Get to Know Jaw Joints

Good dental function is significantly associated with better brain function, better vision, better hearing, better lung volume, better heart volume, better muscle strength, better bone mineral content, less heart attacks and longer life.
(SOURCE: British Medical Journal — 1989 & Community Dental Oral Epidemiology — 1990)

“You’re as young as your spine” the yogis tell us. A supple spine allows us to perform the daily tasks of living with grace and ease – not to mention avoid the pain that comes with an inflexible spine. The spine should be able to move forward, backward, side-to-side, lengthen and twist.

How does this relate to dentistry and jaw joints?
Good Dental Function Includes Balanced Jaw Joints

Most people agree that good dental care includes brushing and flossing, getting regular checkups and getting treatment when needed, such as filling cavities or deep cleaning swollen gums. And these are indeed vital to good dental health.

Balanced jaw joints could be considered as important to dental health as spine balance and flexibility is to overall health. Imbalances – often known as TMJ – can lead to all of the health conditions listed below.

Dr Pete’s approach to dental treatment of course emphasizes disease-free gum tissue and strong, healthy teeth that allow you to chew. However, misaligned jaw joints can lead to conditions such as head, neck and back pain and premature wearing of teeth – to name a few.

Good dental function means your jaw joints, teeth and jaw are working in harmony.  And all dental treatment should prevent misaligned jaw joints and correct them. This is referred to as “Orthopedic Dentistry.”* (see below)

Proper chewing function.

The primary role of dentistry is to preserve the function of chewing. The chewing muscles are the most powerful in the human body for their size. The jaw joints and teeth must work together in order to withstand the force of chewing – which can be as much as 400 pounds of pressure per square inch on the back teeth. When aligned, this mechanism allows us to chew without injuring the jaw joints or damaging the teeth.

When the jaw joints and teeth are misaligned, the force of chewing can result in seemingly inexplicable dental and health problems.

Some symptoms of Misaligned Jaw Joints:

Orthopedic Dentistry allows many of the problems resulting from misalignment to be treated and prevented. These may include:

  • Head, neck and back pain.
  • Uneven wearing of teeth.
  • Popping or clicking when chewing.
  • Limited range of mouth opening.
  • Limited mobility of of jaw.
  • The necessity for root canals on one side of the mouth.
  • Digestive disturbances.

Whether you need dental treatment that involves most of your teeth or just a few, Dr. Pete’s orthopedic approach honors the importance of creating a bite position for the teeth that allows for a centered alignment of the jaw joints.

*Orthopedic Dentistry honors the integrity of jaw joint position in all dental treatment. This is why Dr Pete’s diagnostics for treatment plan include a full understanding of the relationship of the patient’s jaw joints, teeth and jaw.

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