Jaw problems

Maloclussion and the Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ)

Do you suffer from unexplained pain in the ears, face, head, neck, shoulders or back? Do you sometimes have dizzy spells without knowing why? Believe it or not, these symptoms could all stem from problems in your jaw. If this is the case, we can help.

The joints which connect the lower jaw to the skull, just in front of each ear, are known as the tempromandibular joints, or TMJ for short. These are some of the most complex joints in your body, held in place by an intricate system of muscles and tendons.The way a person’s teeth fit together is called occlusion. Normally, the upper and lower teeth will fit together comfortably and well. But in some cases the teeth may not be aligned properly. This is known as malocclusion. Where malocclusion exists, the jaw will shift in order to fit the teeth together more comfortably. This can put pressure on the jaw joints and surrounding muscles. This pressure often causes pain in the area surrounding the joint, such as the ears, face, and neck, and in some cases the stress can even cause pain in the back or shoulders. The jaw’s attempts to correct malocclusion can also lead to tooth grinding.

Diagnosing jaw problems

Your dentist can check for malocclusion by takingx-rays of your teeth and jaws. An impression may be taken of your teeth, so that your dentist can assess how well they fit together. Jaw repositioners can be used to temporarily adjust the way the teeth fit together, until the pain and maloclussion have been eliminated. This then helps your dentist to decide on the best treatment to permanently solve the problem.

Tempromandibular JointAn instrument called an articulator can be used to simulate the movement of your jaw and assess how well your teeth fit together. The relationship of your teeth to the your jaw is measured, and this information can then be used to reproduce your jaw movement on the articulator. Again, this helps your dentist to diagnose the best course of action to resolve the problem.

Treating jaw problems

There are several ways of treating malocclusion and jaw problems, depending on how badly and in what way the teeth are misaligned. Orthodontic treatment or crowns may be required to help the teeth fit together more comfortably. Occlusal equilibriation involves reshaping the tops of teeth to help them fit together more comfortably and reduce pressure on individual teeth.

In some cases, occlusal restoration may be required. This involves replacing or reconstructing teeth, as well as reshaping the edges of teeth, to achieve a better fit.

Whatever treatment is required, you will find that afterwards the pain will be eliminated, as pressure on the joints and muscles of your jaw are reduced and your mouth can relax.

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