Associated Medical Disorders to Dental Orthopedic Defects
Dental orthopedic therapy has been used for over a century to address a wide range of associated medical disorders. More commonly known is the use of splint therapy in addressing headaches and neck pain. But there are many other applications that are less well known. Numerous websites list the broad spectrum of medical disorders induced by dental orthopedic defects (e.g. see dentalphysician.com).
There is a long list of medical conditions that correlate with cranio-mandibular dysfunction, but are not known to be due to cranio-mandibular misalignment. Many of these conditions are in fact induced by the dental orthopedic defect and the subsequent increased trigeminal tonicity and induced physio-pathology. Many of the physio-pathological pathways are caused by little known pathways involving the trigeminal system.
One of the particularly unique aspects of the trigeminal system is its very high density of pain fibers (C fibers). It has been estimated that the c fibers are one hundred times more dense in the trigeminal nerve than any other nerve (four hundred times denser on the eye epithelium versus skin on arm). This aspect, along with other characteristics of the trigeminal nerve, cause trigeminal tonicity to have a major impact on systemic substance P levels, and thus systemic inflammation and hyper-sensitization (i.e. multiple disorders).
There are many pathways that become involved with dental orthopedic defects, but of particular significance is the trigeminal proprioceptive pathways (trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus). Trigeminal proprioceptors are the only sensory cell bodies in the brain, and being so placed, have a major influence on multiple brain pathways. Tonicity within the trigeminal proprioceptors (affected by dental orthopedic misalignment) affect systemic muscle tone, sensory integration within the reticular formation, modulate anxiety, modulate pineal gland, and numerous other pathways. Thus, jaw misalignment has the potential to induce many associated medical disorders.
Periodontal disease has been found to be associated with a number medical conditions (heart disease, some types of cancer, fetal development, kidney disease, diabetes, orthopedic implant failure). A direct connection has not been found between periodontal disease and these other conditions as researchers have not factored in dental orthopedic assessment and its induction of elevated substance P. When these factors are accounted for I believe there will be a direct relationship established.