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RA or TMD?

Around 1.5 million Americans are living with a painful autoimmune condition known as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is the result of immune system attacks on the body's joints, which causes inflammation, pain, stiffness and even loss of use in some instances.

RA can affect all the joints of the body - including the jaw.

"The joints of the jaw are affected by RA, just like the knee or the hip or the back," said Dr. David Buck, an epigenetic dentist in Lynnwood, Wash.

The jaw joints, known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, hinge the lower jaw to the skull and allow it to open and close, move side to side, and move up and down.

If these joints are affected by RA, the results are painful.

"People living with RA that affects their jaw often experience pain when just talking, chewing or yawning," Buck said.

Other effects include tenderness, stiffness and crepitus, the medical term for the cracking, snapping and popping of the TMJs. Severe cases can cause the jaw to be stuck or "locked" open or closed.

Some researchers estimate that nearly 90 percent of people living with RA have jaw problems because of the autoimmune disorder. Still, only a small percentage report their jaw symptoms to their doctors or dentists.

When the jaw is affected by RA, it usually occurs on both sides of the face.

Although RA can cause jaw pain, a more frequent cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 10 million people in the United States are living with TMD and its uncomfortable side effects. Contributing factors to developing TMD include an unbalanced bite, injury or trauma to the jaw, clenching or grinding of the teeth, posture problems, and stress.

"TMD causes symptoms such as pain and stiffness, crepitus, and limited movement in the jaw," Buck said.

Other side effects include unexplained ear pain, headaches, facial pain, ringing in the ears, and pain in the back and neck.

So what is causing your pain: RA or TMD?

If your symptoms are only appearing in the jaw, it's like just TMD. But, if you have pain and stiffness in other joints, you may want to see a doctor to discuss your symptoms. Other signs of RA include a rash, feeling fatigued, anemia, loss of appetite, redness in your joints and a feeling of warmth in your joints.

Medical News Today. How can rheumatoid arthritis affect the jaw? 15 July 2019.

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Epigenetic Orthodontics can open and protect the airway enhancing breathing both during sleep and awake activities.

Dr. Buck practices a philosophy that integrates airway into all diagnosis and treatments. Dentistry has traditionally not considered the airway when planning dental treatments. Fortunately, today there is a rapidly growing movement that now recognizes how dentistry can have an impact on the airway which affects breathing during sleep. If dental treatments, including TMJ, orthopedic and orthodontics are well planned the result can be that the airway is protected or even enhanced. There is a clear link between underdeveloped and retruded jaws together with narrow dental arches that puts a patient at risk for sleep breathing disorders.

Please visit this site for more information; Airway Health

WOW! A 54% decrease in forward head posture; 164% increase in the antero-posterior size of the airway; 176% increase in the lateral size of the airway all from epigenetically centered jaw development orthopedics. This is the future of orthodontics!​