Dental Trauma and Myofacial Release

Dental Trauma and Myofascial Release

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Written by Laura Probert, MPT

John F. Barnes Myofascial Release is a hands-on healing technique that can help you heal from past or recent dental trauma. The powerful combination of pressure and stretch to the three dimensional, head to toe connective tissue system in your body called fascia, coming from a centered, skilled practitioner, can be the missing link you’ve been waiting for if you continue to suffer from head, neck, tooth or facial pain.
I started learning about how to treat tempomandibular (TMJ) problems and related disorders many years ago but it wasn’t until I began practicing MFR, a more holistic, mind-body-spirit approach, that I started to get excellent results. I believe practitioners miss important aspects of this problem because they disregard how the entire body system works together. If you only treat the jaw you’ll end up with temporary results at best, because many jaw problems originate from somewhere else in the body.
When we assess and treat the whole system, we are looking at the web of fascia and all of its connections, including any restrictions in that tissue that cause tightness, pain or injury. The whole system includes the entire body, head to toe, but also includes the entire being, mind, body and spirit. If we separate the body from the mind, feelings, emotions and sensations it has, we’ll be missing a huge opportunity for healing.
The fascia has memory. When someone incurs an injury, surgery or other trauma, the energy created during that trauma gets lodged in the tissue, sometimes getting stuck there for years or even decades if it isn’t given the proper chance to release and heal. This goes for any trauma, not just dental trauma. Please take a look at some of the excellent resources at for more information and studies that have been done about these topics.

When a patient shows up to my clinic with a diagnosis of TMD (Tempomandibular Disorder) it usually means they suffer from some kind of jaw, tooth or facial pain, but rarely has anyone ever taken a look at the entire system and/or the complex history that preceded their pain. Pain in the jaw can come from alignment issues in the jaw, but it can also be caused by alignment issues in the low back and sacrum. A skilled, holistic practitioner will be looking at how all of those pieces of the puzzle go together.

Lifestyle, postural issues and stress all play a role in jaw problems as well. Another part of treating these problems is talking to and educating patients about the steps they can take to address these things. If treatment doesn’t address stress or postural habits, results will most likely be only temporary.

Dental trauma can include things like painful novocaine shots, cavity filling procedures, and/or tooth, gum or jaw surgery. It can even come from having braces or other dental appliances. And it can be caused by a direct blow, or other injury or accident. All of these examples happen to a system though. If you separate the head/jaw from the rest of the body when assessing or treating, you’ll be doing your patient a disservice. One part does not work independently from the others.

Because the head and neck sit on top of a spine, and that entire system is mobile, the head, neck and jaw are constantly adjusting to what their base of support is doing. If there is a restriction, alignment issue or compensatory pattern happening in the lower body, the head and neck are automatically involved.
And because the body is governed by a spirit, whose mind is constantly challenged with the different stresses and experiences (including traumas) of life, you can’t separate those things from each other either. If we, as healers, don’t take into consideration the mind and spirit of the individual we are treating, we’re missing the point of authentic healing.

If you’ve suffered any kind of dental trauma in the past and are still experiencing symptoms related to it despite the multiple specialists you’ve seen, don’t lose hope. Myofascial Release could be the answer.
Laura Probert, MPT is a holistic physical therapist, published author, inspirational teacher, poet, and black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She’s serious about integrating mind, body and soul as a journey to passion and power and it’s her mission to show you how. You can find her writing featured in places like The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Best Self Magazine, The Wellness Universe, Wild Sister Magazine,, Tiny Buddha and The Elephant Journal. Find her books and programs at and