Variations in body posture and dental occlusion are virtually infinite. The majority of population has some sort of body posture issue, while a large number of dental patients complain about forms of occlusal disorders, accompanied or not with TMD pain. Is there any connection between the two problems? Although there isn’t any scientifically proven evidence to clearly support the theory that there may be some common cause for the association of the two abnormalities, the occurrences of occluso-postural deviations in dental patients suggests that one may trigger the other as the body keeps trying to compensate for the difference in order to achieve some form of body balance. Incongruous jaws, faulty static position and wrong chewing that occur directly as a result of bad head posture are far from being the most common cause of dental malocclusion. The connection between bad posture and occlusal disorders is of a more subtle and intricate nature.
New aspects of dental ergonomics
Ergonomics has recently developed into a trendy science on its own: we often talk about body ergonomics (a set of rules to improve your overall posture) and ergonomics in sports equipment, office furniture, keyboards, chairs, cars, and all sorts of tools that sometimes include the unexpected (pens, lighters, or coffee cups designs that minimize muscle strain and adjust human form in a more natural way). When we hear the term ergonomics in relation with dental care and dental practice, we tend to think of modern dental office design and comfortable dental chairs, and, sometimes, at dental tools and dental office spaces designed to minimize musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive motion, stress, and posture in dental practitioners.
Now: can ergonomics address and improve occlusal problems in dental patients? Theoretically, and up to a point, yes! You will definitely not improve your bite by using an adjustable split keyboard, but you can lower the risks of developing occlusal disorders by paying attention to your general body posture and behavior. Dental ergonomics no longer refers exclusively to user friendly dental equipment and dental practitioners training meant to keep them away from severe back pain: it also refers to encouraging dental patients to maintain healthy body balance.