An unbalanced bites can cause TMJ
TMJ can result in a myriad of symptoms ranging from annoying to downright painful. Clicking, popping or locking jaws, pain in your jaw, face, shoulders, or back, migraines or headaches, tingling or numbness in your arms and fingers are all TMJ disorder symptoms.
If your bite is out of alignment, it could be what’s causing your TMJ pain.
An unstable bite causes more than discomfort
If your upper and lower teeth don’t come together in a way that’s comfortable for your jaw, it causes the muscles in your jaw and face to strain. Trying to find rest, they pull your jaw into a more comfortable place but, because your teeth are out of alignment in that position, your jaw naturally sides back to the uncomfortable place where your teeth meet. The constant tug of war between comfort and balance puts a huge strain on the muscles surrounding your jaw and the nerves that run through them. As your jaw and face muscles tire, they recruit the muscles of your neck and shoulders to lend a hand.
A consequence of this constant strain is sore, aching or painful muscles in your face, jaw neck and shoulders, and compressed nerves that cause headaches and numbness in your arms or hands. An unbalanced bit also creates serious wear and tear on your teeth and can change the appearance of your face. Your lips may change, and you’ll start to see wrinkles. Creases form on the sides of your nose and mouth. Your lower lip starts pout and jowls appear.
What causes an unbalanced bite?
There are obvious signs of a misaligned bite like an under-bite or an over-bite, but your teeth can appear fine, even perfect, and you can still experience pain and discomfort if your muscles and joints aren’t comfortable.
A misaligned bite and poorly fitting teeth could be the result of one cause, or a combination of many:
- Allergies during childhood may have caused you to breathe through your mouth. Childhood mouth breathing causes your jaw to become misaligned because your tongue is forced down to let air in. Your tongue isn’t only for tasting. In childhood it has a second function as a jaw development device. In its natural position it puts force against the upper arch of the teeth. Without this force, the developing upper jaw does not fully grow.
- Childhood thumb sucking and/or other oral habits can also interfere with the development of a child’s jaw and the alignment of their teeth.
- Old, worn out dentistry or dentistry that needs to be replaced can cause a misaligned bite.
- A missing tooth or teeth can cause your other teeth to shift, changing your bite and causing it to become misaligned.
- An accident or trauma to you jaw could be the cause of a misaligned bite.
Get your balance back
Using neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Nancy Nehawandian of Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos will treat your TMJ disorder differently than a traditional dentist does. Traditional dentistry focuses on your bones, joints and teeth.
Dr. Nancy Nehawandian digs deeper. Looking beyond your hard tissues, and even further than the obvious issues you may be experiencing with the muscles and nerves in your jaw face, head and neck, she’ll get to the root of your TMJ disorder by looking into the health of your posture, your muscular function and your range of motion. There’s a dynamic relationship between your bite, your jaw posture, and the healthy function of the rest of the muscles in your body.
Get the whole picture at Top Down Dental
To bring balance back to your bite, you need to look at the whole picture, not just your teeth. At Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos, Dr. Nancy Nehawandian uses restorative procedures such as crowns and bridges, and orthodontics only after she’s determined the correct posture for your jaw joint. Instead of treating your teeth and forcing your jaw to accommodate them, as traditional dentistry does, she restores your teeth in a way that brings your bite back into alignment.
An unbalanced bite can lead to health, comfort and aging issues. Balance your bite and you’ll resolve your TMJ pain. The muscles and nerves of your jaw, face, head and neck will thank you.