Do you ever experience pain in your jaw, headache, or difficulty when you open and close your mouth? If so, you could be dealing with jaw misalignment. This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and treatments for misaligned jaw. So, let’s dive in and get to the root of your jaw pain!
What is Jaw Misalignment?
Jaw misalignment, also known as malocclusion, is a dental issue that occurs when the upper and lower jaws are not correctly aligned with each other. This can cause problems like difficulty speaking and eating, headaches, and jaw pain.
Common misaligned jaw symptoms include difficulty opening your mouth wide, difficulty chewing, clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, facial pain, and headaches. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help correct your crooked jaw. You can get the help you need by visiting a good dentist or orthodontist.
What are the Causes of a Misaligned Jaw?
There are many potential causes of jaw misalignment, but here are the 6 most common:
- TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) affect the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and lead to pain, headaches, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth, sometimes leading to jaw misalignment.
- Trauma: Trauma to the face or jaw could cause a sudden misaligned jaw. This is especially true for sports-related injuries, dental work done incorrectly, or even a car accident.
- Birth Defect: Some children are born with a misaligned jaw due to a birth defect. This type of malocclusion is usually genetic and can be passed down from parents to children.
- Teeth Misalignment: When the teeth are not properly aligned, the jaw can also become misaligned. This is especially true when there are issues with the bite, such as underbite or overbite.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is a condition where the person grinds or clenches their teeth. This can put stress on the jaw and cause it to become crooked.
- Childhood Habits: Habits such as mouth breathing, thumb sucking, and excessive pacifier use can all lead to jaw misalignment.
How to Fix a Misaligned Jaw?
When you visit your orthodontist, they assess your condition and recommend the best-suited misaligned jaw treatment for you. Here are some of the most common options:
The most common way to fix a misaligned jaw is with orthodontic treatments. So, let’s start with them!
Braces are one of the most widely used misaligned jaw treatments. The orthodontist attaches brackets to your teeth, then uses wires and elastics to move them into their correct position.
- Clear Aligners
Clear aligners are made of a clear plastic material designed to fit snugly over your teeth, gradually shifting them into their correct position. And they do it discreetly, unlike the visible metal braces!
- Orthodontic Headgear
Headgear is made up of straps that attach to your headgear and your teeth and can be used to move the jaw into the correct position.
- Orthodontic Surgery
If braces and clear aligners are insufficient to correct your jaw misalignment, orthodontic surgery may be a viable option.
- MJ Surgery
MJ surgery is a type of misaligned jaw surgery during which the orthodontist will reshape the jawbone to align it with the rest of the face.
Genioplasty is a type of jaw surgery that involves reshaping the chin bone in order to bring the jaw into alignment.
Osteotomy involves cutting and reshaping the jawbone in order to bring the jaw into alignment.
- Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is another option for correcting a misaligned jaw. A cosmetic dentist can use various techniques, such as veneers and tooth whitening, to improve the appearance of your smile.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is another option for correcting misalignment. This involves exercises that help strengthen and stretch the muscles of the face and neck.
How to Manage Jaw Pain?
If you are dealing with jaw pain, one of the most troublesome misaligned jaw symptoms, some simple tips can help.
- First, try to avoid eating foods that are chewy or sticky – like gum.
- You can also try applying heat to the painful area or gently massaging it to help loosen up your jaw.
- Additionally, be mindful of involuntary behaviors like mouth breathing or bruxism.
If your jaw problems are predominantly on one side, try not to sleep on that side.
With these tips, hopefully, you can find relief from your jaw pain!
Are you ready to get the straight, confident smile you’ve always dreamed of? Dr. Satish Pai can help you make it happen! Don’t wait any longer! Get the most renowned orthodontic care in Carmel Hamlet and Briarcliff Manor – Book your appointment today!