Santa Cruz Family Dentists | Smile With Confidence in Santa Cruz

Opening Hours : Mon - Thu 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  Contact : (831) 316-1580

A stable bite means a healthy jaw

A healthy mouth is not just teeth and gums, but a healthy bite. Misaligned occlusion can lead to complications with the joints and muscles of the face.  If teeth do not fit together properly, muscle tension, headaches and an unhealthy joint may result.  This makes it difficult to open and close smoothly and easily.

On average a person swallows 2,000 times a day.  Every time a person swallows the upper and lower teeth meet and push against the skull.  On the person with a poorly aligned bite or frequent headaches this is a recipe for pain.  In an unstable bite, the jaw must work harder to come together causing muscle strain, inflammation around the jaw, fatigue and it may cause long term damage.

A complicated joint

A wide range of movement calls for some complicated tissues.  The Temporomandibular Joint is one of the most complex joints in the body.  Obviously it opens and closes, but the jaw is also capable of a wide variety of side to side, back and forth, and rotating motions.  To do this TM Joint employs the help of a whole group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Each one specifically designed to allow speech, mastication and opening.

Signs and symptoms

When muscles around the TM Joint become tense it can lead to a variety of symptoms.  Blood cannot circulate properly, wastes from metabolic processes build up causing headaches.   It may also cause face pain and ear discomfort.   Tense muscles can affect nerves making you feel dizzy.  Clicking and popping sounds are often a result of the tense muscles and tendons and their proximity to the ear.

TMJ Disorder can cause

  1. Headaches
  2. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  3. Grinding, crunching or popping noises while chewing.
  4. Dizziness

Keep your bite on track

The best solution is prevention.  Ensure a healthy jaw by scheduling regular check-ups.  In a lot of cases TMJ Disorder can be identified and treated conservatively and quickly if identified early.   If you think your teeth are not aligning properly or if you notice any new sounds or discomfort in your jaw call the office.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

To your health,

Dr. Bob