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The little-known dental problems that could be behind many body pains

A large percentage of the world’s population tends to use one side of the teeth. “Normally people prefer to use both sides, but sometimes they may not have teeth on one side, says Dr. Renju.

Published: 01st September 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2019 02:41 PM   |  A+A-

Dr Renju Jose

Dr Renju Jose (Photo | Albin Mathew, EPS)

Businessman Bobby Mana sat in Dr Renju Jose’s clinic at Kochi. When the doctor pressed his left shoulder, he yelled in pain.

“I have been suffering from this pain for the last 15 years. I have consulted many orthopaedic doctors and neurologists, but no solution has been found.”  Dr Renju nodded and then switched on a Digital Bite Scan. This machine is used along with an electromyogram, to detect the pressure points when the upper teeth hit the lower ones.  

On scanning Bobby’s mouth it was observed that the latter was using his left side to chew 80 per cent of the food while it was only 20 per cent on the right.

There was heavy pressure on Bobby’s last molar. Dr Renju polished away the excessive ceramic on a bridge on the left side so that the upper and the lower teeth could smoothly hit each other.

The next morning Bobby said that he was now consciously using the right side of the mouth while chewing, and reported that his shoulder pain has disappeared. Dr Renju smiles and says, 

“It took only 10 hours to solve Bobby’s ailment.”  When people suffer persistently from headaches, back, neck and shoulder muscle pains, and nothing shows in X-Rays and MRI scans, it could be a little-known dental problem called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

A large percentage of the world’s population tends to use one side of the teeth. “Normally people prefer to use both sides, but sometimes they may not have teeth on one side. Or one tooth may have been removed. Then the biting shifts to the other side,” says Dr Renju.  

Even without biting, the jaws and the teeth are under tremendous pressure. When we swallow our saliva, we are unconsciously biting our teeth together. This happens around 5, 000 times in the day, as well as the night.

“So there is tremendous pressure on the muscles. There is no time to rest and recover,” says the doctor.  As a result, the muscles produce lactic acid which causes the pain that spreads to the head, neck, shoulders and the back. 

One can also suffer from migraines, vertigo (falling down), numbness in arms, pain behind the eyes, and tinnitus (buzzing in the ears).   

However, Dr Renju claims that not many doctors are aware of TMJ and the treatments available for it. “In India less than a hundred doctors know about TMJ.

There is an urgent need to spread awareness among doctors as well as the public,” he concludes. 



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