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An open bite is one of the most prevalent jaw misalignment issues. When biting down, a gap between the top and lower rows of teeth forms, which is how it is characterised. This might be due to thumb-sucking or using the wrong dummy.

Your smile is one of the most prominent features, and it’s more than just aesthetics. Beyond the aesthetic element, your dental health has a tremendous impact on your general well-being. A misaligned bite, or malocclusion, is an important dental health issue that is often overlooked. A misaligned bite can cause several kinds of difficulties, both practical and cosmetic. If you’ve noticed a tiny alteration in your smile or tooth alignment, it might be because your bite has altered. When the lower and upper dental arches are not aligned, it leads to malocclusion, a disorder marked by crowded or crooked teeth. In this post, we’ll explore the signs of a misaligned bite and why treating them is important.

What is a Misaligned Jaw/Bite?

A malocclusion is a misalignment or improper relationship between the two dental arches while biting downwards. Incorrect tooth alignment, repeated biting of the inner cheeks or tongue, and pain when chewing or biting are signs of malocclusion. It can also change the appearance of your face.

Severe malocclusion can result in chewing difficulty, bruxism, facial abnormalities, breathing problems, and speech impairments. A bite that is properly aligned makes it easier for you to clean your teeth and reduces your risk of developing gingivitis, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

What are the Symptoms of Jaw Misalignment?

It might seem obvious, but a crooked jaw isn’t always visually noticeable. Since every person has a different face structure, a little misalignment might go unnoticed until you look closely or observe the signs and symptoms.

When this shift in your jaw gets severe, it might impair your ability to speak, chew, or breathe. At this stage, people may see the mismatch, which can have an impact on self-esteem. According to how severe the misalignment is, the symptoms and indicators will vary. Unless there was an obvious harm to your facial area, the changes are gradual and difficult to detect in the early stages.

However, there are several risk indicators you should pay attention to if you believe your jaw is shifting, such as:

  • A throbbing aching in the temple area, not exactly a headache, but definitely uncomfortable
  • Unexplained headaches might still appear
  • Pain in the shoulders and/or back, the jaw muscles are linked to the muscles in the shoulders and/or back
  • Bruxism is a condition that involves tooth grinding and clenching
  • Clicking or popping occurs when you move your mouth
  • Sounds in the ear without any external source, such as ringing or buzzing
  • Tightness and discomfort in the jaw
  • Signs of gum disease include bleeding or receding gums and sore teeth

If you have more than one of these symptoms, your body could be warning you of a potential problem with your jaw. Now that you’ve become aware of it, the following step is to determine what’s causing the shift.

What are the Common Causes of Malocclusion?

Malocclusions, or bite shifts, can occur in individuals of all ages for many causes. Some of the ensuing issues could potentially avoided with appropriate oral health care and frequent dentist checkups, while others need more complex treatments. The most prevalent causes for a shifting bite include:

  • Gum Disease: Gingivitis, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissue around your teeth. The risk of tooth loss and misalignment increases as it worsens and develops into periodontitis, which can lead to bone loss and shrinking of the gums.
  • Tooth Loss: Tooth loss is among the most prevalent dental disorders. Gum disease, bone disease, decay, physical damage, and regular wear and tear are among the causes. The remaining teeth will move toward the newly created gap if you lose one or more, which will negatively impact your bite.
  • Genetics: Malocclusion can be inherited. Your parents, siblings, and other family members are probably affected if you have the illness. Genetic conditions like cleft lip or palate can also alter the structure of your teeth, which can have an impact on your bite.
  • Trauma or Injury: Children, teenagers, and young adults are more likely to experience traumatic dental injuries that compromise their bite. Fractures, extrusion, subluxation, and avulsion are some of the examples.

Factors Leading to a Bad Bite

There are three primary kinds of malocclusion: underbites, crossbites, and overbites. This condition is an overbite when upper teeth overlap with lower teeth. When the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth, it’s called an underbite.

There are two different types of bad bites. Dental malocclusion is the first kind, in which the issue only affects the teeth and not the jawbone. The following factors cause dental malocclusion:

  • Rear teeth that were removed or never developed
  • Extra teeth in the mouth
  • Childhood habits, such as thumb sucking and excessive pacifier usage
  • Thrusting with the tongue, pushing the teeth forward

How to Diagnose and Treat a Crooked Jaw?

Most of the time, you won’t even be aware that you have jaw misalignment in the early stages. You wouldn’t have realised anything was unusual until your orthodontist or dentist suspected you had a crooked jaw.

In rare circumstances, a misaligned jaw can correct itself. However, most patients require a mix of therapies, including orthodontics, tooth restorations or repairs, and night guards or aligners.

We’ve explained three types of treatments: mild, moderate, and severe cases.

Treating Mild Misalignment with Dental Appliances

If you have a small shift caused by bruxism, your expert may recommend wearing a night guard. Malocclusions cause uneven jaws, which require additional semi-permanent assistance from orthodontic therapy such as braces, retainers, dental bridges, or splints.

For the duration of the recommended period, these appliances are worn over or behind the teeth, every day. To stimulate the misaligned teeth and jaw joint to realign, they apply pressure on them.

Specialist Care for Moderate Conditions

When dental conditions like overcrowding or misshaped teeth cause uneven jaws, your dentist might offer therapies to choose from. The treatments available will be based on your medical and dental conditions. On the other hand, dental operations involve removing teeth that lead to crowding, contouring or resurfacing uneven teeth to address the issue.

TMJ experts are needed to assist reduce the consequences of more moderate cases of TMDs. With the help of a TMD physician, you will learn how to:

  • To avoid discomfort, adjust your movements accordingly.
  • Change your living behaviours to avoid future damage.
  • Practice stretches and exercises can help to improve the general health of your jaw.

Surgical Solutions for Severe Cases

Jaw surgery might be required when the misshapen jaw severely restricts breathing or causes additional major problems. There are many surgical procedures, ranging in intensity, to fix various misalignments, like:

  • Jaw wiring: Adjust the jaw to its proper position or provide support for fractured jaws.
  • Maxillary osteotomy: This involves shifting the upper jaw and teeth to line with the lower ones to correct open or crossbites.
  • Mandibular osteotomy: Correct overbites or displaying lower jaws by appropriately shifting the jaw with adjustments to specific mouth elements.
  • Genioplasty: Genioplasty is a reconstructive procedure that straightens a crooked chin.

While surgery is an option if necessary, the majority of jaw misalignment can be fixed or managed using less invasive methods. Meanwhile, as you wait for the medication to take effect, you can focus on strategies that reduce or prevent discomfort.

Summary

Maintaining general health and dental health relies on recognizing and fixing jaw misalignment. Knowing the effects of malocclusion—from the warning signs and symptoms to the most common causes and available treatments—empowers people to take proactive measures toward having a healthy smile. At The Dental Lounge, we are committed to offering comprehensive dental services and personalised treatment plans catered to the specific needs of each patient. Our team of professionals is dedicated to assisting you fix your teeth and enhance your quality of life, no matter the seriousness of your misalignment. Take the first step toward a healthier, brighter smile by scheduling an appointment with us now.