Every one of us needs the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in good working order. After all, it helps us talk, eat, drink, and even breathe.
Sometimes, though, daily wear and tear on the TMJ can take a toll, causing irritation, inflammation, and misalignment. The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint that relies upon a smooth, efficient process to move the jaw.
A misaligned jaw is more common than people realize. But is it something to be concerned about?
The answer depends on you and whether it’s causing you pain.
How the Teeth and Jaw Work 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
Treating Jaw Misalignment
Jaw misalignment can be a minor issue or a major one. Again, it depends on the patient. The first thing to do is to call Pasadena Pain Management, as we specialize
TMJ disorders. Some ways we can 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
Concerned About Jaw Misalignment?
At Pasadena Pain Management, 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.
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About Pasadena Pain Management
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.