A general dentist is responsible for providing routine oral care to patients of all ages. Routine oral care typically involves cleanings, examinations, fluoride application, and x-rays. X-rays are typically the easiest part of routine oral care, however, they can often get skipped or overlooked. Keep reading to find out why a general dentist recommends getting…
Your Jaw Pain May Be Caused by Misaligned Teeth
Jaw pain is usually symptomized by throbbing pain. It can start abruptly, or mildly at first and worsen over time. Regardless, the symptoms depend on the origin of the pain. Knowing the causative agent is the first course of action in treating this condition. One of the most common causes of jaw pain is misaligned teeth, otherwise known as malocclusion.
Jaw pain is a sign that there is something wrong with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). These joints are two on the jaw and are positioned bilaterally in front of the ears. The joint combines a hinge and gliding joint mechanism to gain a wide and smooth range of motion. The joint contains a complex layer of tissues and fluids that support and move the jaw.
How do misaligned teeth affect the jaw?
The jaw joints are triggered by every activity in the oral cavity, including chewing, brushing and sucking. Depending on the severity of the misalignment, one side of the mouth may suffer extra biting pressure than the other side. An uneven bite can strain your jaw muscle and jaw joints. It can also cause your jaw to move far too forward when biting. All of these can lead to jaw pain.
Many people opt for orthodontic treatment simply to correct the crooked teeth that they are not proud of. However, not many people are concerned about their smile’s appearance enough to dedicate the time and energy of getting braces or other orthodontic treatments to change their appearance. They would prefer to live instead with uneven teeth.
What many people do not understand, however, is that the effects of misaligned teeth are not just cosmetic. Misaligned teeth can cause different health issues, from mildly uncomfortable symptoms to serious complications. Teeth that are not correctly aligned can cause joint pain and may cause discomfort with eating and speaking. If you have crooked teeth, you can correct this in many ways.
Correcting teeth misalignment
Correcting malocclusion depends on the situation of the patient, but a dental misalignment can be treated in three major ways:
- Muscle relaxation therapy: Stress management techniques that include muscle relaxation therapy can be used to relax the TMJ joint naturally
- Braces and palate expanders: Braces are used to align the teeth over time. Adults who are concerned about the unsightly appearance of traditional braces can opt for Invisalign clear aligners
- Surgery: If the misalignment is too severe and refuses to respond to other traditional treatment, reconstructive surgery may be the final resort
Any jaw pain that persists for more than a few hours at a time or occurs continuously needs medical attention. Many treatments are available for treating jaw pain, and they mostly entail dental care.
The first decision would be to consult a dentist to know if the pain is caused by misaligned teeth, offset jaw, or a dental issue such as a cavity, decay or oral injury. The dentist will also detect if the pain is originating from a bone problem, a nerve issue or if the tissues surrounding the jaw are affected in any way.
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