The average person may not be able to tell if jaws are misaligned. You may look in the mirror and see a perfectly straight smile. You might open your mouth to get a gander at the seemingly flawless arch of your teeth and think that nothing could possibly be wrong.
On the flipside, you might suffer misaligned teeth and jump right to the conclusion that your jaws are misaligned, as well. In both cases, you could be wrong. The state of your smile doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with jaw alignment, although often the two are connected. How can you tell if your jaw is misaligned? Here are a few clues to watch for.
One common sign of jaw misalignment is a speech impediment like a lisp. When your jaws and/or teeth don’t properly align, it can definitely affect the way you speak. Correcting your alignment issues should help to alleviate the problem, although speech therapy may also be required in some cases.
Perhaps the most notable symptom associated with jaw misalignment is bite problems. This can result in cosmetic concerns like overbite, underbite, or even changing appearance of the face. However, the greater concern is the function of the mouth.
Bite issues related to misaligned jaws could cause discomfort or difficulty when eating. You may bite your tongue, lips, or inner cheeks frequently. Alignment issues could cause you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Jaw misalignment could also make it difficult to properly care for your teeth, resulting in oral health issues.
Aches and Pains
When your jaw is properly aligned and functioning as it should, you can eat, drink, smile, laugh, and generally function without any symptoms or side effects. When your jaw is misaligned, there’s a good chance you’ll compensate in a variety of ways, taxing your body and leading to aches and pains in the jaw and neck, or even headaches.
If you suspect your jaw is misaligned, the best way to know for sure is to speak with a dental professional. Your dentist should be able to tell you pretty quickly if your jaw is properly aligned or not, and from there you can begin to discuss options for correction. With targeted treatment, you can make sure your jaws are properly aligned and avoid the many pitfalls associated with misalignment, including both cosmetic and functional concerns.