from Dr. Hitesh K. Patel.
Appeared in August 2005 issue of Chicago Health Magazine
Dr. Hitesh K. Patel –
Too often, patients are dismayed to hear doctors say, “It’s all in your head,” or, “You’ll have to learn to live with it; there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Unfortunately, migraine-like headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, hearing loss, ear ringing or eye, face, head, neck, shoulder, back, hip, leg or foot problems are the realities for sufferers. Many times, a person wouldn’t consider seeing a dentist if their head, neck, or back was throbbing in pain. However, even though it may not be the teeth themselves that are painful, the teeth may be the source of pain that’s elsewhere.
A person’s teeth affect many aspects of one’s overall health; when the bite or a specific tooth is out of balance, so is the rest of the body. The connections between body pain and imbalance in the bite are very real. By doing adjustments to the teeth and/or a custom fitted oral orthotic, the soreness to the body can be reduced and sometimes even eliminated.
This adjustment technique has had a positive result with hundreds of patients experiencing a wide variety of ailments from headaches to fibromyalgia, back pain, Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD, also known as TMJ), face pain, etc. The process is non-invasive and painless.
When jaws and skulls collide.
Until recently, these symptoms (seemingly unrelated) were frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as migraine, tension headaches or stress. These unexplained, undiagnosed and untreated symptoms are often related to TMJ.
When a person’s bite is out of alignment, it can affect both the muscles and the joints. A bad bite means that the upper and lower teeth do not come together in a way that provides the proper support for one’s jaw against the skull. This might result from a missing tooth, misaligned teeth, or back teeth that are ground down and “too short”.
A person’s upper and lower teeth come together tightly during the act of swallowing. Doing this more than 2,000 times a day makes an unstable bite work the surrounding muscles extra hard. This starts a cycle of tissue damage, muscle tenderness, and pain.
The position of one’s teeth also affects the position of the jaw joints. When working correctly, the ball and socket do not actually touch because a thin disc of cartilage rides between them. The disc is a cushion and allows the joint to move smoothly. If the bite is not right, the joint is pulled out of alignment. The joint itself is now rubbing against the bone and pressing on pain fibers. Mild displacements can cause a clicking or popping sound; more severe displacements can be very painful and cause permanent damage to the joint.
The nerves in the mouth are very sensitive – some of the most sensitive nerves in the entire body. The biting surfaces support the jaws and send messages to and from the muscles via the nerves. A problem in that delivery system can cause problems for various parts of the body.
Finding the appropriate solution can be difficult when the pain is manifested in a variety of symptoms that might actually mask the root of the problem. If routine medical testing is not providing answers to your pain and health problem, it may be a dental issue.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described it is important to seek medical attention. Dr. Patel is happy discuss your symptoms and treatment options, as well as answer any questions you might have.