"If we examine the embryonic development of the elaborate and exquisite "control" system of the human body, we must at least acknowledge the possibility, if not the certainty, of a feed-back loop whereby the gnathologic system plays a very important role in the control of all body processes and functions." Dr. David R. Wooten
The exquisite control system of the human body begins to develop during the 4th week of embryonic life. A structure called the neural plate folds into a tube and detaches from the general ectoderm of the embryo. This "control system" precursor has two parts: the "neural crest," and the "neural tube." The cells from the neural crest divide and differentiate and their derivatives are found throughout the human body, but their designated function is to gather information from both inside and outside the body and to supply that information to the neural tube derivatives. The neural tube derivatives are not scattered throughout the body, but are concentrated in what might be called a "command center" whose function it is to monitor and compile all the information supplied to it by the neural crest derivatives, and then to direct the response of quadrillions of other cells, structures, organs, and systems which make up the human body.
Now lets examine specifically what structures are derived from the neural tube and whose responsibility it is to monitor and compile information and to direct the response of the total body. As one might expect, neural tube derivatives include the brain, the spinal cord, and what we call the central nervous system. When we think of the function of the pituitary gland, and its function as the "master gland" whose job it is to direct the other glands, we might suspect it of being of neural tube origin. So it is. It is apparent how all these structures fit so perfectly into the picture. But, wait a moment. What about the remaining structures which are derived from the neural tube: the mid-nose, the pre-maxilla, and the four maxillary incisor teeth? Could it be that they also have a responsibility of receiving and compiling information and directing the action of other parts of the body? Is it merely a coincidence, that a very disproportional number of people who suffer from TMJ dysfunction also have an underdeveloped pre-maxilla? I think NOT!
What about the derivative of the neural crest? These derivatives include all types of specialized sensory receptors (Golgi apparatus, Satellite cells, Schwann cells, End Organ cells, etc.) and the entire balance of the nervous system. Of course, all the remaining hormonal glands are also derived from the neural crest. Also, the entire balance of the dental system comes from the neural crest. Could it be that the dental system also has the responsibility of gathering information and supplying it to the "command center" as do the nerves, sensory receptors, and hormonal glands? That is quite a humbling thought, especially if you are a dentist.
It is such a neat package. The sensory receptors, the peripheral nervous system, the hormonal glands, and the dental system gather all sorts of data and information and supply it to the "command center" which is composed of the brain, spinal cord, the entire central nervous system, the master pituitary gland, the mid-nose, the premaxilla and the four maxillary incisor teeth, which, in turn, process the information and direct the body to respond.
This look at the embryological development is so revealing as to the importance of the dental structures and how their ideal positions and optimal condition may have dramatic effects on the health of the entire body. It also may explain why so many of the symptoms associated with TMJ dysfunction seem to be unrelated to the jaw joint.