The temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) is the jaw joint, where the jaw attaches to the skull just in front of the ear. The “socket” for this joint is on the underside of another cranial bone called the temporal bone. These are two of the 29 cranial bones that, as we have learned from the field of cranial osteopathy, move throughout life. The jaw, or mandible, makes big movements as we talk, chew and swallow and supports our lower teeth in a lower dental arch. Its motion is determined by hinging at the TMJ as well as its suspension system of seven major muscle groups, ligaments and tendons and connective tissue (fascia).
The TM joint resembles a ball and socket with the head of the jaw bone (mandible), or condyle as the “ball” in this analogy, fitting into the “socket” or concavity in the temporal bone known as the glenoid fossa. There is also a cartilage disk that separates the two bones and acts as a gliding surface as well as a cushion or shock absorber.
When the jaw is in the correct position, and the upper and lower teeth meet in a way to support that ideal joint relationship, the muscles and ligaments work in harmony to create a balanced, ideal, pain-free function. There are differing opinions on what constitutes a correct position, and how to restore it. A healthy jaw joint allows a person to open wide and function without any discomfort or noise (clicking, popping, grinding sounds). Opening wide, one should be able to fit the knuckles of the middle three fingers side-by-side between the upper and lower edges of the front teeth. Less than that may suggest jaw tightness or limitation.
TMJ symptoms may include: headaches; jaw aches; stiffness; earaches; congestion; ringing in the ears; clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening and closing the mouth; limited jaw opening or locking in an open or closed position; dizziness or loss of balance; tired jaws when chewing; difficulty in swallowing; and more.
From the medical field of cranial osteopathy, we understand that all 29 cranial bones, not just the jaw, move in a slow, fluid rhythm, providing a balancing aspect to the central nervous system and surrounding connective tissue. With restrictions to this very important motion—such as clenching, grinding or other strain patterns from injuries and traumas—balance in the whole body can be compromised.
If the jaw and bite are “off”, even without noticeable temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) symptoms, a descending issue is created in the body which can compromise alignment from the head and base of the skull downward, throwing the level of the hips out of alignment. This can result in pain in the knees, hips, back, neck and shoulders and as a result, adjustments from a bodyworker or therapist will not “hold” as long—if at all.
After 40 years of treating TMJ dysfunction non-invasively, we recently introduced our newest, most comprehensive and revolutionary whole-body approach to TMJ issues: Fluid Body Dynamics. This approach includes new concepts of pain management and functional movement therapeutics; cutting-edge therapeutic modalities, such as whole-body vibration and cranial osteopathic techniques; as well as much more.
Our Fluid Body Dynamics team will begin by assessing your unique conditions and needs to determine if your condition qualifies for the use of this program. Our team then helps create a customized treatment plan, which averages about five months in length.
When indicated, the program involves the use of specialized dental appliances to idealize and stabilize the jaw joint position—both at night and functionally during the day. These appliances are fully functional and not used only for sleep. They need to be adjusted as old traumas and injuries are released and the body alignment changes.
Release of each of these distortion patterns are like the layers of an onion; they can cause restrictions in the body’s soft tissue (fascia) and impair muscle function, blood flow, nerve signaling and normal physiology. As the body changes and improves with each bodywork session (with the optional use of Medicine Wheel’s patented Percussion Table), one’s appliances will be immediately readjusted to reflect this new stability and balance.
The Fluid Body Dynamics system is client-driven, utilizing a case manager who works directly with you, communicating feedback and identifying needs between the members of one’s integrative team.
You are seen by the our integrative team utilizing body/jaw alignment, cranial osteopathic techniques, Neuro Kinetic Therapeutics and myofascial release work. Meanwhile, a movement specialist guides them into whole-body balancing using a system of specific self-care exercises to retrain and stabilize their improving state of balance and body use patterns. To obtain whole-body balance and freedom from pain and discomfort, requires new awareness, positive postural relationships, letting go of old postural habits and compensations, developing positive breathing techniques and getting in touch with one’s own unique ways of dealing with stress.
Normally, within the first month of the program, while treating the primary underlying causes, you can see a positive effect on your symptoms by 50 percent. By the end of five months, you can usually achieve relief of 70 to 80 percent of the symptoms you walked in with, all without medications or surgery.
Once stabilized and living a new life, either maintenance with the appliances or permanent dental approaches such as orthodontics or dental reconstruction can be discussed, if indicated. This approach is a must with children before turning to orthodontics if they are demonstrating a high hip or pre-scoliosis patterns.
We take the time to help you step forward into relief and a positive lifestyle. Connect with us and set up an evaluation today! 520-743-7101.
TMJ and the Movement of All 29 Cranial Bones—An Entirely New Paradigm
In the world of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) treatment, there are many different approaches, each meeting with varying degrees of success. Almost all TMJ treatment is based on the assumption that the skull is solid, the suture joints are closed and that the only moving bone in the skull is the jaw bone and the tiny bones in the ear whose vibrations allow for hearing.
However, from the medical field of Cranial Osteopathy, we know that all 29 bones of the head move with a fluid motion of the cerebrospinal fluid, bathing the brain and continuing through the spinal cord all the way to the tailbone (sacrum). In fact, all of the entire body connective tissue (fascia) and the body skeletal system are interconnected like an intricate pulley system through which this motion can be detected. If there have been traumas or injuries, there can be a distortion in this soft tissue “body glove” that can affect the function of muscles, blood flow and nerve signaling, as well as many other body systems. This is similar to having a kink in a water hose. These restricted areas exist in the connective tissue like layers of an onion, even after the original injury has healed, which can create pain and compensations in movement and function anywhere in the body.
In the fields of structural and manual medicine, we know that all spinal segments affect each other in an “as above, so below” relationship. For example, if there is an imbalance at the cranial base of the skull, we can usually find an imbalance of the level of the hips. Level hips are foundational for a properly aligned spine and a level cranial base. All of this is directly influenced by the jaw’s TMJ position. A restricted cranial base impinges on the vagus nerve, the longest of the cranial nerves, which carries parasympathetic nerve signaling to the heart, lungs, diaphragm and digestive system.
TMJ has often been referred to as “the Great Masquerader” because it affects so many areas and functions of the body, with seemingly unrelated symptoms. These symptoms can drive sufferers from medical doctors to specialists in search of relief. Most people never think to contact a dentist, since the symptoms masquerade as so many other complaints that seem primarily medical in nature. Indeed, the TMJ is a body joint, and by definition, a medical issue. But because of how the teeth and bite define the positioning of this joint and function, it often requires dental support or attention.
With this in mind, when choosing a dentist to help guide one’s TMJ to balance, the best choice is a practitioner who understands the movement of all cranial bones and works from a holistic perspective to create full body/jaw alignment.
Laser Treatments for Holistic Oral Care
Holistic oral care is focused on the highest standard of patient care with an emphasis on total body wellness. For this reason, Medicine Wheel Dental and Wellness Center has incorporated a laser for soft tissue treatment and management of the following:
Tooth sensitivities – laser therapy is commonly used to seal exposed tubules (located on the root of the tooth) that are responsible for tooth sensitivity.
Gummy smiles – lasers can reshape gum tissue to expose healthy tooth structure and improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
Frenectomy – a laser frenectomy is an ideal treatment option for children or adults who are tongue tied (restricted or tight frenulum) and may also help to eliminate speech impediments.
Benign tumors – lasers may be used for the painless and suture-free removal of benign tumors from the gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips.
Cold sores – low intensity dental lasers reduce pain associated with cold sores, apthous ulcers and herpetic lesions as well as a significantly minimizing healing time. Get immediate relief in a matter of minutes!
Depigmentation of gum disease – patients who have a darker pigment on their gum tissue and wish to lighten for cosmetic purposes.
Bacteria reduction during cleanings – lasers seeks out and eliminates oral bacteria beneath the gum line. These bacteria are responsible not only for inflammation and gum disease, but can be linked to increased risk for several systemic diseases. These diseases include, but are not limited to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, risk of stroke, diabetes and low birth weight in babies.
Lasers in dentistry have been used successfully for decades and are an excellent tool in the overall health of our oral tissues.
The laser treatment only takes about 5-10 minutes and is painless. Laser therapy not only improves oral health, but also significantly reduces the overall bacterial load present in the entire body. Laser therapy during cleaning appointments is one more way to improve your overall well being. Be sure to take advantage of this new service at your next cleaning appointment.
We are now, not only improving oral health with mechanical removal of irritants such as plaque and tartar, but also eliminating the source of infection by destroying billions of colonies of bacteria.
The addition of laser therapy at Medicine Wheel Dental and Wellness Center gives us another tool to improve the general health of our patients and it is truly an exciting modality.
For more information on the use of lasers in holistic oral care, please contact us.
Introduction To Mindfulness is a 3 week course.
Each participant will receive a notebook and journal, and handouts are provided for every class. In addition, audio recordings of meditations are provided every week for home practice.
Week 1: What is Mindfulness?
- Introduction to Mindful Breathing
- Introduction to Thoughts Practice and use of anchor words
- Mindful Body, Body Scan Exercise
- Mindful Movement Exercise
Week 2: Mindfulness of Emotions
- Exploring Emotions
- Heartfulness Practice
- Gratitude Practice
Week 3: Mindfulness of Others
- Listening Skillfully
- Mindfulness of Speech/Habits
- Everyday Mindfulness
- Mindful Eating
When: Wednesday, March 29th; April 5th; April 12th.
Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Where: Classes are offered at the offices of Dr. Steven Swidler of Medicine Wheel Dental and Wellness Center, 4650 W. Jojoba Dr. 85745.
Sign Up: Register by contacting Sherril Howard at email@example.com or 520-400-8184.
Sherril Howard M.S., CCC-SLP
Sherril Howard has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 1983 serving patients with voice disorders and head and neck cancer. She has also practiced various forms of meditation and yoga since the late 80’s. In 2015, she became qualified to teach Mindfulness. She has a private consulting practice where she helps clients find their inner voice. For the last 15 years, Sherril and her husband, Tim have been facilitating a relationship course called The Way Of The Beloved, a comprehensive method for making marriage a path for spiritual development. She is passionate about helping others find balance, equanimity and overall joy in their lives.
Please join us for this wonderful event at out Wellness Center, featuring Cynthia Wheeler.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient art of harmonizing the life energy in the body. It helps bring balance to the body’s energetic pathways and helps facilitate our own profound healing capacity.
It is a valuable complement to conventional healing methods, inducing relaxation and reducing the effects of stress.
Cynthia Wheeler is a Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner and Self-Help Instructor in Tucson, Arizona.
She has taught several JSJ Self-Help classes in Tucson and surrounding areas.
Cynthia has written articles on JSJ Self-Help for Healthy Lifestyles Newspaper and has been a 5 day key note conference speaker on Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help for the Center For Nursing Leadership.
Cynthia began her studies in 1978 with Mary Burmeister and also continued her studies with Muriel Carlton, Wayne Hackett and Sara Harper.
When: Saturday, March 18th
Time: 9:30 am – 4:30pm
Where: Medicine Wheel Dental and Wellness Center
Medicine Wheel Dental believes in promoting local businesses within our community. We developed a program called “Product of the Month” to share with like-minded individuals and companies best associated with our values and practice beliefs. Our motivation and intention is to support and provide local businesses with exposure to people and organizations with which we are affiliated.
We are excited to announce this month’s Product of the Month: Kaelen Harrell offering a full line of Organic Skincare Products.
For more information please visit Kaelen’s website by clicking here!
If you are interested in joining our Product of the Month program, please contact us as it is our hope that this is as exciting for you as it is for us. We look forward to working with you in the future and watching your business grow as we feel your company has integrity, strong values, and high quality products.
Dearest Valued Friends,
As 2016 comes to a close, we acknowledge that there has not been one person in our waiting room that has not experienced some major highs and lows physically, mentally, or emotionally this year. Yet in the midst of this uncertainty, we find ourselves in a place of excitement and serenity. Our entire team at Medicine Wheel know wonderful times lie ahead for all of us and wish to remind you, none of us are alone.
We would like to take this opportunity to simply THANK YOU. Without your support and trust in us we would not be here doing what we love most. Your support of our practice is confirmation that people want change, both from standard dental approaches and in general.
Thank you for being the backbone of our practice and being in our lives.
From all of us, to all of you, we wish you a very Happy New Year!
With love and gratitude, your Medicine Wheel dental team.
Our sincere thanks to Echo Starmaker for her photo artistry.
A great new article in Natural News was recently published regarding the importance and also expressing important knowledge about holistic dentistry.
Here’s the highlights:
(NaturalNews) To maintain good health, it is crucial to minimize our exposure to toxins. Therefore, we should consult the right doctor when we need one, opt for fresh organic foods, and be careful with the cleaning and cosmetic products we use. But did you know that choosing the right holistic dentist for yourself and your family is no less important than having a good and honest doctor?
What many people don’t realize is that the health of our teeth and gums is the forerunner for the health of the rest of our body. One dentist, Dr. Idelle S. Brand, experienced this first-hand when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
When conventional doctors told her that the disease was incurable and she’d better consider going on a permanent disability pension, she decided to take matters into her own hands and found alternative ways to regain her health. She said that she was able to get past the disease by detoxing her body. Her method worked so well that she wrote a book about it – “My Secrets to Regaining Health.”
Holistic dentistry. What’s it all about?
In Midtown Manhattan, Dr. Brand runs The Brand Wellness Center which brings a unique and holistic approach to dentistry. She usually treats patients with chronic illnesses that have no common medical cure. According to Dr. Brand, patients have experienced that everything that is happening in their mouth is related to their overall body health.
“When you make that connection you can start turning around chronic illnesses,” Dr. Brand told The Epoch Times.
A consultation usually includes aromatherapy and healing sound frequencies. You can also opt to hold special rocks that absorb stress during a dental procedure. Furthermore, she’ll teach you about how the organs and meridians relate to each one of your teeth before releasing you from her care after a free 2-minute meditation session to balance your energy fields.
Why you should consider dental detoxing for better health
As stated by Dr. Brand, toxins are constantly wreaking havoc on our system and contribute to autoimmune diseases. Nonetheless, the importance of toxins in teeth and the rest of the body is often overlooked and ignored in conventional medicine and dentistry.
She added that until people remove these toxins from their body, it is going to be difficult to get well. When you free your body from toxins you put less stress on the immune system so your body can start functioning better.
If you still have teeth with a mercury filling, the first step to better health is to remove the mercury-leaching source and then nurture your body back to health by removing mercury and other toxins through proper nutrition.
Apart from safely removing these toxic fillings, Dr. Brand noted that people should be extra careful and make sure the dentist replaces them with white fillings that are fluoride and bisphenol A (BPA) free. There is no point in replacing one toxin with another.
Medicine Wheel Dental
“I enjoy practicing the Cobra Pose first thing in the morning in conjunction with my breathing exercises to help open my chest and lungs. Sitting at a computer tends to contract the front of the torso; this pose reverses that effect.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.
Description & History
The Cobra Pose is a basic pose used to strengthen the spine and buttocks as well as stretch the chest, shoulders, and abdomen. The Sanskrit name of the Cobra Pose, Bhujangasana, comes from the words bhujanga, meaning serpent, and asana, meaning posture. Strength and flexibility are important components of a healthy back. By using the Cobra Pose in conjunction with other back-related yoga poses, a practitioner can develop the ability to maintain correct body posture and improve back strength.
How to Perform the Cobra Pose
Begin in prone position on the floor with legs together and feet pointed. Place hands under shoulders and squeeze your elbows against the body. Firmly press the tops of your feet, legs, and hips to the floor, maintaining this connection throughout the pose.
On an inhalation, first use your back muscles to lift your chest off of the floor keeping the neck relaxed and drawing shoulder blades and elbows back; then straightening the arms, continue to lift the chest as the face begins to look up. Go to a comfortable height that you are capable of maintaining without pain. Press your tailbone toward the floor and lift the abdomen muscles toward the spine.
Relax the shoulder blades by keeping them down, avoiding adding unneeded tension to the back and shoulders. Find a spot about 45 degrees in front and above that you can focus on as long as it is pain-free.
Hold the Cobra Pose for 15 to 30 seconds and maintain even breathing.
To release, exhale and drop your head to the floor and lower your body by using your arms. Repeat the Cobra Pose twice more.
Watch a video demonstration of the Cobra Pose.
Potential Health Benefits
Alleviates sciatica and low back pain
Opens the chest, allowing for deeper breathing
Strengthens abdominal muscles and buttocks
Stimulates digestion and helps relieve constipation
Traditional yoga texts say Cobra Pose increases body heat and destroys disease
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Education and Practice looked at the effects of the Cobra Pose along with other yoga poses that focus on the back muscles. After the three-month study concluded, researchers found that performing yoga poses that focus on the back, including the Cobra Pose, led to significant improvements in overall back strength.
Modifications & Variations
It is important to remember not to overdo the backbend during the Cobra Pose. Beginners should find a height that is comfortable and does not put excessive strain on the back. If you are stiff and do not feel comfortable with performing this pose on the floor, you can modify the pose. Start by placing a metal folding chair against a wall with the seat facing out. Place your hands on the edge of the seat and stand on the balls of your feet. Go through the same motions as you would with the Cobra Pose on the floor.
For an advanced version of the Cobra Pose, start the same as you would with the normal pose, but instead of using the arms to lift the upper body, contract the buttocks and lower back. This modified movement will limit the height at which your upper body will lift. As this is an advanced version of the Cobra Pose, it is important to know your limits and pay attention to any uncomfortable feelings associated with the pose.
Pregnant women should refrain from performing this pose, as should individuals with active ulcers, abdominal pain and hernias. For those with neck tension or injury, do not lift the head to a level that causes discomfort. And those with back pain or injury should bend the spine only to a degree that is comfortable, keeping the elbows bent if needed. Keep the spine rounded while performing the Cobra pose and avoid bending at the hips to achieve the pose.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
Reviewed by: James Nicolai, M.D., on May 20, 2013
Talk with Mercedez about bodywork or Patricia about yoga poses as well!
Sources: Bhowmik, Sanjib Kumar, Avjeet Mondal, Shrikrishna Patel, and Upendra Pandey. “Effect of Various Yogic Intervention Strategies on Back Strength of Homemakers.” Journal of Education and Practice 3, no. 14 (2012): 49-58.