The position and movement of the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) effects the entire body, not just the TMJ itself.
In fact, you could say that the goal of Postural Restoration itself is to make sure the mandible is free to move from side to side without restriction.
The reason is simple: if the mandible is “free” to move, the body is free to move. The body just needs to be re-trained. Fortunately, most people’s mandible is free to move, and we don’t have to worry about it.
On the other hand, when mandibles are mispositioned or can not move without restriction, the rest of the body will be restricted. This is because of the how much neck musculature is directly or indirectly influenced by the position of the mandible.
The most problematic mandible position from a Postural Restoration perspective is when the jaw is shifted to the right. You see some examples below.
In all of the pictures above, the mandible is shifted to the right. This can be seen in two ways.
First, the midline of the bottom teeth is to the right of the midline of the top teeth.
Second, all show aberrant right canine contact that is not equal on the left side. Too much right canine contact is not good. Balanced canine contact is what we need.
When the mandible is shifted to the right, there is usually also a “twisting” going on in the cranium. In Postural Restoration, this is called a Right Torsion.
When this situation is occurring, PRI techniques will not work effectively. The mispositioned mandible and aberrant canine contact keep the very powerful and very neurological jaw musculature unbalanced.
The other issue is the anterior neck.
All of the muscles shown in the diagram above influence, or are influenced by, the mandible.
Thus, if the position of the mandible is shifted to one direction or another, the muscles of the anterior neck will be affected.
These neck muscles will then influence the position of the airway and ribcage and will thus lead to compensatory breathing patterns that can’t be shut down through normal PRI techniques.
In this situation, a dentist is usually needed to help figure out how to get the mandible back into a normal resting position, while the PRI therapist attempts to influence the rest of the body.
In the pictures above, my cranial scan is on the left. Do you think I really had a lateral pelvic tilt? Or did my fault mandible position cause distress throughout my entire body that led to a lateral pelvic tilt?
The same thing is occurring with the individual on the right.
Not every lateral pelvic tilt is caused by a mispositioned mandible, but a mispositioned mandible will cause problems somewhere in the body over time.