All posts by MWD&W

How to effectively Treat TMJ

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.

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Bite off? Jaw off? Hips off?

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.

body/jaw alignment through medicine wheel dental and wellness center

Body/Jaw Alignment

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.

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What is Temporal Mandibular Join Disorder?

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.

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Cold Laser Therapy

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.

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Introduction To Mindfulness

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 howharr1@gmail.com or 520-400-8184.

Sherril Howard M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Mindfulness Instructor

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.

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Jin Shin Jyutsu Event

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

Cost: $135

RSVP: 520.869.5839

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Product of the Month

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.

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Thank You To Our Valued Friends

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.

Medicine Wheel Dental Team

Our sincere thanks to Echo Starmaker for her photo artistry.

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