TMJ, Dental Orthopedics, and Movement Disorders

The connection between TMJ, dental orthopedics, and movement disorders and jaw misalignment is rapidly being uncovered.  (Note: Definition of dental orthopedics: the assessment and treatment of jaw alignment)  The information is quickly being spread to TMJ treatment dentists (see article on movement disorders and TMJ). Regretfully, I am not aware of any academic institutions that have taken an interest in this discovery.  The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain has taken the lead in presenting the clinical research on movement disorders.

TMJ twin block appliances

dental orthopedic appliances

My own personal investigation into TMJ, dental orthopedics, and movement disorders has led me to a view somewhat different than a number of the articles published on movement disorders. I believe the primary pathology is caused by trigeminal proprioception impact on reticular formation sensory integration, rather than by direct trigeminal sensory input. A more thorough analysis of TMJ, dental orthopedics and movement disorders is covered on my supported website of

What seems to be often missing with dentists performing this treatment and the numerous articles is a thorough understanding of Biomechanical Principles of Occlusion and the jaw orthopedic splinting process. It is my expectation that jaw orthopedics as a specialty of dentistry will be elevated as the triad of TMJ, dental orthopedics, and movement disorders evolves. It is regretful that the orthodontic community has not pursued a more rigorous investigation of TMJ, dental orthopedics, dental medicine, and the application to movement disorders.

It must be recognized that TMJ dysfunction and movement disorders are both symptoms of an abnormal dental orthopedic relationship.  Clinical experience has shown that neuromuscular dental diagnostics are often not accurate on patients with long term accommodation (possibly termed contracture).  I am a strong advocate of the application of neuromuscular diagnostics, but I am always suspicious of the results and cross check them with other functional tests.

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