A patient’s jaws can be misaligned in any number of ways, including overbites, underbites, crossbites and open bites. When such a malocclusion (“bad bite”) is present, the patient can experience a number of problems.
Misaligned jaws often contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which can be associated with significant discomfort for the patient. Any time the jaw doesn’t function properly – as is the case when the upper and lower jaws don’t meet correctly – the surrounding muscles will compensate and become stressed, which can cause pain. Other TMJ symptoms include clicking, popping or locking of the jaw as well as facial or ear pain.
Misaligned jaws may also be less effective at chewing, so you may be missing out on important nutrition if you’re not processing your food completely even if you eat a healthy diet. There may also be some sort of relationship between malocclusion and bruxism, or grinding of the teeth.
A misaligned jaw can also detract from your smile’s appearance, which may seem like a minor concern but it can actually have serious effects on your self-esteem and your mental health. Having properly aligned jaws (and teeth) can boost your self-confidence in a big way.
If you are experiencing any of these issues and you feel like it might be due to a malocclusion, you should consult with an oral surgeon to learn about your treatment options.
While the rate of jaw growth can be manipulated using orthodontic appliances in children, adults and even older teens who have misaligned jaws are likely to need jaw surgery to correct the issue. The surgery may be combined with orthodontic treatment, and in those cases, the oral surgeon would collaborate with the orthodontist on treatment planning.
Do your upper and lower jaws seem to be misaligned? If so, jaw surgery can help to eliminate TMJ symptoms and improve your appearance. Call our team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery for more information about this treatment or to schedule an appointment to learn if jaw surgery would benefit you.