A misaligned jaw pain results from occlusion.
This is how teeth meet together when you open or close your jaw.
If you have a misaligned jaw, then naturally your bite will be misaligned too.
This is usually because of temporomandibular joint disorder or other bite problems.
The pain from this misalignment can be severe.
Though, you can cope with them using exercises and therapies.
This article discusses the ways you can reduce your pain and where it stems from.
Keep reading below to know more!
Reasons Behind a Misaligned Jaw
A misaligned jaw can interfere with your quality of life making eating, speaking and sleeping difficult.
The jaw becomes uneven if anyone of its structure is impaired.
For instance, the tendons, muscles and bones are important for it to be even.
Hence, if any of these are hurt in some way then you may suffer symptoms like:
One of the common reasons to have an uneven jaw is TMJD.
TMJ can occur due to diseases such as arthritis or trauma.
TMJ symptoms can follow without it being an obvious case.
However, you can soothe and cope with the pain in many ways. More on that below!
Misalignment of Teeth
If your teeth are not aligned properly then they hinder the jaw from settling in its position.
However, you need to be patient as it can take up to 6 to 18 months to show results.
Broken Jaw Due to Trauma or Injury
An injury to your jaw from trauma can cause it to break.
Or the jaw can fracture and dislocate.
A fracture will not require extensive treatment and may heal on its own.
Whereas a dislocated and broken jaw will require surgery.
Misalignment of the jaw can be present from birth.
Having a crooked jaw or a faulty change since birth is a natural defect.
Either surgery, lifestyle changes or supportive care can help to cope with it.
Treatments for Misaligned Jaw
If the discomfort is severe and you have dislocated the jaw, there remains no option but to get surgery.
Your dentist may recommend the following surgeries according to your condition.
- Jaw wirirng
- Mandibular osteotomy.
- Maxillary osteotomy
If your dentist recommends a jaw wring then it is to support the jaw if it is fractured or broken.
Hence, it helps to put the jaw back in its position or at least provide it support.
If you have an overbite then you will undergo a Mandibular osteotomy.
There is a protruding lower jaw that your dentist moves forward or backward through the procedure.
Cuts are made in the back of your mouth to help move the jaw.
While these surgeries fix the jaw, a Genioplasty treats the chin.
It involves restructuring the chin as well as the jaw, done so by cutting the chin bone present in front of the jaw.
Moreover, it fixes a crooked or small chin.
A Maxillary osteotomy corrects a crossbite and overbite.
Hence, your dentist performs it on the upper jaw to move them forward.
As a result, the jaw and upper teeth align with the lower jaw and teeth.
However, extensive surgeries are not your only option.
If the pain stems from misalignment then your dentist will first work on aligning your teeth.
They may recommend braces or Invisalign for the realignment.
Hence, your teeth will no longer be misaligned and in their right positions in the upper and lower arch.
Furthermore, they may do some bite adjustments so that your teeth meet where they are supposed to at contact points.
Bite appliances can also help to re-establish the bite.
These occlusal appliances relax your joints as well as your muscles.
Thus aligning the bite at the right levels.
Furthermore, you can relax the muscles around the jaw.
This is achieved by taking relaxation therapy and behavioral therapy.
Do not delay treatment for a misaligned jaw.
Visit a dentist that has expertise in oral joint and occlusal issues.
Other than that, you can also look for remedies and exercises to decrease your pain.
Exercises to Decrease TMJ Pain
TMJ Pain is also due to a misaligned jaw.
Certain exercises can help to decrease the severity of the pain and help you cope with it.
They can health the jaw, strengthen it, relax, stress and increase its mobility plus also reduce clicking.
The exercises include:
Goldfish Exercise with Partial Opening
- Place the tongue at the palate (roof of the mouth)
- Also, place a finger on the TMJ location i.e. the front of the ear
- Next, put your middle finger of the other hand on your chin
- Use that to pull your lower jaw halfway and then close it.
- Do this six times to make one set. Practice one set 6 times a day.
Goldfish Exercise with Full Opening
- Place your fingers and tongue similar to the partial opening.
- However, use your middle finger to drop the lower jaw completely and then back. Hence, the name-full opening.
- Similarly, do it 6 times in one set completing one set 6 times a day.
Resist Opening Mouth
- Generate resistance by placing the thumb under the chin and opening your mouth
- Keep holding for 3 to 6 seconds and then close your mouth.
- The pressure from the opening and the thumb creates resistance.
Resist Closing Mouth
- Use your index fingers and thumbs of both hands to squeeze the chin.
- Close your mouth while placing pressure on the chin
- This exercise facilitates the chewing action helping you to chew better by strengthening muscles.
Tucking the Chin (Chin Tucks)
- Put your back, shoulders and chest up
- Pull your chin back making a double chin
- Let t stay in place for 3 seconds and keep repeating this 10 times.
You can also do other exercises such as tongue up, relaxed jaw exercise, sideways jaw movement and forward jaw movement.
Relieving Misaligned Jaw Pain and TMJ Pain Through Other Means
Your dentist can recommend over-the-counter pain delivers such as ibuprofen if the pain is severe.
Any other orthopedic device can also reposition the jaw, raising your bite.
Plus do not subject your jaw to any strenuous movement.
Use stress relief techniques so that you are not caught in triggers or behaviors that tense the jaw.
Manage the stress and triggers so that your jaw relaxes.
Using warm towels in that area may also help to relax the jaw and provide you with some relief.
You can also apply ice to reduce inflammation as well as pain but do not apply it directly to the skin.
Rather limit the application to only 15 minutes per hour.
In order to reduce pressure felt in that area, you can also try alternate therapy i.e. using acupuncture.
If the pain is severe then surgery will be the last option, otherwise injecting corticosteroid injections.
Other than that, you can still manage to cope with the pain by implementing a few lifestyle changes.
These can damage the teeth and increase your pain in the TMJ.
Also do not bite your lower lip.
Only eat a soft diet that does not put extra pressure on the jaw and allows the TMJ to relax.
Refrain from doing large movements of the jaw that pressurize it such as yawning and singing.
Have a good posture that keeps your jaw in the correct position.
Furthermore, perform exercises on a daily basis to notice any change in your pain.
Relieving Pain During Oral Health Care
When your jaw is misaligned then you will face difficulty while performing basic hygiene.
Do not let the pain dismay you from taking care of your oral health.
Your pain and condition can worsen otherwise leading to other dental health problems.
So what you can do is use a sonic brush or one with soft bristles that are not harsh on your teeth.
After brushing, flossing is another important part of your routine.
If you cannot open your mouth wide because of the jaw’s position, use a water flosser or a rubber tip stimulator.
If that is still not possible then ask your dentist if there is an alternative to flossing.
They may suggest using cotton gauze to wipe your mouth instead.
Also, you would like to avoid any other oral health problems during this time.
Hence, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash often.
Keep visiting your dentist regularly and if it hurts during the procedure, let them know.
As soon as your procedure ends, apply ice or a warm cloth to relax your muscles so that there is no strain on your jaw.
If your misaligned jaw is causing extreme pain, relay this to your dentist.
Maybe coping only through exercises and remedies is not the solution for you.
Go as soon as you feel the pain and let your dentist find out if you can cope with it or you will need a surgery.