Balance your imbalanced bite in Beverly, MA with Dr. Benjamin Polan
Unbalanced bite can be a pain in the neck
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. There are a number of symptoms associated with TMJ disorders that range from annoying aches to searing pains. While there are a wide variety of symptoms, the primary cause of TMJ is a unbalanced jaw or bite. TMJ disorders occur when your upper and lower teeth align in a way that is unnatural for your jaw.
When your teeth are misaligned, it puts a strain on the muscles in your jaw, face, head and neck which in turn stresses the nerves that run through them. The tired muscles cause TMJ aches and the compressed nerves cause the TMJ pain. Since your whole body is composed of muscles, nerves, bones and joints that are all connected, the pain and strain can extend downward to your neck, shoulders and back. Some people experience a tingling or numbness in their fingers, hands or arms.
What causes the imbalance?
The more obvious indications of a misaligned bite are an underbite, overbite or crossbite, however, TMJ does not have to result from misaligned teeth. There are some instances where the teeth appear to align evenly with each other, but the muscles and joints are still in an uncomfortable position relative to the jaw. TMJ also results from poorly restored teeth, missing teeth, thumb sucking, certain types of trauma to the jaw and habits developed during childhood.
During childhood, the tongue is largely used in the development of your jaw. The tongue, in its natural position, exerts force on the upper arch of your mouth to assist in jaw development. When this force is not present, the jaw will not grow to its potential. Also, allergies and other conditions that cause a child to breathe through the mouth can cause a misaligned jaw because the tongue is forced downward rather than upward to allow air to enter.
A misaligned bite can throw your whole body off
A misaligned bite may cause excessive wear and tear on your teeth, changing your facial appearance as the space between your teeth diminishes. Jowls, premature wrinkles, and creases that an unbalanced bite cause to form at the sides of your nose and mouth are not physically painful, but can be distressing nonetheless.
You may begin to hunch your shoulders or slide your head forward in an attempt to compensate for the pain, causing postural problems. These types of changes to your facial appearance and body posturing may not be immediately noticeable since they occur over time as your body tries to adjust.
Balance out your bite
Dr. Benjamin Polan is a TMJ dentist in Beverly, MA who specializes in neuromuscular dentistry to treat TMJ disorders. Rather than focusing on just your joints and teeth as is done with traditional dentistry, Dr. Polan recognizes the relationship between your bite, your jaw and the muscles in your body. He focuses his efforts on the health of your posture, your range of motion and your muscular functions.
A consultation with Dr. Polan will determine the correct posturing for your jaw and which of the various types of restorative procedures such as crowns, bridges, or orthodontics would be effective to restructure your teeth.