The Relationship between Dental Issues and Osteopathy
The musculoskeletal system of the body works to keep the eyes horizontally aligned; the head is key in converging with body posture to maintain this alignment. A misalignment in the jaw can cause posture dysfunction and numerous resulting symptoms. If the jaw is misaligned, jaw muscles have to work harder, thus getting fatigued. This in turn can lead to headaches, eye or sinus pain, pain in the neck, shoulder and back and sleep/breathing problems.
Furthermore, any dysfunction in the jaw/skull will lead to compensations of the spine and posture, causing lower body problems. It's not that unusual to find hip or knee issues originating from dental misalignment. Therefore, osteopathy and dentistry go hand in hand.
As an osteopath, I can do a simple test of how problems in occlusion (contact between the teeth, known as malocclusion when there’s a misalignment) are affecting the body. By having the patient bite down on a piece of paper in a way that compensates for the malocclusion, I often observe a noticeable difference in posture right away. In this case, I would refer the patient to a dentist for correction of the malocclusion. This underlying problem needs to be resolved or any treatment will only fix symptoms in the short term.
It is best for dental patients to consider an osteopathic check just before appointments to get their orthodontic appliances set. Many people live with minor cranial bone dysfunction without suffering pain or functional troubles in daily life (or they don’t notice it because they get used to it). But when setting an orthodontic appliance, it will freeze this dysfunction so that the body can no longer adapt itself and recover. As the result, not only will the dysfunction remain, but in many cases it will worsen. The osteopath can ensure the body is properly aligned before the orthodontic system is set. The dental and body realignment work together for better results and a smoother treatment process.
Osteopathy can also help orthodonture patients who begin experiencing symptoms like headache, sleeplessness, digestive issues and pain. The body often needs help adjusting to the changes done via the dental work. Ideally, the treatments should be done in coordination from the beginning. However, if this was not done, the dentist can consider referring to an osteopath when a patient complains of these symptoms during orthodontic treatment.
If you are experiencing pain or any other symptoms mentioned above, visit Body & Soul’s contact page to schedule an Osteopathic assessment. If you are undergoing orthodonture or planning to soon, we can develop a coordinated treatment plan for the best results.