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Not Only for Tooth Straightening: Orthodontics for Jaw Joint Health

People of any age can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Teeth that are crooked, crowded, or that stick out affect the way your teeth look and work. Orthodontic treatment not only improves the look of your smile but your overall and joint health as well.

What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth so they look and work better. Braces or other appliances are used to put gentle pressure on your teeth. Over a number of months or years this pressure can move your teeth into the right position.

Why you may need orthodontics.

The position of your teeth and jaws has an effect on your bite. Your bite is how your top and bottom teeth come together. When your top and bottom teeth do not fit together properly, this is called a malocclusion or a bad bite. Problems like missing, crooked, crowded or protruding teeth can contribute to a bad bite.

A bad bite can be detrimental to your overall well-being. People who have malocclusions can experience a range of unexpected health problems. By correcting your bite, common symptoms and chronic conditions may be alleviated to help you improve your overall quality of life.

Here is a list of common health conditions that may be alleviated with orthodontic treatment such as braces or other corrective alternatives:

Headaches – If you suffer from recurring headaches and/or pressure behind your eyes, temples or at the back of the head, it could be due to jaw tension, grinding or popping. A complex network of muscles, tendons, joints and bones all work together within your head and neck, and when there is an imbalance of these forces, it can lead to chronic headaches.

Neck ache / Shoulder pain – An imbalance in the forces of the same network of muscles, tendons, joints and bones that can lead to headaches can also lead to neck and shoulder ache and strain.

TMJ – TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which attaches your lower jaw to the base of the skull and is used for chewing. If you experience pain or tenderness in your jaw, pain in or around your ears, difficulty/discomfort chewing, locking of the jaw joint or an overall uncomfortable bite, it may be the result of TMJ. Orthodontic treatment can realign your jaw to alleviate some of these symptoms. Left untreated, TMJ can cause serious tooth damage and wear.

Sleep disruptions – If you suffer from sleep apnea, are a chronic snorer or just suffer from poor sleep in general, it might be due to a lack of oxygen caused by a misaligned jaw. Your jaw posture can have a big impact on your breathing.  Correcting your alignment can lead to improved oxygen flow and, as a result, give you a better night’s sleep.

Sinus problems – If you suffer from mouth breathing or other difficulties breathing, the shape of your mouth and jaw may be to blame. The structure of your mouth and jaw can cause your sinuses to be narrow and compressed. By making adjustments to your palate and jaw, the sinuses widen which can allow for a more efficient airflow.

By choosing orthodontic treatment, you can potentially avoid the problems that were listed above, and also benefit from the reasons below:

Improved oral hygiene – Sometimes oral hygiene can be harder because of common problems like crooked teeth or overcrowding. By correcting these issues with orthodontic treatment, taking care of your teeth can be a lot easier. As a result, your oral hygiene will improve. This reduces the risk of gum disease and ensures your teeth are more likely to last throughout your lifetime.

Higher Self Esteem – If your teeth aren’t as straight and beautiful as you would like, it can lead to anxiety in social situations. Many people report more self-confidence, higher self-esteem and less stress as the result of corrective orthodontic work.

If any of these conditions are keeping you from smiling and enjoying life as much as you’d like, speak to your dentist about whether orthodontics could benefit you. Dr. Hansford offers several orthodontic corrective services as well as referrals to orthodontic specialists. Visit us a for more information.

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