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Straight Teeth Talk: New treatment can make world of difference

By Victoria Advocate
Oct. 5, 2010 at 5:05 a.m.

Mac Lee

By Mac Lee

A normal head weighs about 10 plus pounds. This "bowling ball" is held in place by muscles, ligaments and the Atlas bone. Yes, this major bone has the same name as the Greek god who held up the world and since our heads are our world, I feel it's the perfect name. As the dental profession learns more on how to treat patients with bad bites, neck aches and headaches, it only makes sense to learn more about the neck, its bones and its muscles. As you can imagine, it is a very complicated system.

Dentists have known for many years that a bad bite can cause a lot of problems, such as headaches, neck aches and popping joints. Until recently, the dental profession has had limited treatment to the mouth via night guards and other oral appliances.

Now, I am learning about a specific type of chiropractic treatment limited to the neck only. These specialists are called Upper Cervical Chiropractors and specialize on the bones of the neck. They believe if the Atlas is out of balance, serious side effects can occur and when a bad bite is added to the formula, the situation only becomes worse.

Before I refer my patients to any other doctor, especially one with a new technique, I feel I need to personally check them out, and it just so happened that I have been having problems with my neck and right ear area.

When doing dentistry, I wear a heavy surgical light and magnifying glasses, which adds several pounds to the weight of my head. I found a group in Austin and made my appointment.

The first thing my chiropractor did, was lay me on my back and check the length of my legs. She said that my right leg was ¾-inch shorter than the left. Other measurements found that my head tilted to the left about four degrees, my left hip was lower than my right, and I was putting 25 more pounds of pressure on my right foot than on my left.

The radiographs showed my neck bones were in pretty good shape, but my Atlas had shifted. She started treatment that surprisingly only occurred at the base of my left skull, below the ear and behind the jaw. There was no neck stretching or popping, only a steady, heavy kneading pressure in that area. She never touched another spot, but she certainly worked up a sweat working on me. Her goal was to shift the Atlas back to its proper place, via manipulation.

Every 20 minutes or so, she would stop to measure leg length, weight distribution, etc. After an hour of manipulation, I was almost completely balanced, according to her measurements. Has it made a difference? My neck is now free of knots, and my ear feels much, much better. Is this the answer to all headaches, neck aches and joint popping? Certainly not. Because no one has all the answers, but it is a great start.

Stay tuned, as I learn more. I will be checking out a doctor in Houston that has been referred to me by some really sharp dentists. This person deals in Bio Cranial Therapy. My dentist friends have been having tremendous success in working hand in hand with this new-to-me technique.

Mac Lee is a dentist in practice in Edna. He is the co-founder of Dentists Who Care, a national movement to educate the public on modern dentistry. If you have dental questions you can call him at 361-782-7191or visit him at www.drmaclee.com.

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