Headaches, Tender Jaws May Be Related To Bite Alignment

added on: October 4, 2016

Balance. It’s something we need in all aspects of our lives. There is a proper balance when it comes to work and home life as well as active time and rest time. Too much of one tends to eventually impact our lives in negative ways. Harmonious balance is the key.

When upper teeth do not fit harmoniously with lower teeth, the delicate balance of teeth, jaw joints and facial muscles can all be uprooted. The result may seem initially subtle, but eventually the symptoms become quite obvious. One telltale sign is worn teeth.

When upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, the jaws move during sleep in an attempt to alleviate stress or strain to the TMJ (‘temporo-mandibular joints’ or jaw joints). Yet, this effort to self-adjust tends to transfer one problem to another.  As the jaws shift, the teeth clamp together. This, in turn, triggers a grinding motion.

Worn teeth are obvious when the tops of teeth become flat, leaving teeth with straight-across tops rather than the natural contours typical of natural teeth. Worn teeth are typically shorter than they should be as well.

As teeth grind back and forth, tooth enamel is worn away, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. Grinding and clenching can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, dizziness, ear ringing, and limited ability to open the mouth.

Example of worn teeth from bruxing.

Example of worn teeth from bruxing.

Misaligned teeth are also more likely to experience cracks, breaks and chips. While these problems require costly treatment, the worse scenario is when a tooth breaks below the gum line. When this occurs, the tooth will likely need to be removed.

Your regular checkups include an evaluation of your bite position and noting signs of abnormal wear. However, many people experience headaches, dizziness or jaw tenderness before their teeth reveal bite misalignment. The key is to encourage patients to communicate these symptoms since they are not necessarily associated with bite problems.

Once bite problems are discovered, the next step is to determine the its cause. In our office, we offer an advanced diagnostic system that is specially designed to pinpoint the source of TMJ disorders. If TMJ is the true source of your problem, a treatment plan is developed to restore proper alignment.

In some cases, your bite can be corrected easily by minor reshaping of selected teeth. However, if more extensive reshaping is needed, crowns may be advised. If your misalignment is severe, orthodontic realignment may be needed to restore the unity of upper and lower teeth.

When realignment is advised, Invisalign is an appealing option for many adults. Using clear molds, the Invisalign system moves teeth without brackets and wires. The ‘aligners’ worn are generally undetectable and can be removed for eating and brushing.

Remember, worn teeth are a sign of a bigger problem that will only worsen without treatment. Resolving it early can save you much in treatment time and expense.

For a free, no-cost consultation, call 1-866-9-Smiles. During this time, we’ll discuss options that are appropriate for your needs as well as payment options so you can resolve your problem while making easy, monthly payments.

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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