Misaligned jaw joint could cause daily headaches

I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about how we correct bite positions when we’re doing jaw joint treatment. Also, when patients are considering aesthetic changes or major changes to their mouth. Here’s a helpful example. The teeth are very healthy. The person’s teeth are perfectly aligned. There’s no decay. The gums are healthy. It doesn’t get much better than this. Well, you need to understand this person also has daily headaches. I think five migraines a week is not uncommon. They’re on high-dose painkillers because of neck pain, facial pain, ear aches, and all kinds of issues. Medically, the doctors can’t find anything wrong with them. So what’s going on? Why would you ever do anything to alter those teeth? Does changing the bite position help this person?

Some dentists still make thick, clear orthotics. It alters the bite, and you can see the teeth underneath, but this is very difficult to wear. It’s thick, front to back. It’s pushing on the tongue so it’s uncomfortable. Your speech is off often you lisp and you have trouble talking because you’ve got a mouth full of plastic. So patients can’t chew with this. So, they often take it out to eat. If you take it out and eat your sandwich, every time you chew without the orthotic in place, you are re-injuring the jaw joint. Just like when the doctor puts a cast on your broken leg, you have to leave it on for six weeks for the bone to heal. Well, you have to leave this orthotic in place to help the jaw joint heal. And if every time you eat a sandwich, you’re taking it out, your jaw joint is never going to heal. Who can blame people for taking those out? They are difficult to wear.

So what we do at our dental clinic is we take the original teeth and we make these clear, thin overlays. They look like teeth, they chew like teeth and they feel like teeth. It’s kind of like ladies bonding a fake fingernail over top of their fingernails. The teeth are very aesthetic. No one will know you’re doing anything to fix your smile. Very thin and very comfortable. You can chew whatever you want. And more importantly, your speech is perfectly fine. As a result, this is very helpful in helping to fix the jaw joint. The patient cannot take this out. The patient sleeps with it, and wears it constantly, but it’s not a problem. It’s very comfortable.

Here, the orthotic is still in place, the original teeth are unharmed underneath. I glue it over top. I’ve changed the front to back position, and I’ve made sure there are no twists or cants in the lower jaw. This is to make sure the bones are in the right position, make sure the jaw joint is in the right position and all the muscles are functioning properly. Changing this person’s bite, it looks like we’ve changed it dramatically because we have, but that helped correct the headaches, correct the facial pain and dramatically improve this person’s quality of life.

So that’s why we use this procedure. It allows people to test drive the new bite position, and get a sense of what the teeth are going to look like. But more importantly, how do they feel? Are they getting better by changing the bite position? Then we can consider some of the other options for more long-term correction, such as braces, maybe crowns on the teeth, maybe long-term orthotics.

This is just used to help patients figure out if they’re heading in the right direction. It can be reversed if they don’t like it. I can take it all off. Nothing’s harmed to the teeth. Thanks for reading!