Jaw out of alignment


Uneven Jaw

Jaw function requires tendons, bones, and muscles to work together. An imbalance in any of these structures can lead to the entire jaw becoming uneven.

There are several reasons why your jaw may be uneven, including:

Trauma or broken jaw

Trauma can occur during an accident, fall, assault, or a sports-related injury. Trauma can result in your jaw being broken, fractured, or dislocated.

A slight fracture will usually heal on its own. A major break in the jaw could require surgery to help the jaw heal properly. A dislocated jaw may need to be surgically stabilized.

TMJ disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are very common. Trauma or arthritis may be the cause of TMJ. Sometimes the symptoms can occur without an obvious cause, though.

You can treat TMJ by doing the following:

  • Apply ice to your jaw to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Avoid strenuous jaw movements.
  • Wear an orthopedic dental appliance to raise your bite and reposition the jaw.
  • Practice TMJ exercises to reduce pain and improve your jaw’s movement.
  • Manage and reduce stress to help relax your jaw.

Birth defects

You may have been born with a jaw condition. For example, you may have a naturally crooked jaw. This is also referred to as a “faulty jaw.” A faulty jaw may be corrected with surgery or can be managed with supportive care and lifestyle changes.

Teeth alignment

An uneven jaw may be due to teeth misalignment. Your teeth may not be allowing your jaw to settle in its correct position. Braces or retainers can help correct this. It may take a period of 6 to 18 months for results to show. In severe cases, it may take longer.

How To Tell if Your Jaw is Misaligned

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) works hard each day to help you talk, eat, drink, and even breathe. And, most of us don’t think about this critical joint unless it starts to cause issues.

The daily wear and tear on the TMJ can cause not only irritation, but misalignment as well. The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint that relies upon a smooth, efficient process to move the jaw around without pain, inflammation, or painful symptoms of a TMJ disorder.

A misaligned jaw is more common than people realize. But is it something to be concerned about? The answer depends upon your unique facial anatomy and whether it’s causing pain or other problems. Before you seek invasive treatment for this issue, make sure you know the facts about the jaw and how it works.

Tooth and Jaw: Working Together

Ideally, the teeth sit in alignment for proper jaw function. This means the teeth come together without too much impact or pressure. The top row of teeth should come down just outside of the lower teeth in an ideal bite.

You’ve probably heard the terms “overbite” and “underbite.” These refer to teeth that do not come together quite like they should. An overbite means the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much, while an underbite means that the lower teeth sit outside of the upper teeth when biting down. These are both indicators of a possible jaw misalignment.

An underbite or an overbite does not necessarily need to be corrected or treated. If a person is able to use their jaw and teeth comfortably, they may be able to live with an overbite or underbite and have no issues. But, sometimes this jaw misalignment does cause problems that require treatment, including:

  • Trouble chewing due to pain or a stiff jaw

  • Excessive mouth breathing, even when the nose is clear

  • Sleep problems because of pain or pressure on the jaw or face when lying down

  • Trouble with speech, which may occur if pain or stiffness inhibit the natural movement of the jaw

  • Facial or jaw pain that occurs after eating or speaking

  • Ongoing headaches or facial pain

  • Inability to find a comfortable “bite” or the sensation of multiple bites

  • A sudden or gradual change in the bite

Correcting an overbite or an underbite does not necessarily solve the issue, however. Sometimes the teeth will appear to fit very well, especially after treatment with orthodontics.

It is important to understand that the lower jaw can be positioned by the muscles in a way to allow alignment of the teeth to fit together. But, sometimes this position held by the muscles does not allow optimum alignment of the ball within the socket. In this way, the appearance of a good bite may not be a true representation of what is happening at the level of the joint itself.

Treating Jaw Misalignment

Jaw misalignment can be a minor issue or a major one. Whether you need treatment depends upon your symptoms, your history of TMJ problems, and what seems to trigger the pain or discomfort.

Invasive treatments are not necessarily needed if you don’t have pain or dental problems as a result of the jaw misalignment. But some people find that they need help realigning the jaw because it’s causing pain or unnecessary wear and tear on the teeth. Seeing a dental professional who specializes in TMJ health is the first place to start. Some ways to help realign the jaw include:

  • Muscle relaxation, behavioral therapy. and stress management to bring the muscles of the jaw back to health and alignment on their own

  • A customized bite appliance that gently helps place the TMJ muscles in their proper position

  • Braces or palate expanders to reposition teeth and stretch the palate when needed

  • In rare and severe cases, jaw surgery, which should only be considered when all other options have been exhausted

Beware of “Bite Corrector” Options

Sometimes dentists will recommend grinding on teeth or putting you in braces to correct your bite, even thinking that they will resolve your jaw problems by doing so. At MedCenter TMJ, we prefer to make sure your jaw joint alignment is corrected prior to making any permanent changes to your teeth. We believe this will give you the best long term treatment outcomes and limit the chances for retreatment being required down the road.

There is no simple, one-size-fits-all approach to jaw misalignment. If a dental professional has said you have a misaligned jaw but you continue to have no dental or health issues because of it, sometimes it’s best to leave it alone. Follow up visits every six months can ensure that the teeth continue to be healthy and that the problem isn’t getting worse. And, avoiding TMJ triggers such as chewing gum, excessive stress, and poor sleep can help you continue to live a healthy life with a jaw that is slightly misaligned.

Concerned About Jaw Misalignment?

As with any medical treatment, be sure you weigh the pros and cons before moving forward. Consider the risk and cost of major treatments for a misaligned jaw and what benefit they will have.

At MedCenter TMJ, we opt for conservative treatment options first because they are safe, cost-effective, and can often correct the issue efficiently. Of course, in severe cases where the patient is in considerable pain, our focus is to help give them symptom relief while treating the issue, but will also do everything possible to help you avoid surgery or major procedures.

Get Your Health and Confidence Back

Our goal is simple: we want our patients to lead healthy lives without pain from a TMJ problem. We use state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment of TMJ problems, and we provide you with a customized treatment plan that fits your lifestyle.

If you are having jaw pain or symptoms of TMJ, contact MedCenter TMJ to set up an appointment.

Original Source: https://www.medcentertmj.com/tmj-disorder-causes-treatments/how-to-tell-if-your-jaw-is-misaligned/

Overbites are medically referred to as a condition called a malocclusion. In this condition, your upper teeth protrude over your lower teeth. Your teeth and jaws are not lined up properly. An overbite can be classified as a vertical overbite or a horizontal overbite.

This means in a vertical overbite, your upper can overlap the bottom teeth, and in the horizontal overbite, the top teeth can protrude behind the bottom teeth.

Reasons for the overbite

Overbite mainly occurs due to three reasons. In the first case, due to the loss of the rear teeth that is the molar, the lower jaw ultimately lost his support and all the teeth move backward. Another reason which causes overbite is the continuous pushing of the tongue against the upper teeth when they are growing.

The last reason is the thumb sucking in early childhood, which, in return forcefully pushes the upper teeth forward. Now, we will move forward on how to fix the overbite without surgery.

Overbite fixation in adults

Early intervention in the overbite fixation is very important as it will reduce the risk of prolonged and lengthy treatment. In adults, braces are used to straighten their teeth while moving the upper teeth backward and the lower ones forward.

This way the overbite is treated perfectly without surgery. This treatment lasts for 18 months. An important benefit of braces is that they will serve your overbite and underbite correctors while straightening your teeth for a better smile.

Headgear for overbite correction

Orthodontic headgear is referred to as the braces headgear. It is a device that treats overbite problems. Braces only fix the position of your teeth, the orthodontic headgears aligns your jaw by exerting the tension on your braces through the hooks, coils and elastic bands.

Overbite correction exercise

The human tongue is one of the very powerful muscle, capable enough to push the teeth out of their position. Tongue thrust exercise is very effective in fixing the overbites. All you have to do is simply place a small orthodontic rubber band on the tip of the tongue. Then press the tip on the gum’s roof behind the upper front teeth. Then, bite the teeth together in the regular bite. Remember to keep the lips apart while biting.

While swallowing, make sure not to let your lips close. Don’t get worried if you accidentally swallowed the rubber band. Now you have developed a habit of pushing your tongue forward. When you swallow your braces will come off very soon making your teeth perfectly aligned with a fixed overbite.

Overbite treatment without braces

Other than wearing braces, there is another method to get rid of an overbite that is Invisalign. It is a new and easy strategy to get rid of overbite. In this treatment, a transparent retainer and a clear aligner are used. In this treatment, a newer type of brace is introduced which comes with a plastic cup system. It is customized to fit in with the patient’s teeth and is worn throughout the day.

The patient has to wear them for 22 hours a day and are changed every two weeks. Furthermore, in Invisalign, an elastic band is attached to the top and the bottom aligners which will surely help in correcting the overbite.


Overbite correction will surely improve your quality of life. Without the overbite correction, your speech is very less clear. The patient has to accommodate his jaw position while speaking, chewing, grinding, and chewing.

People with overbites are considered less self-esteemed because their entire face is not functioning properly. Deeper overbites will make your face look even shorter. So it’s very important to correct the overbites.

What is Overbite Correction and How To Fix it

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Why Have My Teeth Fallen Out of Alignment?

Quite a few patients mention to Dr. Hawryluk that they notice their teeth shifting out of alignment. Shifting of teeth can occur for many reasons including grinding, loss of teeth, or bad dental habits. Whatever the cause may be, shifting teeth can actually bring you more dental problems if left untreated, since teeth that are misaligned may prove to be more difficult to clean. Shifting of teeth may not only cause dental related issues, but it can also affect your self esteem. Shifting of teeth can occur for several reasons:


Age – as you age, your lower jaw continues to grow. However, the lower front teeth want to stay behind the upper front teeth. As a result, the lower front teeth can become increasingly crowded. This phenomenon is known as late mandibular growth and usually occurs in people around 40 years of age.

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding – Clenching and grinding can cause numerous issues to your teeth and joints. One of the biggest issues is misalignment of the teeth due to added pressure on them. Grinding and clenching occurs more often during sleep than wake times. To help with this issue, Dr. Hawryluk often fabricates a night guard appliance.


More information on how night guard dental appliances may benefit you is available here:

Night Guard

Loss (of) a tooth/teeth – loss of teeth can cause the adjacent teeth and the teeth directly above the space of the lost tooth to move. It is a good idea to have these spaces filled either with a bridge or an implant to prevent issues with your bite or alignment of the teeth.

To learn more about dental implants please visit us here:

Dental Implants


Genetics – even if you’re born with straight teeth, you might be carrying genes that dictate the shifting of these teeth at a later age. Check your family tree and ask your parents, relatives and grandparents about their history with shifting teeth. If it’s common on either side of your family, it might be a good talking point when you consult with Dr. Hawryluk.

Tooth Decay and Cavities – Untreated cavities can result in tooth loss which eventually will cause shifting of the teeth (discussed above). It is a good idea to have your cavities filled with composite (plastic) filling.

https://kingstownedentistry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/dental-cavities-800×[email protected]

To learn more about white (composite) fillings at out Mississuga office please visit us here:

White Fillings Mississauga On

Whatever the cause for the shifting may be, having misaligned teeth is nothing to worry about. Dr. Hawryluk can help you take steps to keep your teeth nice and straight. There are many solutions to this particular problem, Braces, retainers and cosmetic dentistry are just some of the measures commonly taken to correct shifting teeth. For best results, consider visiting St. Lawrence Dentistry so they can deal with potential issues early on. Our office would be honored to serve you and your family. We are open on Saturdays and have plenty of free underground parking. Please give us call if you are looking for a new dentist.

Why Does Teeth Shifting Happen?

Considering that your teeth are securely anchored to your jawbone, they might seem immovable without orthodontia. But teeth shifting out of alignment can occur for several reasons other than when braces are first removed. Not only that, the shift can cause problems with your bite that may result in jaw, facial or neck pain if left untreated.

If you’ve noticed a shift in your smile, it’s helpful to know that some movement is common for everyone. But in some cases, you may need the guidance of a dental professional.

How Teeth Shift

Teeth are attached to your jawbone by the periodontal ligament as well as by cementum, which is an outer layer of your tooth made up of minerals and collagen, explains the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The periodontal ligament is made up of tightly wrapped connective tissue and collagen, making it a sturdy fastener for your tooth. While a ligament is durable, it can also be flexible, and its soft tissue makes it prone to mobility.

Why Movement Can Occur

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), your teeth will naturally move and shift throughout your life, but certain stressors can trigger more prominent movement. The fact is, any tooth can move out of place.

Teeth can also gradually move with age. According to The Dental Daily, a process called mesial drift that occurs as you age causes your teeth to slowly move toward the front of your mouth.

Additionally, a decrease in enamel caused by an injury or acid erosion can have an effect on your overall bite. Enamel loss changes your tooth shape, causing your teeth to move out of alignment. This means that any time your tooth shape is changed, whether from enamel damage, a filling or bruxism, your bite can slowly shift, as well.

Crooked teeth and overcrowding can create hard-to-reach spaces that are prone to bacteria and plaque buildup, even if you’re diligent about brushing and flossing daily. These conditions can increase your chances of periodontal (or gum) disease and even result in broken teeth and tooth loss in severe cases.

Unfortunately, if you haven’t taken proper care of your teeth or if you have a secondary disease, such as untreated diabetes, tooth loss is a possibility. Missing teeth can cause surrounding teeth to move sideways or downward.

Can You Prevent Teeth Shifting?

Even with your dentist’s assurance that your smile is healthy, it’s normal for teeth to shift. But when complications ensue, like tooth loss, natural overcrowding, crooked teeth or acute malocclusion (or a misaligned bite), you should seek an orthodontist to prevent further shifting.

The best ways to prevent natural shifting, as well as shifting that occurs after getting your braces removed, is to be proactive, advises the AAO. Practice good oral hygiene by limiting acidic foods, flossing and brushing twice daily and keeping up with regular dental checkups.

Surprisingly, if you favor sleeping on your stomach, your teeth can move. Side-sleeping or sleeping on your back is optimal for keeping your pearly whites in line. Poor posture is another reason your teeth can shift, notes Eon Aligners. That’s particularly true for people who tend to rest their head on their hands while crouched over a computer screen. In both cases, your teeth may gradually move over a period of months or years. Try to limit stomach sleeping and make sure your workspace supports good posture.

Treatments for Teeth Shifting

Orthodontic treatments for teeth movement can run the spectrum from braces to a retainer or mouth guard. According to theOral Health Foundation, treatment always depends on the severity of your bite or shift and the underlying cause. If you’ve recently finished wearing braces and have lapsed in your retainer habits, it could be as simple as returning to wearing your orthodontic retainer every day.

The reality is that no treatment is guaranteed as a permanent solution. But if you’re concerned about subtle shifting, make an appointment with your dentist. Your commitment to a treatment plan will safeguard your straight smile.

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  • Coping With a Misaligned Jaw

    Q. 2 When I lie down on my side, I often feel immense jaw pain and pressure on my teeth, especially on the upper left first molar. What could be the problem?

    — Nikki, Texas

    The easiest way to find out what’s causing the jaw pain and pressure is to see your dentist and get a full set of X-rays, an examination, and a diagnosis. A very large cavity could be pressing on the nerve in your first molar, or that molar might need root canal therapy because the nerve has died. These problems would be most obvious on an X-ray.

    The problem could also be caused by grinding and clenching if you have a crown or filling on that tooth and the bite is not quite right. Grinding and clenching on a high spot could cause pain in the tooth. A sinus infection can also cause pain in a tooth because the sinuses are very close to the top of the roots of the upper molars. There may be neuralgia, or nerve pain similar to that of muscle spasms, in the area as well. Because there are so many possibilities, it is hard to know, without seeing you in person, exactly what’s causing your jaw pain. A competent dentist can determine whether the jaw pain has a dental origin or not. If not, then you must consult a physician to see what other kinds of problems might be causing the pain.

    Q. 3 My daughter just got braces. Last night her jaw started hurting and felt “weird.” She had me take a look, and it seemed as if the jawbone was sticking out of her mouth. The orthodontist says she had a muscle spasm. Could that be right?

    — Melissa, Kansas

    Obviously, it’s hard to say exactly what is going on without seeing your daughter. An important factor to consider is how recently the braces were placed in her mouth (and/or how recently they may have been tightened). It’s very common to experience pain for at least one to three days after having new braces inserted or after having braces tightened. A muscle spasm is definitely a possibility because pain can bring on many reactions. If it was indeed a muscle spasm, it would have had to occur in the muscles surrounding the upper and lower jaw and neck, and could have resulted from the pain of the tightening of the wires or from clenching or grinding as the teeth shift.

    Once teeth are moved in the mouth as the braces do their work, the bite is thrown off and the tops of the teeth do not interdigitate with each other. A muscle spasm is clearly a possible result of this, but I would certainly check with the orthodontist involved and have him or her examine your daughter.

    Q. 4 What are some ways to reduce or prevent jaw clenching?

    Jaw clenching often occurs because of the following:

    1. Anxiety
    2. Stress response
    3. Anger
    4. Weightlifting
    5. Gum chewing

    Some people are aware that they are clenching their teeth, while others realize only later that their teeth ache or that the muscles around their upper and lower jaws are tight.

    One can reduce jaw clenching by seeing a dentist to determine the underlying cause and develop the right treatment plan. This treatment can include:

    1. Psychological counseling
    2. Night or day appliances to relax muscles or keep teeth apart
    3. Anti-anxiety medications
    4. Meditation or yoga
    5. Evaluation of the occlusion (bite)

    As I always advise, it is important to seek out a dentist who is knowledgeable in the area of the bite, or occlusion. You may need to see an orthodontist in conjunction with your regular dentist, or even a therapist.

    Q. 5 I had a lower jaw tooth pulled several weeks ago and I have been in constant pain ever since. My dentist says I have a dry socket, which he packed with some type of medicine. That helped for a while, but now the pain is almost unbearable again. What can I do to speed up the healing? How long do I have to suffer with this pain?

    – Daisy, California

    On average, caps (dentists call them crowns) last about ten years. Many last a lot longer but 25 years would be considered excellent longevity. If crowns do last this long, it is a tribute to a top-rate dentist. Today, new caps or crowns are made with thinner, stronger, and more cosmetic porcelain material. Some crowns are still appropriately made with a metal/gold foundation. Your dentist’s recommendation to replace crowns is a judgment call based on decay, fracture of the old crown, poor cosmetic look, or loose teeth that need splinting or joining together. In your case, there may be other reasons to replace them of which I’m not aware.

    If you don’t trust your dentist, then go for a second opinion from a highly regarded dentist. Let the new dentist give you a fresh opinion without bias from the previous dental plan. Removing crowns is routine work for dentists. Your dentist will drill them off and make temporary crowns immediately while giving you a local anesthesia for your comfort. Impressions are taken and a color shade is picked to match your other teeth; the impression is then sent to a dental lab, where the crowns are made to order. In a short period of time, your dentist will see you for a follow up visit to permanently cement them in place.

    Learn more in the Everyday Health Dental Health Center.

    Often jaw problems resolve on their own in several weeks to months. If you have recently experienced TMJ pain and/or dysfunction, you may find relief with some or all of the following therapies.

    • Moist Heat. Moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel can improve function and reduce pain. Be careful to avoid burning yourself when using heat.
    • Ice. Ice packs can decrease inflammation and also numb pain and promote healing. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Keep the pack wrapped in a clean cloth while you are using it. Do not use an ice pack for more than 10 – 15 minutes.
    • Soft Diet. Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily. Remember to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not stretch your mouth to accommodate such foods as corn on the cob, apples, or whole fruits.
    • Over the-Counter Analgesics. For many people with TMJ Disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help ease symptoms.
    • Jaw Exercises. Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate exercises based on your individual needs.
    • Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage, and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.
    • Side Sleeping. Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.
    • Relax Facial Muscles. Make a concerted effort to relax your lips, and keep teeth apart.
    • Yawning. Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and prevent your jaw from locking open.

    In addition, avoid:

    • Jaw clenching.
    • Gum chewing.
    • Cradling the telephone, which may irritate jaw and neck muscles.

    Be sure to discuss your jaw limitations with your doctor prior to surgery or a long dental appointment so he/she uses extreme caution. Anesthesia, often used during dental procedures, can affect mouth opening and damage the joint. If possible, avoid long dental appointments requiring an open mouth for more than 30 minutes. For more information about this topic, please review our Dental Hygiene Brochure (.pdf).

    Remember, if your TMJ problems get worse with time, you should seek professional advice. However, first and foremost, educate yourself. Informed patients are better able to talk with health care providers, ask questions, and make knowledgeable decisions. By seeking out the information on this website, you are on the road to being an informed patient and better able to help yourself.

    We suggest you read through and print out our list of questions (.pdf) to ask your doctor prior to consenting to any treatment.

    The Latest In Science on Self Management

    • Self-management in temporomandibular disorders: a systematic review of behavioural components.
      Story WP, Durham J, Al-Baghdadi M, Steele J, Araujo-Soares V.
      J Oral Rehabil. 2016 Oct;43(10):759-70. doi: 10.1111/joor.12422.
      The aim of this qualitative systematic review was to identify the behaviour change techniques most frequently employed in published temporomandibular disorder (TMD) self-management (SM) programmes. The reviewers matched the components of SM programmes into the relevant behaviour change technique domains according to the definitions of the behaviour change taxonomy (version 1). Electronic databases were searched for randomised controlled trials assessing an SM programme for TMD. Manual searches were also conducted for potentially important journals. Eligibility criteria for the review included: the type of study, the participants, the intervention utilised and the comparators/control. Fifteen randomised controlled trials with 554 patients were included in this review. The review concludes a minority of the available behaviour change techniques are currently employed in SM programmes. Other behaviour change techniques should be examined to see whether there is a theoretical underpinning that might support their inclusion in self-management programmes in TMD. Further trials are required to conclude that SM programmes are more effective than no treatment at all and or placebo. With more structured SM programmes, greater therapeutic benefits might be achieved, and certainly if SM programmes published in the literature define their components through use of the behaviour change taxonomy, it would be easier for clinicians to replicate efficacious programmes.
    • Counselling and self-management therapies for temporomandibular disorders: a systematic review.
      de Freitas RF, Ferreira MÂ, Barbosa GA, Calderon PS.
      J Oral Rehabil. 2013 Nov;40(11):864-74. doi: 10.1111/joor.12098.
      The aim of this review was to investigate the effectiveness of counselling and other self-management-based therapies on muscle and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain relief and increasing the functional abilities of patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD). A systematic literature review was conducted by three independent reviewers and included articles published up to 2012. PubMed and Cochrane Library electronic databases were used in addition to hand-searching to assess clinical outcomes for counselling and self-management approaches for TMD treatment. The review yielded 581 records that were narrowed down to 7. All included studies were classified as blind-randomized controlled clinical trials. The selected articles analysed revealed that counselling was able to improve tenderness upon masticatory muscle palpation and maximum mouth opening with and without pain in patients with TMD, with similar results to those of interocclusal appliances approaches. Thus, counselling- and self-management-based therapies could be considered a conservative low-cost and beneficial treatment alternative for treating TMD to potentially improve psychological domains and remove harmful behaviours for the control of the signs and symptoms of TMD.

    For those with complicated problems, he suggested visiting a multidisciplinary temporomandibular clinic, found at many leading hospitals and dental schools.

    Therapy Options

    Resting the jaw is the most important therapy. Stop harmful chewing and biting habits, avoid opening your mouth wide while yawning or laughing (holding a fist under the chin helps), and temporarily eat only soft foods like yogurt, soup, fish, cottage cheese and well-cooked, mashed or pureed vegetables and fruit. It also helps to apply heat to the side of the face and to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, for up to two weeks.

    Other self-care measures suggested by the orofacial academy include not leaning on or sleeping on the jaw and not playing wind, brass or string instruments that stress, strain or thrust back the jaw.

    Physical therapy to retrain positioning of the spine, head, jaw and tongue can be helpful, as can heat treatments with ultrasound and short-wave diathermy.

    Some patients are helped by a low-dose tricyclic antidepressant taken at bedtime, or antianxiety medication. Stress management and relaxation techniques like massage, yoga, biofeedback, cognitive therapy and counseling to achieve a less frenetic work pace are also helpful, according to the findings of a national conference on pain management.

    If you clench or grind your teeth, you can be fitted with a mouth guard that is inserted like a retainer or removable denture, especially at night, to prevent this joint-damaging behavior.

    But Dr. Kaban cautioned against embarking on “any expensive, irreversible treatment” before a thorough diagnosis is completed and simple, reversible therapies have been tried and found wanting.

    As with other joints, he said, surgery is a treatment of last resort, when medical management has proved ineffective. As he and his colleagues wrote, surgery is primarily for patients who are born with or develop jaw malformations and patients with arthritis who have loose fragments of bone or require condyle reshaping.

    How A Misaligned Jaw Affects Your Overall Health

    Manual Muscle Therapy for TMJ

    Most people don’t think about their jaw joint, also known as the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), until something goes wrong with the way it works. Problems with the jaw’s alignment can cause seriously painful side effects such as headaches, tinnitus, as well as facial and ear pain. These painful symptoms are often associated with the condition known as TMD, or temporomandibular dysfunction. Non-surgical treatment for pain related to a misaligned jaw is possible with TruDenta! Keep reading to learn more about the condition and TMJ therapy available in New Albany OH at Shirck Orthodontics.

    What Is TMJ/TMD?

    People often refer to TMD as simply “TMJ.” No matter what you call this dysfunction of the jaw joint, it’s a painful condition that affects some 10 million Americans. TMJ/TMD is signified by the following:

    • Difficulty using the jaw
    • A popping, clicking, or grinding sound in the jaw
    • Pain upon opening and closing the mouth
    • Chronic headaches or migraines
    • Facial, neck, or ear pain
    • Nighttime teeth grinding

    These are some of the most common side effects of TMD. The condition may also be accompanied by swelling in the face, toothaches, shoulder pain, tingling extremities, and more.

    What Causes TMJ Disorder?

    Most common in women and people between the ages 20 to 40, TMD may be caused by stress, an injury (like head trauma or a blow to the face), or a dental misalignment. When one of these factors affects the alignment of the jaw, pressure is placed on the TMJ with every bite, yawn, and word spoken. Over time, that pressure adds up to a lot of stress on the jaw — and the painful symptoms of TMD are not far behind.

    TMJ Disorder and Your Overall Health

    The symptoms associated with a misaligned jaw can greatly affect an otherwise healthy person. Chronic headaches or migraines, difficulty sleeping, and abnormal tooth wear are common. Left untreated, the toll taken by TMJ disorder increases. Vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are common in sufferers.

    Treating Jaw Misalignment with TruDenta

    Finding a non-surgical treatment for pain related to TMD is important, as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research discourages the use of surgery to correct TMD. This is why at Shirck Orthodontics, Dr. Shirck doesn’t just treat your symptoms. Instead, he offers a long term solution that can give you your life back! But you don’t have to take our word for it — we will gladly provide you the names and contacts of patients that have gone through treatment with TruDenta at Shirck Orthodontics and can attest to the results. We will also provide a free treatment session so you can see for yourself the relief you can feel after just one session.

    Bite force analysis helps us treat TMJ

    When you come for a complimentary evaluation for headache/TMJ treatment, Dr. Shirck will conduct a series of tests to determine the course of treatment. These tests include:

    • Trigger point evaluation
    • Bite force analysis,
    • Range of motion assessment.

    Upon completion of the evaluation, Dr. Shirck will determine if a course of treatments with TruDenta is right for you. During treatment, Dr. Shirck takes a whole-body approach that uses state-of-the-art technology (including ultrasound, cold laser, microcurrent, and trigger point manipulation techniques) to treat TMJ and migraine disorders. The treatment reduces pain and inflammation from the very first session, with the ultimate goal of providing long-lasting relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorder.

    Get Started Today!

    If you’re suffering from the painful effects of a misaligned jaw, get in touch with Shirck Orthodontics to learn more about how TruDenta can provide the relief you’ve been seeking! Request your appointment for TMJ therapy in our New Albany OH location today.

    by: Dr. Jeffrey Shirck at December 6, 2016.

    TMJ Disorders Connected to Improper Neck Alignment

    What are TMJ disorders? The TMJ or temporomandibular joint is similar to a sliding hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. There is one joint on each side of your jaw. When you have TMJ disorders (or TMD), you will have pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles controlling jaw movement.

    Pinpointing the cause of TMJ disorders can be difficult. Pain is often due to a variety of factors such as genetics, an injury to the jaw, or arthritis. It may also be an end result of someone clenching or grinding their teeth.

    Most of the time, TMJ disorders can be dealt with easily because they are usually temporary. Home remedies or other non-surgical care can often help. Surgery is only suggested as a last resort when all other forms of therapy have failed. But before considering surgery, continue reading this article for a natural solution proven to work.

    Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

    You may have some of the following symptoms if you have a TMJ disorder:

    • Aching facial pain
    • Problems with chewing and/or pain while chewing
    • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
    • Locking of the joint, causing you to have problems opening or closing your mouth
    • Pain or tenderness in your jaw
    • Aching pain in or around your ear

    You may also notice a clicking sound or a feeling of grating when you open your mouth or chew. However, if you have jaw clicking and no pain or limitation of movement when you open your jaw, you probably do not need to be cared for in relation to TMJ disorders. If you do have tenderness or pain in your jaw, or you cannot open or close your jaw entirely, you may need to look into having further care.

    What Causes TMJ Disorders

    Taking a closer look at how the jaw functions can help us have insight into how TMD develops. The joint is like a hinge with sliding motions. The bones that interact in the joint are protected by cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk to keep the movement smooth. If any of the following happen, you can develop TMJ disorders:

    • The joint becomes damaged due to a blow or other impact.
    • The disks of the jaw begin to wear out or move out alignment.
    • The cartilage of the joint becomes damaged.

    However, in many cases, the cause of TMJ disorders are unknown.

    Who Is at Risk?

    You may be more likely to develop TMJ disorders if you also suffer from certain kinds of arthritis (such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis) or if you have ever had a jaw injury. If you are a long-term jaw clencher or grinder, you are at risk for TMJ disorders. Also, certain connective tissue diseases can negatively affect the temporomandibular joint.

    Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

    If you visit your local family physician for your TMJ disorder pain, he or she will probably feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, along with listening for popping or cracking. Doctors will also take note of the range of motion in your jaw. They may press on certain areas around your jaw to locate the exact location of pain. In addition, the following tests may be ordered:

    • Dental x-rays
    • A CT scan
    • An MRI
    • A TMJ arthroscopy may be used (this is a small thin tube that goes into the joint space and takes pictures of the area)

    Traditional Care for TMJ Disorders

    Some doctors may recommend taking the following medications:

    • Muscle relaxants: These drugs may be used for a few days to help relieve the pain of TMJ disorders.
    • Tricyclic antidepressants: These medications include amitriptyline and are used for pain relief on occasion. Their main purpose is for depression, however.
    • Anti–inflammatories and pain relievers: If you find that over-the-counter pain relievers are not doing a good job, your doctor or dentist may recommend stronger, prescription medications. A mainstay of care is non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Advil and Motrin IB (NSAIDs).

    Some non-drug therapies exist as well:

    • Physical therapy: This may include moist heat, ultrasound, and ice. Exercises to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles are also involved.
    • Counseling: Understanding why TMJ disorders happen and how certain behaviors can aggravate our pain can help you cope better. You will learn how to control teeth clenching, grinding, leaning on your chin, and biting your fingernails.

    How Neck Misalignments Can Cause TMJ Disorders

    The atlas, or C1 vertebra, is the top bone of the neck, and it is located close to the ear and jaw. It is susceptible to misaligning due to its mobility and shape. It only takes a mild blow to the head or neck, a serious fall, whiplash, or other trauma to the head to cause this bone to misalign. Even if it is misaligned by only ¼ of a millimeter, the rest of the body can pay the price. Facial nerves, the ear, and the jaw can be negatively impacted. Jaw alignment can become thrown off, inflammation can occur in the TMJ area, and muscles in this location can become irritated. All of this can lead to TMJ disorders.

    Upper cervical chiropractors are specifically trained to find these misalignments and work at correcting the problem. We use special imaging methods to help us see the exact location of the misalignment. We then use a gentle, low-force correction to encourage the bone to move back into its original location. This can ease up the pain of TMJ disorders as the body begins to heal the damage done from the misalignment. Patients often feel some immediate relief and continued benefits over a period of time.

    To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hall or Dr. Chalke call our Franklin office at 615-778-0887 or just click the button below.

    if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com

    The TMJ Connection: How Your Jaw Alignment Affects the Whole Body (with Infographic)

    The Whole Body Connection Includes Your Mouth

    The human body is a complex series of interconnected systems. As more research proves the connectedness of each system, such as the oral-systemic link or mind-body connection, societal conversations and medical practices reflect this.

    So how does this relate to your body and quality of life? For temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder sufferers, this connection can have a big impact. Why? Because misalignment of the jaw has far-reaching effects. Just ask anyone with TMJ disorder.

    How do you know if your jaw is misaligned? If you suffer from frequent headaches, jaw pain, and even ear ringing, you could be one of the more than 10 million Americans who suffers from TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is defined as a problem with the muscles and joints in the face that cause these symptoms.

    What causes TMJ disorder?

    TMJ disorder is a complex problem that requires a full understanding of the whole picture of jaw function to properly determine the cause. A good analogy to understand how this works is to relate the TMJ to other muscle systems in the body.

    Efficient movement and functionof the human body require muscle balance and strength. When muscles are balanced, normal amounts of opposing force between opposing muscles keep the bones centered in the joint during motion. When muscles become imbalanced due to poor posture, stress, repetitive movement or injury, the body compensates by making one muscle more dominant. When your muscles are unbalanced, your entire kinetic chain is disrupted and this affects all movement patterns and can lead to pain and injury.

    The same is true for your jaw.


    An imbalance in your temporomandibular joint can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, teeth grinding, limited jaw movement, muscle soreness and can change the alignment of your jaw. When your jaw alignment is off, the effects ripple through your entire body. These problems result in the symptoms of TMJ disorder (TMD) and can even negatively affect your posture. Conversely, poor posture can negatively affect your temporomandibular joint by placing unnecessary pressure on the area.

    It’s unknown if poor posture is the cause or result of TMJ disorder, but there’s no question there is a close relationship, therefore, the entire craniomandibular system must be evaluated for thorough treatment. The craniomandibular system is comprised of the head, neck, and shoulder girdle. So that means this system includes your temporomandibular joint, facial and neck muscles, ligaments and nerves.

    Dysfunction or trauma in one area can lead to problems in another. A comprehensive approach to treatment is necessary to provide relief.

    Neuromuscular dentistry is a treatment philosophy intended to correct misalignment of the jaw at the temporomandibular joint to produce a balanced bite and body. In this practice, teeth, muscles, nerves, and the joint are all taken into consideration in how they function alone and together. Just like a personal trainer or physical therapist would assess and correct any muscle imbalances by looking at the entire picture to determine root cause, Dr. Alhadef will provide a comprehensive evaluation to identify the cause of your jaw imbalance.

    Preventing Jaw Misalignment

    Another interesting consideration is that research shows there is an association between malocclusion (misaligned teeth) and oral habits and craniofacial structure. Malocclusion can begin in early childhood due to oral habits such as non-nutritive sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing. While some of these things are a result of the craniofacial structure at birth due to genetics, others can be mitigated by parental influence, such as limiting or eliminating pacifier use past infancy. Malocclusion can impact the position of the jaw which has a ripple effect throughout the entire body. Some of these effects may not be noticeable until adulthood when most TMJ disorder symptoms arise, although some people have symptoms in the teenage years.

    Treating TMJ Disorder with a Whole Body Approach

    In summary, misaligned teeth can negatively affect the placement of your jaw which can cause pain in your face, neck, and shoulders. Common treatments for TMD include pain medications, stress-reducing techniques like acupuncture, massage, relaxation, oral appliances and splints or surgery.

    How great would it be to experience relief without medication or surgery? Dr. Alhadef can help you with that. He will find your proper bite by using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (or TENS) unit to relax the muscles. He can then locate where your bite is most relaxed and design a custom fit orthotic for you. Dr. Alhadef will let you know how many hours per day (or night) you will need to wear the appliance to correct the issue, as well as other treatment to resolve the problem long-term.

    Finding the best position for your jaw is imperative to the rest of your body functioning properly.

    Decoding Your Symptoms

    Muscle Overcompensation or Decompensation

    A misaligned jaw increases muscle strain in your face, neck, head, and shoulders. This is what causes common TMD symptoms like headaches, backaches, ear ringing and soreness around the jaw.

    Neurological Symptoms from TMJ

    Tight and strained muscles can put pressure on the nerves which lead to numbness or tingling in the face and throughout the upper body. These can be especially frightening symptoms that should always be checked immediately because these are also symptoms for other life-threatening illnesses.

    Make your aappointment with Dr. Alhadef to have your symptoms evaluated.

    • 10 Ways to Treat TMJ Pain
    • What’s All This About the Mouth-Body Connection?
    • Could Your Migraine or Headache be TMJ?

    Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder & Associated Problems

    Regardless, there is a solution to TMD once it is established that this is the source of your problems. Modern dentistry and the experienced care of Dr. Rich will help you overcome the frustrations of TMD for good!

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep Apnea is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans and is coming to light as one of the most under-diagnosed, life threatening medical disorders in our society. It is statistically more dangerous than drunk driving and has been associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, depression and stroke.
    The Greek word “apnea” means without breath. Those who suffer with Sleep Apnea endure a nightly pattern where they stop breathing for up to a minute, then wake up gasping for air. This can occur for a hundred or more times a night.
    For those who have had Sleep apnea diagnosed, a physician may recommend a CPAP machine is often recommended to receive steady oxygen levels throughout the night. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is a mask that fits over the face and forces oxygen into the airway under pressure.
    However, for many who’ve tried a CPAP, the device almost seems medieval. Not only is it very encumbering, it limits movement during sleep and can make it difficult to sleep. For these reasons, it is estimated that nearly 50% of CPAP users drop out of treatment.
    Because one’s tongue, tonsils and soft palate are directly related to night-time breathing, involvement of specially trained dentists has become beneficial to treating many Sleep Apnea sufferers. With the results of a sleep study and interaction with your physician, Dr. Rich can develop an alternative treatment that is comfortable, convenient and effective.
    Dr. Rich begins by creating a custom-made mouthpiece. This appliance is designed to posture your lower jaw forward, thereby opening the airway and allowing you to breathe freely all night. The appliance has an extremely smooth finish and is a comfortable fit for your mouth.
    If you (or someone you know) suffer with Sleep Apnea, or have been told you are a heavy snorer (a precursor to Sleep Apnea), it is advised that you seek treatment before more serious health problems develop.

    Malocclusion of teeth

    Occlusion refers to the alignment of teeth and the way that the upper and lower teeth fit together (bite). The upper teeth should fit slightly over the lower teeth. The points of the molars should fit the grooves of the opposite molar.

    The upper teeth keep you from biting your cheeks and lips, and your lower teeth protect your tongue.

    Malocclusion is most often hereditary. This means it is passed down through families. It may be caused by a difference between the size of the upper and lower jaws or between the jaw and tooth size. It causes tooth overcrowding or abnormal bite patterns. The shape of the jaws or birth defects such as cleft lip and palate may also be reasons for malocclusion.

    Other causes include:

    • Childhood habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond age 3, and prolonged use of a bottle
    • Extra teeth, lost teeth, impacted teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth
    • Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, dental appliances, retainers, or braces
    • Misalignment of jaw fractures after a severe injury
    • Tumors of the mouth and jaw

    There are different categories of malocclusion:

    • Class 1 malocclusion is the most common. The bite is normal, but the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth.
    • Class 2 malocclusion, called retrognathism or overbite, occurs when the upper jaw and teeth severely overlap the bottom jaw and teeth.
    • Class 3 malocclusion, called prognathism or underbite, occurs when the lower jaw protrudes or juts forward, causing the lower jaw and teeth to overlap the upper jaw and teeth.

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