To understand what follows…know this…TMJoint disease is genetic. It is passed down from generation to generation. When the six-year molars occlude (come together in a bite), along with family genetics, the condyles are placed in the “wrong” place in the TMJoint capsule. If you notice any symptoms, it is a good indication to start orthodontic intervention.
Because of this “wrong” condylar position due to family genetics and six-year molar occlusion (bite) two pathological conditions become a reality:
- Intra-capsular (inside the joint) — Condylar position affects neurovascular and boney changes in the joint capsule. This will create joint pain, pain on eating. Can feel like an earache.
- Extra-capsular (outside the joint) — Due to the condylar/jaw malposition, the muscles attached to the jaw work in a shortened/dysfunctional manner affecting neck, shoulder, and back, and create forward head position. *Forward head creates neck, shoulder, and back pain. Forward head position is in all TMJ cases in all ages! (Deep bites, class II, III malocclusion, and cross bites all create this.)
Both intra/extra capsular problems are already manifested by age six! So children are chewing/swallowing/breathing/growing with muscle dysfunction. This muscle dysfunction influences (in a bad way) the child’s facial and whole body growth.
*Forward head (in front of the shoulders) makes the head weigh as much as 40+ pounds. When the head is properly positioned over the spine, it should weigh 12-15 pounds.
These kids will develop into the next generation of TMJ patients.
How to Stop the Dysfunctional Process
Jaw position (condylar position) has to be optimized as well as an arch width. When this occurs, muscles can function (chew, swallow, talk, breathe), allowing for proper postural and facial growth. Doing neuromuscular/tomographic measure is imperative to achieve condylar position. With proper jaw position and arch width no surgery (jaw or tooth removal) is necessary.
Please note: no “braces” are needed to accomplish this…braces cannot change jaw position or relieve deep bites. Once the jaw position and arch width are achieved, the oral environment and posture are optimized so permanent teeth can have a chance to come in straight.
Braces: Can be used after jaw position and arch width have been realized to help crate straight teeth and proper vertical face height. (If the permanent teeth did not come in entirely straight.) Braces usually are not needed for any great length of time. They will help galvanize the proper vertical face height, arch width, and jaw position with straight teeth. The individual is then stabilized posturally and facially, with proper TMJoint position. These individuals should not have the TMJoint and postural problems that plague our adult population.
Start Orthodontic Intervention at TMJ & Sleep Center
Dr. Insolera of TMJ & Sleep Center is an expert in all things TMJ. He stresses how important it is for children to get started with orthodontic intervention if parents have gone through treatment, so that kids can avoid having the same pain later on.