Can Braces Help Align My Jaws? {Epic Facts}

Every joint in the human body is designed to move in a specific way, and the jaw joint is no exception. As such, you will experience discomfort, pain and other issues when a joint fails to move as it should. Since the TMJ (jaw joint) is one of the most complex and hardest working joints in the human body, a misaligned jaw is usually a major cause for concern. Incorrect jaw alignment is when the top and bottom teeth are not aligned. The result of which they do not meet comfortably. Besides being uncomfortable and extremely painful in some cases, misaligned jaws can have adverse effects on your dental health.

confused woman

Symptoms

Our teeth work best when aligned correctly, which helps ensure proper, painless and optimal jaw function. As much as the perfect bite is when your upper and lower teeth meet without placing too much pressure in any given area, your top teeth should sit slightly outside of your bottom teeth when biting down.

Overbite and under-bite are the most conspicuous types of jaw misalignment. Overbite is characterized by protruding upper teeth while under-bite is characterized by bottom teeth that sit in front of the top teeth.

Jaw misalignment symptoms are not always easy to identify. Although mismatched jaw sizes can create problems, some people will function without discomfort even when their bottom jaws are larger than their upper jaws or when their upper teeth overlap their lower teeth excessively. As a result, many people who have a misaligned jaw don’t know that they do.

The following could indicate a misaligned jaw:
• Pain in the face or jaw, even when you are not moving the jaw.
• Breathing problems such as breathing through the mouth excessively, even when your nose is not congested.
• Stiffness and pain when chewing.
• Speech-related issues like pain while talking or inability to enunciate certain sounds because of pain or stiffness.
• Trouble sleeping due to the amount of pressure exerted on the jaw when you lie on your stomach or side, or pain in the jaw.

Reasons to Correct a Misaligned Jaw

Jaw-alignment issues can have both physical and emotional effects. Aside from causing chronic pain and discomfort even when the jaw is motionless, severely misaligned teeth can interfere with your ability to breathe, talk, sleep and eat. Additionally, crooked teeth and misaligned bites can cause oral health concerns and self-consciousness. Both of which can have more of a negative impact on people’s confidence, self-respect, and overall well-being.

Appearance: Dissatisfaction with the appearance of one’s teeth and smile is one of the leading reasons why people seek orthodontic care. From our willingness to go out on dates and choose a mate to how well we compete in extracurricular activities and interview for jobs, satisfaction with our appearance has a significant effect on how successful we are in life. The same applies to our children.

Oral health: Besides cosmetics, a significant number of patients will want their misaligned jaws corrected to help stave off potentially serious oral health problems like gingivitis, some of which can be fatal or life-limiting at the very least.

 

smiling woman

Treatment

For starters, it’s worth noting that some jaw alignment issues don’t need treating. Secondly, there’s a range of treatment options available, including cosmetic dentistry, orthodontic work and surgery. Orthodontic work is, however, the least invasive treatment option for jaw misalignment.

The highly individualized treatment offered by orthodontists is usually dependent upon a patient’s personal situation. Your treatment recommendations will, therefore, depend on the symptoms experienced, the severity of the condition, and your dental health history. Professional orthodontists will often recommend one of the following modes of treatment:
• Stress-management, behavioral, and muscle-relaxation therapies to help the TMJ joint realign naturally.
• Reverse pull face masks and other special bite appliances to help the TMJ muscles adjust.
Palate expanders or braces to align teeth correctly.
• Surgery for severe cases that have not responded to the therapies mentioned above.

The Process

Your first visit to the Orthodontist will be a consultation. This is where you can ask questions and share your dental health history. Apart from involving you and your family in the entire process, from diagnosis to the crafting of a treatment plan, your orthodontist will ensure you understand the risks involved before moving forward.

Orthodontists usually encourage their patients to pursue non-invasive treatment options first. Besides being one of the most conservative options, braces can help fix overcrowded or crooked teeth, malocclusions, and misaligned jaws, making them the go-to treatment for jaw alignment issues. In this procedure, brackets are cemented to the teeth and connected with a wire that is tightened after a specific period. This will gradually move the misaligned jaw and teeth back into position. In general, it can take a year or more to correct a misaligned jaw. Early in the process, your orthodontist might take x-ray scans. Then develop molds to determine the best brackets for your teeth.

When the misalignment is too advanced for this mode of treatment, orthodontists can use headgear-braces to achieve satisfactory results. The protraction headgear is used to move the upper jaw forward while the retraction headgear is used to move it backward. In addition to external and internal wires, both types come fitted with straps that go over the head and neck. Patients are required to wear these headgears for around 12-14 hours daily.

Oral Care During Treatment

For many patients, reaching around an orthodontic device to clean their teeth might prove challenging. However, your chances of attaining healthy, cavity-free teeth after treatment will be much higher if you use a fluoride-based toothpaste, brush twice daily, and floss once a day.

While it can be a serious condition, jaw misalignment can be treated permanently. With the availability of so many treatment options, straight, beautiful teeth and a properly aligned jaw are easy to regain.

As professional orthodontists, Dr. King ensures you find long-term relief from your symptoms and maintain the best dental health. We are dedicated to all our patients and strive to provide answers to their questions. So if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above or think you have a misaligned jaw, feel free to contact us for an evaluation.

 

FAIRBORN OFFICE
400 East Dayton
Yellow Springs Rd.
Fairborn, OH 45324
Phone: (937) 878-1561

 

Can Braces Help Align My Jaws? {Epic Facts}

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