Jaw misalignment is a dental condition which can interfere with speaking, eating, sleeping, and breathing. The condition can cause severe discomfort and pain even when the jaw is stationary. Jaw misalignment can also interfere with the shape of the face and dent an individual’s self-confidence. The condition increases the risk of development of other jaw irregularities and accelerates the wearing off of teeth.
What are the consequences of jaw misalignment?
Defective bites are a common consequence of jaw misalignment which can significantly deteriorate the oral health. There are two types of biting defects caused due to jaw misalignment:
The condition is characterized by upper teeth overlapping the lower teeth. Apart from a disoriented smile, overbite can cause gum damage, tooth wear, sleep apnea, jaw pain, and difficulty in speaking and chewing. The manifestation of the symptoms makes it necessary for patients to undergo the necessary procedures for jaw correction.
In this condition, the lower teeth extend outward beyond the upper teeth causing a bulldog-like appearance in severe cases. While the condition distorts the smile, it can also give rise to an array of oral health problems such as chronic pain, and difficulty in eating, speaking and chewing food.
What are the symptoms of a misaligned jaw?
Symptoms of jaw misalignment vary from patient to patient based on the severity of the condition. However, common symptoms observed are:
Misalignment in the upper and lower jaws impacts the complex joint that joins the two structures together causing chronic pain in the temple and joint area. The condition can also cause severe pain in the shoulder and back.
Misaligned jaws can force patients to breathe through the mouth which, in turn, can lead to the development of complicated health problems such as sleep apnea.
Overbite and underbite results in an uneven face structure which can impact the self-confidence and self-esteem of individuals.
What are the causes of jaw misalignment?
Injury to the Jaw
An injury to the jaw can fracture, dislocate or break the jaw. Patients may require to undergo surgery to correct the misalignment and damage caused due to the injury.
TMD or temporomandibular joint disorders are conditions related to the joint joining the lower jaw to the upper jaw. The problems related to the joint and the muscles surrounding it can result in jaw misalignment.
Certain people are often born with misaligned jaws. Additionally, childhood habits such as thumb sucking, prolonged use of a pacifier, long-term feeding from a bottle can further amplify the problem and contribute to jaw misalignment.
Uneven Teeth Alignment
A misaligned jaw can be a result of uneven teeth alignment which does not allow the jaws to settle in the correct position.
What are the jaw corrective treatments?
Misaligned teeth can be corrected using braces. Braces are a standard method for treatment of crooked and overcrowded teeth which eventually aids in the treatment of misaligned jaw. In this procedure, dentists cement brackets to the teeth and connect them together with a wire. Over the years, the wire is tightened to correct teeth positioning and obtain evenly aligned teeth. This allows the jaw to settle into place thus correcting the misaligned jaw.
Severe jaw misalignment which cannot be corrected using regular braces can be dealt with using headgear braces. Two sets of braces in retraction headgear and protraction headgear are used to correct the positioning of the upper and lower jaws. The retraction headgear works by pushing the upper jaw backward while the protraction headgear moves the jaw forward. Both sets of braces are fixed in position using external and internal wiring and one or two straps fit over the head. The patient is required to wear the braces for 12 to 14 hours a day.
Upper Jaw Expander
Used to correct underbite, the upper jaw expander fits onto the upper mouth palate and is expanded slightly every night using a key. Generally, the device corrects underbite in approximately a year.
Moderate jaw misalignment can be treated using cosmetic dentistry procedures. The most common set of procedures used to counter jaw misalignment is reshaping of lower teeth coupled with the application of veneers on the upper to make the misalignment less noticeable and enhance appearance.
Orthognathic or jaw surgery is used in cases of severe jaw misalignment where orthodontics fail to produce the desired result. The invasive procedure involves the use of wires, screws, and rubber which are used to secure the bones in their new position and eventually become a part of the bone structure. Surgery may also involve the addition of extra bone or their reshaping to fix misalignment. The procedure overcomes all the problems that may arise due to jaw misalignment.
We, at Bliss Dentistry of Campbell, California, cater to all your needs pertaining to dental services and routine exams. Our Campbell dentists with their entire team persevere to provide you with exceptional treatment that enhances and maintains the beauty of your smile. If you have any further question, queries or dental emergencies and are looking for an experienced dentist in the South Bay Area, feel free to contact us at (408) 963-6678 to schedule an appointment.