5 Health Problems That Can Be Solved by Orthodontics

Most people think that dental braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment only work to fix and improve one’s smile. No one can blame them – after all, it is a dental treatment. But there are actually some medical problems that can be addressed by having your teeth straightened by those wires and brackets. Find out the most common health problems that can be alleviated by orthodontic treatment.

Temporomandibular Joint Problems

The temporomandibular joint, or simply TMJ, pertains the joint connecting your lower jaw to the rest of the head. A patient who suffers from malocclusion or wrong bite can also experience TMJ problems because the wrong relationship of the upper and lower teeth can also cause the misalignment of the jaw.

This is manifested by pain in the jaw and around the ear area, and discomfort when chewing. Orthodontic treatment like dental braces which help put the teeth into their proper alignment, in turn, can help correct jaw alignment as well. This helps get rid of all the negative symptoms mentioned.

Headaches and Neck Pain

The head and neck area consists of a complex, yet delicate network of bones, joints, muscles, and tendons that have to work together in harmony for optimum function. And any imbalance in this network results to chronic headaches and neck pain.

If you experience reoccurring pain in the head and neck area that doesn’t seem to go away with your OTC pain meds warrant a visit to a specialist. Your dentist and/or orthodontist are some of the specialists you must consider especially if the pain is originating from behind the eyes, on the temple, or at the back of the head. You dentist or orthodontist will help determine if the pain is related to your teeth and orthodontic treatment could be the answer.

Sleep Disorders

Difficulty sleeping may result from both TMJ problems and pain in the head and neck. If you jaws are misaligned, chances are, you’ll have trouble sleeping due to breathing problems. If left untreated, the breathing problem may get worse over time. By correcting the alignment of the teeth, breathing will improve, giving you longer and more restful sleep.

Heart Problems

Individuals with malocclusion often have crowded teeth that make oral hygiene a bit of a challenge. If you can’t clean your teeth well, the inability to adequately remove plaque deposits can result to gum disease, starting with gingivitis.

Over time, unmanaged gingivitis can advance to a more severe form of gum disease – periodontitis. Numerous studies have proven the link between periodontitis and heart problems.

Having your teeth in their proper alignment will make cleaning them much easier and, in the process, prevent periodontal disease and heart problems.

If you have any of the health issues above, one probable solution would be visiting your dentist or orthodontist to determine if it is your teeth that’s causing your malady. Your dentist or orthodontist can devise a treatment plan that will help alleviate these problems.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome Sign & Symptoms

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disease of the jaw nerves and muscles caused by damage to the temporomandibular joint.

The temporomandibular joint is the link between the jawbone and the skull.

When this joint is damaged or tampered, it can lead to disarray called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome which leads to pain with clicking, chewing and popping of the jaw, tooth grinding (bruxism), and inflammation on the sides of the face, nerve uneasiness, headaches, Eustachian tube dysfunction and sometimes disruption of the temporomandibular joint.

What Are The Risk Factors for TMJ Syndrome?

There are numerous risk factors for TMJ syndrome:

  • Poor posture of the neck and upper back muscles may lead to spraining of neck and abnormalities of jaw muscle role.
  • Stress may increase jaw clamping and muscle tension.
  • Women between 18-44 years of age are more prone to risk.
  • Patients with prolonged inflammatory arthritis have amplified risk.
  • People with poorly positioned teeth or jaw trauma are prone to tmj.
  • People who have a genetic disposition to pain sensitivity and increased anxiety responses may be more vulnerable.

What causes TMJ Syndrome?

The causes of TMJ syndrome are not completely assumed.

Multiple factors contribute to the muscle stiffness and dysfunction that portray this condition.

It is not clear if some of these root causes directly lead to TMJ syndrome or if they are a consequence of the ailment.

Causes may include

  • trauma to or misalignment (malocclusion) of the teeth or jaw,
  • teeth grinding (bruxism),
  • poor posture,
  • anxiety or stress,
  • inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis,
  • Excessive gum chewing.

What Are TMJ Syndrome Signs and Symptoms?

The main sign of TMJ syndrome is discomfort in the jaw joint.

This joint is located just in front of the ear and pain associated with this may encompass the eye, face, forehead, ear or neck.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:

  • clicking/popping of the jaw
  • ear pain, headache
  • ringing or popping noises in the ears (tinnitus)
  • blurred vision
  • tight, sore or stiff jaw or neck muscles
  • Pain, swelling or a lump in the temple area

What is the treatment for TMJ syndrome?

Many symptoms of TMJ syndrome can react well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques.

This syndrome often retorts to home remedies including:

  • Ice packs to the joint,
  • Eating soft diets,
  • Avoiding chewing gum,
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • Reflexology of the jaw and neck and stress reduction.

When home remedies are not operational, medical therapies may be necessary. These include:

  • Dental splint, a dental equipment that is placed in the mouth that keeps the teeth in position and prevents tooth grinding
  • Botox instillations
  • Prescription medications
  • In severity- surgical procedures would be required

Dr. Shahin Safarian, is a TMJ specialist and expert in neuromuscular dentistry providing temporomandibular joint dysfunction therapy to patients in San Diego. Contact Now for a free consultation!