Temporomandibular Joint Comfort
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is an integral part of whole body balance and physiology. Therefore, maximizing TMJ comfort is key to equine oral dynamics. Muscle balance throughout the body is modified and controlled through the TMJ and the function of its suspending muscles. All postural and positional changes of the jaw have multiple effects on structure and function. The horse needs his head to ac as a gyroscope, facilitating the fight or flight responses. The TMJ position tells the rest of the body where the head is positioned acting as central routing center. Dysfunction of the cranial, TMJ, upper cervical or sacral system will profoundly affect the balance of the whole animal, mechanically, physiologically, and emotionally. Unfortunately, pathology in the horse’s mouth can impact the TMJ and create cascading changes down the line. Conversely, problems elsewhere in the body stress the TMJ, and cause unwanted tooth pathology.
Please check out this link on Thermal Imaging of the TMJ. It is really cool stuff.
Please see the article written by Dr. Heather Mack on TMJ "The Master Link" a really good article
These pictures below are of a horse with discomfort throughout its entire body verses a horse whom is comfortable throughout it whole body.
Verses a comfortable horse at work