One of the most difficult concepts to get across to my TMD patients and other doctors is the connectivity of the Jaw and the Neck. In fact, it is my strong belief that TMD/TMJ should really be classified as a Craniocervical Disease and hence fall under the umbrella of medical coverage rather than treated strictly as a dental problem.
To the Neuromuscular-minded dentist, "Occlusion" is an extension of general Postural Consideration. In other words it is a part of a complete system of interrelated bones, muscles and joints that ultimately relate to the Trigeminal System. Dental Occlusion must be synchronized with healthy Mandibular Function as it relates to a healthy head position and by extension a healthy posture.
So why are teeth/occlusion so important for posture? In simple terms incorrect posture is due to a twisted spine, which barring accidents or skeletal abnormalities- like a short leg, is due to an incorrect position of the skull. The position of the skull is influenced by the position of the lower jaw and ultimately the position of the jaw is mandated by the eruption pattern and final position of the teeth. Hence your bite is dictating your posture. Ever wonder why your chiropractic adjustments don't hold for long? Of course we can exercise and be mindful of our posture. However long-term we see that this conflict will have its say.
In my experience, examining both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients of my practice, I have found most often that even in asymptomatic patients the area of conflict lies within the spine; namely the cervical area. So the price for accommodation to the poor bite is most often paid for by our neck. Of course only about 24% of the population formally complain about TMD/TMJD, however if we closely examine all patients I believe we find that the incidence is much higher than that.
My approach today is to start this alignment process from within: from the inside first -with the integrity of the spine in correct position. When this is accomplished we can then bring the optimized position of the jaw and reinforce this correct postural position. Thus the teeth are a visual extension of the spine. This is why it is so important to have the spine in correct position foremost and this will produce a harmonious posture and finalizing with a proper balanced bite. Bringing complete health to the patient.
About the Author:
Hamid Nassery, DMD, FICOI, FAGD has been practicing dentistry for the past 20 years. His dental practice Real Smile is located in Miami Beach and helps local and national patients.
To explore this further contact Dr. Nassery at 305.672.4444 or at