A well developed dental complex, one good arch form and proper vertical transverse, and sagittal tooth and jaw position is essential to assisting the craniosacral mechanism. Man swallows twice a minute during his waking period and once a minute while sleeping.

This amounts to 2400 occlusal contacts during a 24 hour period. This number is higher in one adds in the increased occlusal contacts results from mastication.

The average individual exerts approximately 3½ pounds of pressure during the act of swallowing. This amounts to over 3½ tons of pressure being absorbed by the cranium during a 24 hour period. During chewing, forces between 300 to 400 pounds can be generated in the molar areas. These great forces-directed by a malocclusion-will have a definite negative influence on the craniosacral mechanism.

One of the primary etiologic factors with Craniomandibular Somatic Dysfunction patients is the fact that these patients have lost vertical dimension-loss of jaw height due to lack of normal eruption of the natural dentition or loss of molar and bicuspid teeth or severe attrition of
the occlusal biting surfaces Lack of vertical dimension and adequate tooth contact reduces the amplitude of the sphenobasilar flexion.

The forces generated by the masticatory muscles are reduced when they are not at the physiologic length. A decreased vertical jaw position will collapse a muscle, lessening its contractible force. and will initiate spasm, affect the function of the bony parts to which it is attached and introduce noxious impulses into the nervous system. Stomatognathic imbalances place tremendous noxious stimuli into the nervous system on a 24- hour a day seven-day-a-week basis, and will take its toll as soon as the body's adaptive mechanism begin to fail.

This author believes that a good dental occlusion with a physiologic vertical dimension provides a major self-correction mechanism for balancing cranial bone motion and, in addition, exercises cranial sutures and enhances the craniosacral mechanism to insure the individual's health.



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