Many people are unaware of the possible problems and the symptoms that are related to the jaw. The jaw is more connected to your health than you may realize. Other than being the only place in the body where two joints move at exactly the same time and it is impossible to move one side without moving the other, the jaw heavily influences your health.
If you have a health problem, your jaw and teeth might be a one factor. By regularly checking up with your dentist you can determine the proper treatment and strategy for your jaw health.
The fit of your teeth will affect the position of the jaw joints – if this puts the jaw joints in an uncomfortable position, or one that creates compromise, compression, nerve impingement, or postural issues – then it stands to reason that changing the location of where the teeth fit together can change how the joints function and their position. Simply put, you can’t change one without changing the other – changing the bite affects the jaw joints, and changing the jaw joints affects the bite.
By extension, this could affect problems that exist or are being experienced. Possible jaw problems resulting from jaw joint (TMJ) misplacement, inflammation, or irritation are plenty and varied. They can range from headaches, TMJ pain, TMJ noises, ear congestion, sensitive teeth, tooth wear, clenching, difficulty chewing and limited opening, to tinnitus (ringing ears), dysphagia (swallowing problems), facial pain, cervical pain, paresthesia, thermal sensitivity, bone loss, and gum recession.
A misaligned jaw can also contribute to forward head posture, vertigo, loose teeth, postural problems, and insomnia without you realizing the underlying cause.
This is why it is important to be thorough with your history and make sure that any of the deficiencies and problems that are identified are taken into account in the treatment and strategy with your dentist.
Your jaw can affect anything from very minor discomfort to nerve inflammation causing bell’s palsy and chronic pain such as trigeminal neuralgia, as well as everything else mentioned above.
The jaw is the only joint in the body that has a hard end definitive stopping point - meaning the joints cannot move any further than when the teeth come together. If there is jaw misplacement resulting from the fit and alignment of your teeth, the jaw will have a hard time adjusting, and this can cause a multitude of problems down the road.
At Kelowna Dental Solutions, we strive to provide our patients with as much information as possible. To determine if there is a jaw or bite problem, we use technologies such as CT/3D imaging and analysis, a postural assessment, muscle EMG and frequency analysis.
If there is an issue that needs addressing, we use therapies such as ULF TENS (ultra low frequency transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation) to create a better and more balanced relationship between the upper and lower jaws.
A new bite position is the next step. Using a specialized splint, called an anatomical orthotic that the patient chews with, sleeps with, and lives with to settle the new bite position, we can evaluate and confirm the new bite position.
What we need to do next is bring the teeth together to maintain the new, improved jaw alignment/relationship. We do this with orthodontics. With options like Invisalign and braces, the patient’s teeth will now be in the right location and aligned properly.
Kelowna Dental Solutions works with patients on a case-by-case basis. Everyone’s oral history is different, and we work with the patients to strategize a treatment plan that will work for them. For more information or any inquiries, contact us here.
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