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Here’s a recent study that dentists and chiropractors, as well as patients who experience chronic TMJ pain (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) might find useful.
Bear with me though, the terms used are a bit of a mouthful. I’ll break it down shortly.
First, let’s look at the published results…
Relationship between craniocervical orientation and center of force of occlusion in adults
Findings suggest that changes in posture and occlusion can be observed after the NUCCA procedure. Not all patients demonstrated a more balanced contact pattern following the adjustment, indicating a need for further investigation.
[This suggests] interconnectivity between the CCJ and an individual’s occlusal contacts and supports the need for further integration between chiropractors and dentists seeking to co-manage temporomandibular joint disorders.
- Cranio: the Journal of Craniomandibular Practice 2016 October 20, : 1-7
Let’s start with the “NUCCA” term. It’s a system of analysis performed by Upper Cervical chiropractors coupled with a procedure that improves the position of the head and neck. In the study above, this head/neck region was described as the craniocervical junction.
Just when I thought chiropractors had wordy terminology, dentists decided to toss their hat in the ring with “Center of force of occlusion.” It’s a phrase that describes how the upper row of teeth makes contact with the lower row of teeth when your mouth is closed. Or, MUCH more simply, your bite.
So here we have a highly experienced dentist in Canada pairing up with an exceptionally talented chiropractor, as well as an accomplished biochemist, to observe the relationship between our neck and bite.
What they noticed in this clinical study (albeit observational) is that positive changes were measured in patients’ bites when analyzed before and after the chiropractic adjustment.
Here’s Why This Matters for TMJ Sufferers…
A lot of patients seek help from the dentist when they experience jaw pain or discomfort while chewing. And some of those patients invest in dental appliances alone that may not improve the problem.
Similarly, patients seek help from a chiropractor when they experience TMJ-related jaw pain. And some of those patients invest in chiropractic treatments alone that… you guessed it… may not improve the problem.
But by integrating the services of a skilled dentist and chiropractor (co-management), patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction could experience a better overall outcome.