The statokinetic power of the mandibular joints
A misalignment of the teeth can have substantial consequences for the statics of the body, which may impair athletic performance or even cause illness. Here, small causes can have great impact. Minor faults in dentition have a direct effect on the position of the mandibular joint. If this is no longer exactly in so-called centric relation, this may not only lead to local mandibular joint problems, but also to the entire body statics becoming disrupted. Poorer performance through to chronic diseases are the consequence.
The muscles of our masticatory system are connected to the neck and spine musculature. This is why dental occlusion, or a “wrong bite” is now focussed on in conjunction with symptoms beyond the area of the head. Today, we know that about 80 percent of the cases of pelvic misalignment and scoliosis of the spine are triggered by malocclusion and the resulting CMD. Joint treatment is important for all those involved, as orthopaedic and dental problems may be closely linked in the case of CMD. Massages, injections and analgesics may bring a certain amount of relief, but do not have a healing effect on the actual cause of the problem.
Here, dentists, other specialists and physiotherapists work in close cooperation to help patients affected. In addition, the practical implementation not only requires knowledge of function diagnostics and therapeutics, but also involves the willingness to enter into interdisciplinary cooperation between dentists and physicians.
Cause – Effect – Disease
When the contact of the teeth of the upper and lower jaw no longer exactly fit on top of one another, the jaw adjusts to enable the teeth to bite properly again. As the lower jaw is only held by muscles and tendons, a dental occlusion can cause misalignment, which in turn results in tension of the jaw muscles. But this compensation can disturb the entire body statics. Because: If misalignments of the jaw occur, their effects may, together with the associated muscular tension, spread from the head and neck via the thoracic spine right down to the pelvic region. “It is, for example, conceivable that knee problems are caused by a misaligned hip, which in turn originates from a misalignment of the jaw”, say Dr. Hordt and Dr. Kirchberg, explaining the influence of the teeth on the musculoskeletal system.
Misalignment of the teeth and sport
Performance may also suffer as a result of a ‘wrong bite’. “If an athlete has a muscular imbalance in the jaw, the musculoskeletal system can frequently no longer be controlled with the necessary precision”, says Dr. Hordt. “During sporting activities, the back may be slightly twisted due to the one-sided tension. As a result, the shoulders are misaligned, leading to uneven weight distribution and restricted movement. Power and endurance athletes are unable to approach their peak performance limits if their teeth do not bite correctly. They develop less strength and are never able to exploit their maximum power.”
Only an optimally aligned mandibular joint enables the own individual peak performance to be achieved (competition centric relation)