In orthodontics, the misalignment of jaws is a common problem that can affect people of all ages and significantly impact their quality of life. It can cause various issues, such as difficulty chewing, pain in the jaw, headaches, and even speech issues. But what causes a misaligned jaw in the first place? Explore the various causes of a misaligned jaw and the treatments available to help people get back to living a comfortable life.
Misaligned Jaws & Orthodontics
Some might be surprised to know that orthodontics not only specializes in misaligned teeth – but also misaligned jaws. A misaligned jaw, or malocclusion, is a condition where the upper and lower jaws don’t fit together correctly. It can result in a bite that is either too deep or too shallow. Or, the teeth may not come together at all. It can also affect the shape and position of the jaw and face. Such a condition can be either inherited or acquired, and various factors can cause it.
Causes of a Misaligned Jaws
The most common cause of a misaligned jaw is an abnormality in the jaw structure itself. It can be due to an irregular growth pattern or an abnormality in the jaw joint. Other causes include dental problems such as crooked teeth, missing teeth, or overcrowding, which can lead to jaw misalignment. In some cases, an injury or trauma to the jaw can also cause misalignment. It can be due to a car accident, sports injury, or even a fall. In addition, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis or a tumour, can also cause jaw misalignment.
Signs of a Misaligned Jaw
Several signs may indicate a misaligned jaw. These include difficulty or pain when opening or closing the mouth, a clicking or popping sound when eating or talking, and pain or discomfort in the jaw or face. Other signs that may suggest a misaligned jaw include:
- A large overbite or underbite
- A protruding or receding chin
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
Risk Factors for Developing a Misaligned Jaw
If you notice any signs of a misaligned jaw, it’s important to understand its risks. Several risk factors can increase the chances of developing a misaligned jaw. You sometimes can’t help if you have a misaligned jaw. It can include genetics, a family history of jaw misalignment, a large overbite or underbite, and a cleft lip or palate. In addition, certain medical conditions such as arthritis or a tumour can also increase the risk.
Orthodontic Options for Misaligned Jaws
Thankfully, you can align your jaw. That’s where orthodontic treatments come into the picture. For those with a misaligned jaw, orthodontic treatment is the best way to correct the problem and restore the jaw to its normal position. Orthodontists use braces, retainers, and other appliances to move the teeth into the correct position gradually. In some cases, surgery may be required to reposition the jaw. It all depends on the severity of how misaligned your jaw is to dictate what form of treatment would be the most effective.
Prevention of Misaligned Jaws
Practising good dental hygiene is the best way to prevent a misaligned jaw. Everyone should technically be practicing good oral hygiene. However, it’s a consistent measure that can ensure your teeth remain straight and healthy. How can you accomplish this? What does a good oral hygiene routine look like exactly? That includes brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, eating a balanced diet, avoiding sugary or starchy foods, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups. In addition, wearing a mouth guard while playing sports or engaging in other activities can help protect the teeth and jaw from injury. Contact sports like football and hockey can increase that risk, so it’s imperative you not only have your mouthguard on hand – but keep it clean as well!
A misaligned jaw can cause various problems, from difficulty chewing and speaking to jaw pain and headaches. Fortunately, you can find orthodontic treatments to correct the misalignment and restore the jaw to its proper position. Understanding the causes and risk factors for a misaligned jaw and practicing good dental hygiene can help prevent the condition and ensure you have a healthy and comfortable jaw for years to come.