As a provider of orthodontics, we have the expertise to diagnose symptoms that may seem unconnected to the mouth, and connect them back to the jaw bone. A misaligned jaw may or may not manifest itself with traditional symptoms. The jawbone, being in the face, has been known to cause problems to the overall health of a person. For example, the jawbone being misaligned can be diagnosed from symptoms that may include migraine headaches, bouts of dizziness, and even severe pain in the neck and shoulders. There have even been cases of people with tinnitus, an extreme ringing in the ears, finding relief after getting their jaw realigned properly.
Even among orthodontists there are specialists who focus on different areas of the teeth and jaws. Most of the work an orthodontist does is concentrated on the teeth themselves and helping to move the jaw based on the alignment of the teeth, also known as the bite. There are, however, a school of orthodontics that is specifically focused on aligning the jaw and is known as Dentofacial orthodontics. Dentofacial orthodontics attempts to correct the misalignment of the jawbone itself. More often than not these practices are more effective in children, but there are also ways to correct misalignment in the jawbone of adults using these methods and oral surgical procedures.
Children are by far the best candidates for having their jaw alignment changed before it grows into a misaligned problem. Orthodontists can work with a child’s jaw, using a variety of tools, so that it never grows in the wrong position. If we suspect that a child’s jaw is growing into a bad alignment, usually as determined by misaligned teeth and adult teeth coming in badly positioned, we can immediately take Dentofacial corrective measures. A child’s jawbone is still soft and can be manipulated to affect both the development of the jaw and the incoming growth of the teeth. In our orthodontics office, one of they ways that we accomplish this is by using an expander to create enough room for all of the teeth or using rubber bands to manipulate the position of the jaw itself.
For adults, whose jaw has already developed and hardened it is a little bit more complicated to realign the jaw. Typically braces and addressing the bite itself can be used to straighten teeth. However, if we determine that your jaw bone itself is the cause of the misalignment and if you have other problems arising from the misaligned jaw, then we may recommend using Dentofacial corrective measures as well. Often, adult oral surgery is the only way to correct a jaw misalignment. In this case, an oral surgeon will make the corrective adjustments to the jaw and then we will put on braces for you to complete the alignment and correction of the teeth. As with children, aligning the jaw before beginning the alignment of the teeth makes it much easier to give you that brilliant smile.
Age is not the only determining factor for correcting a jaw that may be misaligned. While the initial orthodontics treatments may be influenced by the patients age, ultimately once the jaw bone has been properly aligned you will start feeling more comfortable and the appearance of your teeth and smile may improve as well.