeries and accidents etc., and each patient has a completely different pattern to the next and one patient may be more susceptible than the next.