You’ve heard of misaligned teeth, but did you know you could have a misaligned bite? A misaligned bite is when the top and bottom rows of teeth don’t quite fit together when the mouth is closed. Open bites, overbites, underbites, and crossbites are all types of malocclusions, another term for an improper bite.
Misaligned bites can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms, including an aching jaw, popping or clicking noises when using your jaw, and other discomfort. How does a misaligned bite cause TMJ symptoms? Here’s what you need to know.
A Misaligned Jaw Can Cause Your TMJ to Malfunction
Having an improper bite can put stress on your temporomandibular joints, which are responsible for your jaw movement. When these two joints—located close to your ears—can’t function properly due to a misaligned bite, you can experience symptoms such as :
- Pain in your jaw or around your ears
- Difficulty chewing
- Trouble opening and closing your mouth
- A clicking or popping sound when moving your jaw
While not everyone will experience discomfort as a result of TMJ malfunction, some people will experience chronic pain that needs professional treatment.
An Improper Bite May Cause Muscle Tension
The muscles that support your temporomandibular joints are powerful—they have to be to help you chew food! However, when you have an improper bite that causes these joints to malfunction, it can cause tension in the surrounding muscles.
Chronic tension in your jaw muscles can lead to headaches and facial pain . For some people, this pain can even radiate outwards towards the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Fortunately, seeking treatment for your TMJ symptoms can help you resolve this tension so you can experience pain-free jaw movement!
Fixing Your Bite Can Help
The good news is that if your misaligned bite is causing your TMJ disorder, fixing your bite is your best bet to alleviate your discomfort . The most effective form of treatment is generally orthodontics, which can repair the bite long-term to prevent TMJ symptoms from returning. Your dentist can examine your bite and discuss your TMJ symptoms with you to determine what your next steps should be.
Suffering From TMJ? There Is Treatment!
For those living with a TMJ disorder, chronic jaw discomfort can be incredibly frustrating and painful. But there is treatment for those suffering from TMJ pain. Could your misaligned bite be causing your TMJ symptoms? A visit to your dentist can help you discover if the key to having a healthy jaw is by fixing your improper bite!