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In a healthy body the three dimensional planes through symmetrical parts of the skeletal structure should be parallel to each other and at right angles to the axis of gravity. If the body parts of the skeleton are level with each other and with the horizon the skeleton is in balance.

To maintain the ideal structural alignment of the body the biomechanics of the head, neck and craniomandibular system must be considered. There is a correlation between the maxilla (upper jaw), mandible (lower jaw), plane of occlusion (bite plane) and overall body posture. When the plane of occlusion and the position of the maxilla and mandible are in proper alignment, the head is better able to maintain the correct position in the structural alignment of the body.

Research has shown that jaw posture affects head posture which in turn affects overall structural posture. Body posture continually realigns and adjusts itself to carry the head level in relation to the ground.It is with this interrelationship of  the structures of the body that  the alignment of the mandible, maxilla and plane of occlusion are so important for optimal body function. They affect the structural alignment of the cranial bones (skull bones), cervical vertebra (neck) and pelvis which in turn affects the alignment of the lower extremities ie legs, knees, ankles and feet. Thus it can be seen that the alignment of the mandible, maxilla and plane of occlusion directly affects the neuromusculoskeletal system, craniocervical system, craniosacral mechanism (head, spine, pelvis mechanism), the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint formed by the temporal bone of the skull with the mandible. There are two temporomandibular joints, one in front of each ear. These joints move each time we talk, chew or swallow and play an integral part in the alignment of the mandible and the plane of occlusion. The TMJ is a sliding joint which allows the mandible to move smoothly up and down, side to side and forwards and backwards. Between the two bones that make up the temporomandibular joint is a cartilage disc whose main function is to protect and cushion the joint during functional movements. The cartilage disc is attached to a muscle and the two bones of the temporomandibular joint are held together by ligaments. Injuries to any of the structures associated with the temporomandibular joints may produce pain in the TMJ and/or refer pain to other structures. 

A TMJ disorder is a malfunction in the action of the jaw which is accompanied by pain in a lot of cases. The malfunction prevents the complex system of the muscles, bones and joints working together in harmony. The most common causes of temporomandibular joint disorders are trauma- either acute or chronic, whiplash, malocc lusion (bad bite), poor posture, clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism) and skeletal malformation. Airway impairment (inability to breathe correctly) due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies or anatomic deformities is a major cause of malocclusion, poor posture and teeth grinding which may lead to dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint.

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