Misaligned Jaw: The How, What, and Why

A misaligned jaw and crooked teeth can cause more than cosmetic issues. If your jaws and teeth do not fit together correctly, you can experience complications that affect your overall health and well-being. Understanding the causes and effects of a misaligned jaw can help you make a well-informed decision about possible treatment options. 

If you have jaw pain or difficulty chewing, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive oral evaluation.

What is a Misaligned Jaw?

A misaligned or crooked jaw leads to your teeth not fitting together properly. Some minor misalignments might not be noticeable or cause any difficulties. However, more severe ones can cause headaches, clicking noises in your jaw, facial asymmetry, and diminished jaw mobility. Additionally, jaw misalignment can contribute to:

  • Prematurely worn teeth.

  • Dental decay and gum disease.

  • Chipped or fractured teeth.

  • TMJ disorders.

  • Bruxism or teeth grinding.

  • Cheek-biting.

The most common types of jaw misalignments include:

  • Overcrowding. Too little space exists in the jaws for the size of the teeth.

  • Spacing. Instead of lightly touching each other, there is excessive space between teeth.

  • Overbite. The upper front teeth completely cover the lower front teeth to create a deep bite.

  • Open bite. The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting.

  • Crossbite. The upper teeth bite inside your lower teeth on one or both sides.

  • Underbite. The lower front teeth protrude ahead of the upper teeth.

Why Do I Have a Misaligned Jaw?

Many muscles, bones, and tendons must function together to keep your jaws adequately aligned. However, there are several reasons one or more of these can malfunction and prevent your jaws and teeth from fitting together normally. The reasons for a crooked jaw or teeth include:

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

  • Previous jaw fracture.

  • Habits such as prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use.

  • Numerous missing teeth.

  • Jaw tumors.

  • Birth defects.

How is a Misaligned Jaw Treated?

An accurate diagnosis of a misaligned jaw is critical to know if treatment is needed. Some minor misalignments require no treatment, while others need a complex plan involving several types of procedures. The various options for treating a jaw misalignment include:

  • Oral surgery. Orthognathic surgery is a specialized form of oral surgery used to correct advanced cases of jaw misalignments. It involves more than a single procedure performed in one day. Instead, it usually includes a team of health care professionals working together over several months.

  • Orthodontic braces. Braces are a common treatment for correcting some crooked jaw and teeth conditions. Orthodontic procedures are used for all ages, including children and older adults. Some cases have better results when combined with cosmetic or restorative dental procedures.

  • Orthodontic appliances. Orthodontic appliances such as headgears, Herbst appliances, bite correctors, Mara appliances, and palatal expanders can also be used to correct jaw growth problems in young people.

  • Selective tooth removal. While removing teeth is more commonly used in correcting an overbite in children, it is also used for severe adult cases.

  • Restorative dentistry. Some cases of a misaligned jaw are due to missing teeth. Restorative dental procedures, such as bridges, implants, and dentures, can help correct these problems.

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Contact us at Trident Dental to learn more about the treatments we provide to improve your bite and enhance your oral health.

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