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Unlocking the Jaw

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Unlocking the Jaw

Perhaps people hear a telltale click when they ‘open wide’ that signals their jaws are not working perfectly. For some, there is pain as well as noise.

“Jaw dysfunction is characterised by headaches, pains in the face, stiff neck and shoulders,” said Dr Evelien van Amerongen, who specialises in dental diagnostics and treatment of jaw dysfunction at the Ishsko Centre in Westport. For many years it seemed to be misdiagnosed as migraine or tooth problems, but doctors are more attuned to the importance of the jaw now.

The two joints of the jaw are the only ones in the body that must work in perfect balance, say health officials. When one side of the jaw is favoured over the other, the jawbones create stress in their sockets, grinding against the disks that are supposed to cushion the joints. If the disks are damaged, the bones ease out of their sockets with the telltale click whenever the mouth is opened wide.

For most people the matter ends there. But for some, the unbalanced jaw puts a strain on muscles that ache in turn. The pain can be occasional and fleeting or the pain can be chronic.
There is a lengthy list of reasons that jaw joints do not function in harmony. Car accidents and sports injuries account for many of the problems, but so does stress. Some people tense the muscles on one side of their face when they are angry or distressed. Over time, the tensed muscles pull the whole jaw off kilter.
For others, poor posture can account for jaw dysfunction. Slouching or hanging the head to one side can eventually cause the jaw to become permanently unbalanced.

Perhaps the major cause of  jaw dysfunction is misalignment of the teeth. A person whose teeth do not meet properly will compensate either by chewing on only one side of the mouth or shifting the lower jaw until their teeth do meet.

“Like a pebble stuck under a door, it prevents the door from closing properly and causes it to become unhinged. Over-erupted or misaligned teeth also unhinge the jaw joint. This aspect is often overlooked in dentistry, and restorations are often placed disregarding the fact that the jaw and teeth are not at the correct position and the problem perpetuates,” says Dr  Amerongen.

If not corrected, jaw dysfunction can lead to other things like a disturbance in the hormones and impaired lymph drainage. And whatever the reason or cause, it’s important to know that you can get help.  Simple techniques such as breathing effectively and efficiently can have a profound effect in reducing stress with those who clench their jaws when tense. They are many new therapies that aid this like photon-wave light and emotional field therapy. The right one will depend on the specifics of the condition. Once the treatment is in place, and is correcting the root cause, your jaw will become in balance again.

For further information on jaw dysfunction contact Dr Evelien van Amerongen at the Ishsko Centre in Westport. Email  info@mercuryfreedentistry.eu or go to www.mercuryfreedentistry.eu

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