Remember Sir Issac Newton and the the laws of motion? He also postulated that for “every action (of force) there is an equal and opposite action (of force). The string of hanging ball bearings that hit on one end and bounce the ball bearing out on the other is the prime example. Force of the first swinging ball bearing is sent through the other hanging bearings (which don’t move) and the last one in line swings out and up carrying the force with it.
Now to the TMJ. The Force of the muscles of mastication bring the teeth (a solid object) to hit each other and transfers energy to the Jaw Joint (TMJ) where it expresses itself causing tissue damage and pain. People who exert energy from muscles onto the teeth which they are clinching or grinding on, will shove the jaw joint up into the joint socket. That hurts!!! It is like the boxer who receives an upper cut from his opponent and then sees stars! Force through the boxing glove delivered to the jaw proceeds to the joint and causes pain and “stars” (often accompanied by little blue birds tweeting while they fly around the stars).
How do you stop the damage from the force (muscles). You have to bring harmony to a corrupt system (bad bite). The muscles are exerting this unnecessary excessive force due to a corrupt bite. That is a bite that is not in harmony with the normal closure arc of the jaw, i.e., the teeth are in the wrong places. The force increases in a effort to move the teeth but only destroys the teeth and making the muscles sore and painful for the effort. TMJ treatment is often accomplished with a neuromuscular orthotic. The NM orthotic is a temporary “false bite” but one that the muscles like. The force backs down and the pain often goes away.
Once the pain is gone, something more permanent will need to be done to maintain the “new” correct bite; but, that is another article.
Remember, those flat teeth you see in the mirror and the jaw that pops and hurts are the result of Sir Issac’s Newton’s laws of motion and force on display in your face and mouth.
My thanks to Dr. Norman Thomas, BDS, DDS, MB.BSc., PhD, FRCD, FADI, AAOMFPath, DAAPM, CMed.Ac
Professor at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies who gave this as an explanation of the Neuromuscular philosophy.