When the upper and lower jaws are not aligned properly, it results in a misaligned jaw. This can lead to various symptoms such as difficulty chewing, jaw pain, headaches, excessive tightness of the jaw and teeth misalignment. Some treatment options for a misaligned jaw include orthodontic interventions like braces or clear aligners, jaw surgery in severe cases and using oral appliances to correct the alignment and improve overall oral health.
A misaligned jaw can have several underlying causes. Let’s look at some of the common causes below:
Crooked teeth are a form of malocclusion that can contribute to jaw misalignment. Multiple factors may lead to this condition, such as genetics, thumb-sucking habits or improper tongue posture during development. Overbites usually occur when the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth, while underbites involve the lower teeth extending beyond the upper teeth. These misalignments disrupt the proper positioning of the jaws, affecting bite function and overall jaw alignment.
Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching teeth, knowingly or unknowingly, during the day or while asleep. This condition can lead to pain, stiffness and muscle fatigue in the jaw. Prolonged bruxism can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, causing further jaw misalignment.
TMJ dysfunction refers to conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. When the TMJ is dysfunctional, it can lead to various issues affecting the jaw. TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, mouth spasms and clicking or popping sounds. In some cases, TMJ dysfunction can contribute to the jaw becoming crooked due to the imbalance and improper movement of the jaw joint.
Traumatic jaw injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, can cause a misaligned jaw. These injuries can occur due to accidents, sports-related impacts or falls. A fracture or dislocation disrupts the natural alignment of the jawbones, leading to a misaligned jaw. These injuries can result in long-term jaw misalignment and functional problems without proper treatment.
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to malocclusion or jaw misalignment. Certain inherited traits can affect the jawbones' size, shape and alignment, potentially leading to a misaligned jaw. While genetic factors are not the sole cause of misaligned jaws, they can contribute to the likelihood of developing malocclusion or experiencing jaw-related issues.
A misaligned jaw may present various symptoms that can significantly impact one’s oral health and overall well-being. Some misaligned jaw symptoms may include clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, grinding or clenching of teeth, difficulty in speaking or pronouncing certain words, tooth loss or uneven tooth wear, frequent headaches or migraines, pain in the temples or jaw joint, a tight or uncomfortable jaw sensation and persistent popping or cracking sounds in the jaw.
Jaw misalignment can be dangerous due to the potential pain and discomfort it causes. Improper alignment can lead to chronic jaw pain, headaches, difficulty in eating or speaking and even breathing problems. If left untreated, a misaligned jaw can worsen over time, requiring more extensive and expensive surgeries in the future to correct the alignment. Timely intervention and treatment for jaw misalignment are crucial to prevent further complications and ensure long-term oral health and quality of life.
Several treatment options are available to fix a misaligned jaw, depending on the severity of the condition. Let’s look at some of the misaligned jaw treatment options:
Clear aligners can be an effective non-invasive treatment for mild to moderate misaligned jaw cases. These custom-made, removable aligners gradually shift the teeth and can also help improve jaw alignment. Clear aligners offer the advantage of being discreet, comfortable and easily removable for eating and oral hygiene maintenance. Motto™’s clear aligners offer an easy way to see the best results. We have the answers for your questions about clear aligners.
Braces are a traditional orthodontic treatment for misaligned jaws. Typically, brackets and wires are attached to the teeth to exert gentle pressure and gradually move them into proper alignment. Braces can effectively correct both tooth misalignment and jaw alignment issues. However, they are more noticeable than clear aligners and require regular adjustments by an orthodontist.
Orthodontists use dental bridges when missing teeth accompany a misaligned jaw. These prosthetic devices bridge the gap created by missing teeth and help restore proper bite alignment. By filling the space, dental bridges can improve the jaw's overall alignment and the bite's function.
In severe cases of misaligned jaws, jaw surgery may be necessary. Jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, involves repositioning the jawbones to achieve proper alignment. This procedure is typically considered a last resort when other treatments haven’t yielded satisfactory results. Jaw surgery is often performed in combination with orthodontic treatment, such as clear aligners or braces, to achieve optimal results.
Motto™ is an aesthetic solution to correct overlapped teeth and can even help in closing an open bite. Jaw alignment which doctors refer to as "skeletal" requires surgery placing the upper jaw/arch over the lower arch. If the patient does not want to undergo jaw surgery, Motto can serve only as an aesthetic solution.
Motto™’s aligners offer a convenient and effective solution for jaw misalignment. Achieve a straighter smile and explore how clear aligners work today.