How A Misaligned Jaw Can Lead To TMJ
Do you feel discomfort in your jaw or difficulty in breathing or chewing? It could be an indication that your jaw is misaligned. A misaligned jaw needs attention because if it becomes severe, it can affect the way you breathe, eat, sleep and speak. Other than affecting your daily routine, a misaligned jaw can lead to extreme pain and other health problems such as TMD or TMJ. If you feel that your jaw is shifting, continue reading so you can discover more about the symptoms, causes and treatment options!
A perfectly aligned jaw
A perfectly aligned jaw is the foundation to a healthy and beautiful smile. When your teeth and jaw are positioned and aligned correctly, they can significantly contribute to a beautiful smile. Additionally, a good jaw alignment is one in which the teeth and jaw work in harmony with each other without causing stress to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or uneven pressure on the bite.
An ideal bite prevents unnecessary pressure on your jaws when eating. Not only will a healthy bite facilitate proper chewing and digestion allowing your body to receive the nourishment it needs, but it will also improve your speech and pronunciation allowing you to communicate better.
Jaw alignment can help boost your confidence and self-esteem by improving your facial appearance and making you look more attractive. On the other hand, a misaligned jaw can be more than just an aesthetic problem.
What a misaligned jaw looks like
A misaligned jaw can be caused by a variety of factors. Aside from altering a person’s physical appearance, the biggest concern is its overall health effects.
While some people are born with a misaligned jaw, others develop it over time; either way, the pain and discomfort can be significant.
When your jaw alignment is incorrect, the effects spread throughout your body. You may be unconsciously stressing your body to compensate in a variety of ways, leading to pain and injury.
A misaligned jaw creates an imbalanced joint and muscles since your entire body's rhythm and movement are disrupted. It is critical to understand that the greater concern of having a misaligned jaw is its serious consequences to your quality of life.
The symptoms of a misaligned jaw vary depending on the severity of the problem. They typically include:
- TMJ or jaw pain
When your jaw is aligned and functioning properly, you can talk, eat, drink, laugh and function without the feeling of pain. Temporomandibular joint disorder, sometimes known as TMD or TMJ, are a prevalent cause of jaw movement. TMJ condition is a very common problem faced by millions of Americans that can cause serious problems such as frequent headaches, jaw pain, teeth clenching, nausea, limited jaw movement, muscle pain, ear ringing and jaw alignment changes. Moreover, TMJ is characterized by its impact on the jaw joint, misalignment of the upper and lower teeth (overbite or underbite), and facial muscles that control chewing and jaw movement.
- Biting and chewing discomfort
A bite determines how we chew, eat and communicate. The two most common bite problems are underbite and overbite. An underbite occurs when the lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw, while an overbite occurs when the upper jaw protrudes unnaturally over the lower jaw.
Did you know that biting and chewing are damaging activities? You may frequently bite your tongue, lips or the inside of your cheeks. If you have a misaligned jaw, the force will be applied to your jaw and teeth rather than the food you chew. Alignment problems may also cause you to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose.
- Oral and dental health problems
Misaligned or uneven jaws can also be the result of dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease - it puts pressure on the teeth, hence, weakening the enamel. It is a significant problem that can negatively affect your smile! It’s naturally difficult to properly care for your teeth, leading to more oral health damage.
Those with misaligned jaws also often experience having misaligned teeth. Some types of the misaligned jaw can put extra pressure on certain teeth, causing them to rub together making the teeth more prone to chipping or cracking.
- Speech impediment
When your jaws or teeth are not properly aligned, it can definitely affect how you communicate. A speech impediment, such as a lisp, can be a symptom of jaw misalignment. It may not be a symptom that everyone will have, but it will certainly be for some. If you have difficulty pronouncing or enunciating certain words due to a stiff jaw, it’s a sign that your bite is misaligned. Although correcting your alignment problem might help, speech therapy may be required in some cases.
- Teeth grinding or clenching
Do you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth at night? If your sleeping partner tells you that you sleep like a cement mixer – that’s another common sign that you have a misaligned jaw. Grinding and clenching, like TMJ symptoms, occur because your teeth and jaw are attempting to achieve their natural symmetry. The teeth are too short for the shape of the jaw and the TMJ position, so a person’s face becomes shorter.
The technical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and it is more likely to occur in people whose bite does not align properly. As a result, some people don’t sleep well, are less energized during the day, and their upper teeth aren’t visible when they talk. Grinding or clenching can disrupt the jaw’s alignment over time.
Severe grinding or clenching over time can lead to tooth fracture, loosening or misalignment. This means that if you have braces or have had braces, you should get your bruxism treated before it undoes some of the hard work your braces have done.
What are night guards and how do they help
If you feel like you’re suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, the most recommended solution from experts and dental health professionals is to wear a night guard. It helps to reduce the side effects of a misaligned jaw.
A night guard or splint is typically a hard, acrylic dental appliance that helps properly position your jaw, relieving you of pain while you sleep. The best night guards for TMJ are those which are custom-fitted. They are an ideal option, especially for people who suffer from TMJ disorder or jaw clenching and grinding. It is an excellent appliance that protects not only your jaw but also your teeth!
There are a variety of designs that fit the upper or lower teeth, or both, to avoid clenching or correct jaw alignment. Some designs are typically thin and contoured to the upper or lower teeth. ClearClub offers a variety of mouth guards to meet your needs. Custom night guards are your best bet as they will help you treat your jaw misalignment without interfering with your breathing while you sleep.
While a night guard can help with jaw misalignment, there are other alternatives as well such braces. If you are wearing braces now, you don’t need to worry about thickness and comfortability. Custom night guards can sit comfortably on top of your braces to help you sleep normally at night, without the bulky feeling. If you want to be comfortable, it is best to have a custom night guard suited well to your needs.
Speaking of comfortability, the most common reason why some people don’t prefer to use a night guard regularly is due to discomfort. Comfort is essential when using night guards consistently over a long period time. Initially, you might need to wear them all day until you get used to them.
ClearClub’s custom night guard will not only prevent your jaw from shifting, but they are also comfortable to wear. The quality is the same as the ones that are ordered from a dentist just at an affordable price. Dentists typically charge $300+ for a night guard or retainers, but our cost-effective subscription offers them at a fraction of that price. ClearClub night guards can be created from your personalized dental impression, so they can fit you perfectly and snugly.