I am a dentist who recently received training in the treatment of the Bio Cranial™ System. In both theory and in practice, it appears to be the best form of treatment to date to restore the vital force so eloquently described by Dr. Robert Boyd. As I sat in the training seminar and reviewed the written and lecture materials, this newfound knowledge was applied to a brain that has been in “dental” mode for the past 30 years. Knowledge is a wonderful thing for us human beings to ponder, yet I realized that most of the students in the class were of the chiropractic mindset with a very limited background in dentistry. I, of course, was limited in the direct manipulation of various bony joints except for the Temporal Mandibular Joint.
It is my firm belief that oral health is directly related to general health, and along with Bio Cranial™ constitutes a “dynamic duo.” It is not the purpose of this writing to go into the oral pathology connection related to health; however, our Bio Cranial™ practitioners should be cognizant of the need to address this oral pathology connection. Perhaps this can be included in future training and/or updated along with Continued Professional Development (CPDs) offered by CDS Institute, LLC. So let’s “cut to the chase” of bringing an idea forward that may be of some benefit to the Bio Cranial™ patient.
First, let us review some history and facts familiar to me. I was personally introduced to cranial sacral therapy in the mid 90’s by traveling to a practitioner in a small Pennsylvania town near New York City, which is about a 14 hour drive from Chicago. I wanted the best for my family, and my wife suffered from severe neck trauma from her birthing experience (discovered by this cranial sacral therapist).
This therapy, as I now understand, was that of the Sutherland and Upledger school of thought. That is: skull bones move and that a primary respiratory mechanism exists detected by the cerebral spinal fluid rhythm. In dental school as well as common medical knowledge, it was taught that skull bones do not move. Surely, by January of 2008 (or even by 1995), it was my presumption that everyone in the health sciences knew that skull bones moved, right? As has proved out, my presumption was and remains incorrect.
This simple fact concludes that everything that was studied “inside-the-box” about a given subject such as TMJ was skewed. It is like studying how to build a foundation on ground that constantly moves with the given presumption that ground does not move!
I consider myself very fortunate in life; learning the Bio Cranial™ theory from the writings of Dr. Boyd and the Bio Cranial™ system from the great instruction team of Maureen and Doug Hays is one reason.
My introduction to Bio Cranial™ came from my encounter with a private firm out of Chicago, which also endeavors to look after the interests of CDS Institute, LLC. They asked me if I’d like to check out a preview, and the next thing I know….I’m in Missouri. It is so often the chance events that guide our compass right back onto the trail of our passions which drive our occupational pursuits. It has been said,when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive. The mentors have clearly arrived, yet it is my responsibility to be a good student.
The Temporal Mandibular Joint has caused many a problem in our world today. The joint itself is a magnificent design by our Creator, allowing our bodies to eat and speak, create and display facial expressions; it is an instrument of romance and all of the above things most enjoyable as humans. When things are not working right with the TMJ, life can become miserable bringing the patient in for correction. If skull bones move and the TMJ is connected to the skull then there must be some connection as to why this joint becomes dysfunctional in relationship to the cranium. Most dentists today do not consider this simple fact, and for many years I was no exception to the norm.
Ahhhh, the Irish connection! I am not of Irish descent, but the Luck-o-the-Irish seems to have been present in my path of learning these last two decades. In 1990, my very close (and Irish) friend and colleague introduced me to a therapy using a simple oral orthotic appliance called a Diagnostic Appliance (DA) which I have been using successfully in my practice. He, and later I, learned this technique from Dr. Lawrence Funt. Dr. Funt treated many a pain patient in the Washington Dr. Janet Travell for whom he attributes this treatment using Trigger Point Release Therapy and the eventual development of the DA appliance.
An excellent pioneer study in the relationship between dental procedures and its effects upon cranial-spinal position and posture, “The Dental Physician,” was written by Dr. Alred Fonder. Had Dr. Fonder gone just a little bit further he’d have probably realized the contact point’s relevance to the connections he was finding between the traditionally deemed unrelated parts of the entire vessel. Ironically, it was his grandson who led me to Dr. Boyd. I digress into the histories to only augment the Luck-o-the-Irish Doctor whose fortune was to find, and whose keen genius and vision was to see Bio Cranial™.
This DA appliance is made of a flexible and resilient compound that fits over the back teeth, allowing the muscles of mastication to relax. We won’t go into specifics, but the fact that it is resilient and flexed with the occlusion is most remarkable since it can “go with the flow.” That flow is cranial movement.
This factors the key reasons I believe hard appliances fail: First, the lab accuracy of fit is less than perfect due to acrylic polymerization distortion. Second, acrylic is hard and unforgiving requiring an infinitesimal amount of adjusting. Third, skull bones move, therefore so does the TMJ – more adjusting. Fourth, it violates the freeway space (the area between the teeth when the jaw is at rest) stimulating more grinding.
I do not claim to be a TMJ “expert,” yet this DA appliance therapy has allowed me to help many of my patients without such drastic measures as grinding all of their teeth down or placing invasive (and lucrative) “caps” on all of their teeth. One of the benefits of this DA soft appliance is the creation of a stretch of the LATERAL PTERYGOID MUSCLE. (Plate 1)
This muscle attaches distally from the TMJ meniscus (upper belly) and the mandibular condyle (lower belly) and medial anteriority to the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone. Ring a bell? It did for me.
In other words, when this appliance is in place, a contraction of the masseter muscle creates a distal pull upon the inferior “lever” of the sphenoid bone(pterygoid process) creating an action favorable or facilitating FLEXION!
In short review, this DA appliance creates a fulcrum at the level of the second molars. In and the mandible closes or contracts by action of (predominantly) the inferiorly and the condyle moves inferiorly and distally. Again, this creates a downward and distal pull upon the pterygoid process (Plate 5), thereby facilitating FLEXION.
The MEDIAL PTERYGOID MUSCLE is also involved in the distal “pull” upon the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone (lever) during this closure of the mandible.
Now let’s take a look at what happens to the other skull bones during contraction of the masseter and temporalis muscles which could inhibit the effects of skull flexion. It is my understanding that during flexion, the temporal bone moves laterally (away from the midline) as well as rotating counterclockwise as viewed from the right side (the anterior portion of the temporal bone moves superiorly)(Plate 7).
It would seem logical based on muscle attachments that contraction of the masseter muscle would create a lateral and clockwise (anterior moves inferior) movement of the temporal bone. Partially for and partially against flexion. The temporalis muscle would create the same effect on the temporal bone as the masseter muscle when contracted.
It appears conclusive to me that the net effect of all of the above actions would facilitate FLEXION, especially during the Bio Cranial™ procedure. The Bio Cranial™ procedure is a well thought out therapeutic action upon the occipital bone. Using the principles of cranial bone movement, it was designed to be a simple and effective flexion of the sphenoid basal symphasis (SBS). Query whether the adoption of an additional step to the procedure, one that is SIMPLE (i.e operator and patient friendly), would tend to enhance the final objective?
As above stated the use of a fulcrum placed between the teeth along with a moderate superior mandible closure force creates a distal pull upon the sphenoid lever. A simple way to achieve this action would be to place a COTTON ROLL, one on each right and left side, between the second molar teeth during the Bio Cranial™ procedure. The patient would need to apply only moderate pressure so as not to inhibit any cranial bone movement, yet gently enhance the flexion of the Bio Cranial™ procedure. Cotton rolls are cheap, disposable and sanitary. Also, they are resilient so as not to create greater pressure on one side over the other. The supplemental application of the appliance would be contraindicated in patients wearing either an upper or lower denture or both. Dentures may move and distort the corrective goal. Patients must have all four second molars in place or prosthetic ally replaced with a prosthesis such as with a partial denture to have a balanced enhancement of theBio Cranial™ procedure.
I cannot stress enough the childlike joy still jumping inside me since embarking on that trip to Springfield last January. To fully capture the enjoyment I have felt at this step in my journey is hard to communicate in that it seems so simple how I got from A to B, yet for some reason seemed to take such time. But that is the way of vitalism I suppose.
if it is simply, and freely,
given enough time.
Spending those four days amongst the caliber of peers, such as I was privileged to share company, gave me serious cause for thought. As a neophyte I defer all my observations in this essay to the boundaries of my agreed contract with my provider. I always am confident in the organization I joined that has welcomed my trade, my patients, and my imagination. I merely return the honor with my thoughts intended for review and/or application by mentors, scholars, and practitioners alike.