TMJ Problem

The TMJ Problem, Cause and Solution

For most people, the problem starts with clicking of the jaw and then jaw pain and they go to the dentist. He then tells them that they have TMJ and are grinding their teeth and that their jaw joint is deteriorating. He will then tell you that he does not specialize in TMJ and will suggest going to a dentist who treats TMJ a lot.
The TMJ "specialist" will re-examine your jaw and make impressions of your teeth. He may even make a model of your jaw so that he can measure the movement (translation) of the joint. Then a custom mouth guard or splint is made that you have to wear at night or 24 hours per day for six months to two years. 
When the splint does not help, then braces are recommended for a year or two. Some dentists will try to grind the teeth down to match your bite better thinking that the bad bite is causing the TMJ. Sometimes surgery to break the jaw and re-align the bite is even tried. The costs for all this usually exceeds $50,000 plus these patients are still in pain after six years of "regular TMJ specialists" treatment. 
Only 10%-25% of the patients get partial relief from this therapy.
I have discovered that TMJ is NOT caused by grinding your teeth or bad occlusion.
Pressure on the Temporal bone and sphenoid bone are causing the upper jaw and roof of your mouth to become compressed. 
The truth is that the temporal bones and sphenoid bone are compressed causing rotation and misalignment of the temporal bones which are half of the TMJ. This causes poor occlusion between the upper and lower jaw.
Then your jaw muscles begin the process called "splinting" and "accommodation". Typically, one side becomes very tight and the other side begins to pop and click.

My CNSR-Central Nervous System Restoration approach is totally different from the Dental approach. 
It includes:

1.  Cranial Sutural Spread- regular cranial work that feels like I am massaging the scalp where the bones of the skull come together. This promotes the flow of the cerebro spinal fluid in and around the brain.

2.  Dural torque release technique and myofascial release technique- for the neck and the base of the skull  

3.  Occipital Lift-very gentle lifting of the head with the patient laying face up with light pressure laterally on the underside of the skull to increase blood flow to the brain         by relaxing spasms in the "Vertebro/Basilar Artery"which supplies blood to the brain.


4.  CNSR-Central Nervous System Restoration-uses a small instrument that looks like what is used for "angioplasty". It is a blood pressure cuff with a finger cot (small balloon) attached that is placed into the nose (turbinate bones) and inflated with air for about 1-2 seconds. The balloon then opens the cartilage at the back of the nose and allows you to breathe better. It also "begins the process" of restoring the subtle motion of the skull bones that is supposed to happen when you breathe air in. 
The CNS Restoration therapy focuses on removal of pressure on the temporal bones, facial bones and jaw from the inside by restoring normal movement to these joints.

5.  Atlanto/Occipital Restoration-(Ligament Resetting)-light pressure applied behind the ear (bottom of the skull) and to the upper bone in the neck while rotating your head throughout its range of motion during inspiration and expiration to reset and remove stress off of a VERY IMPORTANT ligament that acts like a guy wire to support the skull. 

The Soft tissue work is just as important as the CNSR in correcting the underlying cause of the TMJ.
   
              
The First day of treatment
On the first day we do an exam which gives me a pretty accurate estimation of the length of time that is needed for your treatment (6-12 months). The most number of major points that can be jammed is six major skull plates which means an average of six series of treatments over six months (average for 7 out of 10 patients). 
Most TMJ patients have all six major skull spots locked up and need 24 to 32 individual treatments. If you have six "compressed" skull sutures then it normally takes six series of four days of therapy {24 individual treatments} spaced about one month apart. If you have 28 individual patterns out of the total possible of 78 patterns; then it will take 7 series of treatments. If you have 32 patterns out of the 78 total patterns that need correction; then you will need 8 series. 
3 out of 10 patients need more than the average of 24 to 32 individual treatments. We will know this on the first day after the exam.
        
  "The Cause Of TMJ Dysfunction "

To understand the cause of TMJ dysfunction we need to start with the basics, at the beginning. Although this may appear too simplistic for a dentist, oral surgeon, TMJ specialist, family practitioner, or even a patient who has the condition and thinks that they know all about it.Please bear with me. The basic information is needed to understand the later concepts.
The jaw joint is also called the temporo-mandibular joint. It is where the lower jaw (mandible) meets or joins the upper jaw (maxilla) and head at the temple.            Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction is a very serious condition. It is extremely painful and annoying to the person who has it. It does NOT go away by itself.
Problems with the TMJ usually begin during puberty and shortly afterward. It may not become apparent until after a car wreck, head injury, or long periods of high stress.
Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction are pain in one or both jaw joints. It also includes popping or clicking in one or both sides of the jaw joint. It may seem severe and constant or may appear to come and go. The person may be aware of constant tension in the jaw.
They will have an uneven bite even if they are not aware of it. Usually teeth grinding, called bruxism, is occurring at night causing uneven wear and tear on the teeth. It also results in locking of the jaw joint causing the patient to not be able to open their mouth completely. The pain from a TMJ condition may be mild, moderate, or severe. TMJ condition does NOT go away without treatment. High stress leads to TMJ and TMJ conditions lead to irritability, and headaches.
The temporo-mandibular joint is basically a complicated hinge joint. It is capable of movement both up and down as well as some side to side motion to allow for chewing and grinding of food. The upper jaw is called the maxilla and is shaped like a horseshoe. The lower jaw is called the mandible and is also shaped like a horseshoe. The upper and lower jaw meet together in a hinge like joint just in front of the ear on each side of the head at the lower portion of the temples.
The normal functioning of the temporo-mandibular joint should be a smooth gliding like movement. The mouth should be able to open and the lower jaw drop straight up and down like a well oiled gate that does not squeak. It should also operate like a gate that has a well operating self closing mechanism. 
Pain, popping, and clicking of the jaw joint occurs when the upper jaw is more narrow in the back than the lower jaw causing the  lower jaw to not connect evenly with the upper jaw. This also results in a jaw joint that opens and closes like a rusty gate. Not only does it make noises but it takes more effort to push and pull it open and closed. Teeth grinding (bruxism) is looked at as a problem because it causes uneven wear and tear on the teeth. It also causes teeth to chip and break. However, this is the body’s method of unlocking the TMJ.
Next we move from our basic knowledge that the jaw is like two horseshoes to the next step. All bone is living tissue. It is alive and growing. It is somewhat flexible and bendable. It is capable of repair when it is broken. Especially during puberty, the jaw and head are growing longer and larger. As the brain grows larger, the skull plates have to enlarge to allow the brain to grow. If the skull partially fuses before the brain finishes growing or the skull plates become locked or jammed due to injuries then the brain becomes compressed and begins to dehydrate. 
All growth and nerve function are then slowed down and cease to function properly. Brain function becomes abnormally slow because blood flow to the brain is decreased. The upper and lower jaws have to grow and lengthen in order for the teeth to have room to come in. When the teeth come in crooked it is a sure sign that the bones of the face are not symmetrical and the joints of the many small bones of the face have become locked and jammed. It is also a sign that the jaw and head are not growing fast quick enough. When wisdom teeth do not have room to come in it is another sign that the skull and jaw are behind in their growth rate. The rate of growth of the head, jaw, and all the bones of the body is directly dependent on the amount of growth hormone available. 
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland sits behind the bridge of the nose even with the temples. Proper flow of spinal fluid and blood to this section of the brain is required for the pituitary to produce growth hormone in a proper and timely manner. Good blood supply to the pituitary gland is also required to ensure proper production of growth hormone. Trauma to the head slows down the flow of the fluid in the brain called "cerebro spinal fluid" by resulting in locking or jamming of the face bones. When the flow of the spinal fluid slows down, then the pituitary gland begins to dry out and shrivel up. This causes wrinkles in your face and you begin to age faster and lose elasticity of your skin. Menstrual problems also develop. 
Both sides of the face and skull should be symmetrical or identical. However, they seldom are. The eyes should be the same size and shape.  The nose should be straight. The cheekbones should not be depressed. The forehead should be rounded not flat. The ears should be level (they seldom are) and the mouth should be symmetrical especially when you have a relaxed smile.
If you stand in front of a mirror and imagine drawing a line down the middle of your face, what differences do you see? Do your two front upper teeth line up with your two front lower teeth? These small differences are all outward indications of internal injuries and restrictions of the growth process. 
Unless you are in the medical field, the only bones that you have ever seen are dead bones. These bones are dead and dry and hard. They do not bend. Live bones however, have some degree of flexibility (kind of like a Popsicle stick). Live bones are not hard and dry. When live bones are placed under tension the bone itself actually changes shape. The bones then remodels itself and extra bone cells travel to the area of tension in order to strengthen that area, just like when a broken bone is healing.
Now we are ready to move to the next level of understanding about the TMJ.
There are many bones in the face, head, and jaw. The major bones of the skull are the frontal (forehead) (1), parietals (top sides of head) (2), temporals (2), and occiput (back of head)(1) and sphenoid (1).
Next, there are many small bones of the face. These include the cheekbones (zygomatic arch) which are actually made up of three separate bones which never completely fuse. These small bones allow for very small subtle movements of the skull when we breathe in and out. As we breath, our sinuses alternately fill and empty with air. These sinuses can still be seen even in a dead skull. The nose is made up of lots of cartilage along with many small bones. These allow for more movement. As mentioned before; behind the nosecheekbones, and forehead are sinuses that alternately fill and empty with air every time we breathe. This causes small amounts of expansion of the head each time that we breathe. Any injury to the head which restricts the movement of any of these bones results in shallow breathing. Shallow breathing is unhealthy.
Once you’ve mastered this information, the next step is to get a picture of the inside of the skull. This is the most important part, yet I will keep it simple. Inside the skull are two bones that look like big boulders. They contain the inner and middle ear. These bones are thick and hard. Towards the sides and front of the head are the most important bones of all as far as TMJ sufferers are concerned and they are called the temporal bone and the sphenoid bone. The sphenoid bone is shaped like a butterfly with it’s wings outstretched. It is more important than the lower jaw itself or the temporo-mandibular joint as far as your pain is concerned. The sphenoid bone connects the left side of the head to the right side of the head. When the sphenoid is not level then your ears are not level. The sphenoid looks and acts like a flexible three dimensional see-saw. 
When the sphenoid is under pressure it becomes twisted. When the sphenoid bone becomes twisted out of its normal position then the upper jaw (maxilla) becomes twisted because the two bones are connected. The roof of the mouth then becomes compressed and bends upward to form a high arch or one portion of the roof of the mouth will slide like the "tectonic plates " of the earth one over the other. [If you rub your thumb across the roof of your mouth then you may be able to feel a slight distortion down the midline of the roof of your mouth.]
The twisting of the sphenoid causes pressure on the upper jaw causing it to become more narrow in the back.  The upper jaw then feels like it has been clamped into a vise. The lower jaw will respond by bending with the upper jaw as long as it can. The upper jaw finally becomes so twisted and under so much pressure that the lower jaw begins to pop and click out of position. 
"A compressed and twisted sphenoid bone is the source of 90% of your TMJ pain. This can be corrected with 6-12 months of treatment."

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Hartman Family Chiropractic
3951 Brown Trail
Colleyville, TX 76034
Phone: 817-612-9447
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817-612-9447

Justin Hartman, DC
3951 Brown Trail
Colleyville, TX 76034