How a Bad Overbite Can Lead to TMJ Disorder

how an overbite can cause tmj disorder

An overbite is a common dental condition where the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. While a slight overbite is normal, a severe overbite can lead to various dental and health issues, including temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. In this article, we will explore the connection between overbites and TMJ disorder and how orthodontic care can help correct an overbite and prevent TMJ disorder.

What is an Overbite?

An overbite, also known as a deep bite, is a dental condition where the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth. This can be caused by genetics, thumb sucking, or prolonged use of a pacifier. In some cases, an overbite can also be caused by poor oral habits, such as tongue thrusting or nail biting.

A slight overbite is normal and can even be beneficial in protecting the teeth from wear and tear. However, a severe overbite can cause various dental and health issues, including TMJ disorder.

issues from overbite

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull. This joint is responsible for the movement of the jaw, allowing us to speak, chew, and yawn. When this joint is not functioning properly, it can lead to pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, and neck.

TMJ disorder can be caused by various factors, including trauma to the jaw, arthritis, and misalignment of the teeth and jaw. A severe overbite can also contribute to the development of TMJ disorder.

How Does an Overbite Contribute to TMJ Disorder?

An overbite can contribute to TMJ disorder in several ways:

  • Misalignment of the Teeth: A severe overbite can cause misalignment of the teeth, which can put pressure on the jaw joint. This can lead to inflammation and pain in the jaw, face, and neck.
  • Excessive Strain on the Jaw: When the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth, it can cause excessive strain on the jaw muscles. This can lead to muscle tension and pain, which can contribute to TMJ disorder.
  • Difficulty Chewing: A severe overbite can make it difficult to chew properly, leading to uneven pressure on the jaw joint. This can cause inflammation and pain in the jaw, leading to TMJ disorder.
  • Teeth Grinding: People with overbites may also be more prone to teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. This can put excessive pressure on the jaw joint, leading to TMJ disorder.

How Can Orthodontic Care Help Correct an Overbite and Prevent TMJ Disorder?

Orthodontic care, such as braces or Invisalign, can help correct an overbite and prevent TMJ disorder. By aligning the teeth and jaw, orthodontic treatment can reduce strain on the jaw joint and improve overall oral health.

Braces

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment used to correct an overbite. They work by applying gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually shifting them into the correct position. Braces can help align the teeth and jaw, reducing strain on the jaw joint and preventing TMJ disorder.

Invisalign

Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional braces. It uses a series of clear aligners to gradually shift the teeth into the correct position. Invisalign can also help correct an overbite and prevent TMJ disorder by aligning the teeth and jaw.

Other Orthodontic Treatments

In some cases, orthodontic treatment may not be enough to correct a severe overbite. In these cases, other orthodontic treatments, such as headgear or palate expanders, may be recommended. These treatments can help align the teeth and jaw, reducing strain on the jaw joint and preventing TMJ disorder.

Other Benefits of Correcting an Overbite

Aside from preventing TMJ disorder, correcting an overbite can also have other benefits, including:

  • Improved Oral Health: By aligning the teeth and jaw, orthodontic treatment can improve overall oral health. This can reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues.
  • Improved Chewing and Speech: Correcting an overbite can also improve chewing and speech. This can make it easier to eat and speak properly, leading to better overall health and confidence.
  • Reduced Risk of Dental Injuries: A severe overbite can increase the risk of dental injuries, such as chipped or cracked teeth. By correcting an overbite, you can reduce the risk of these injuries and maintain a healthy smile.

How to Know if You Have an Overbite

If you suspect you have an overbite, it is essential to consult with a dentist or orthodontist for a proper diagnosis. Some common signs of an overbite include:

  • The upper front teeth completely cover the lower front teeth when biting down.
  • The upper front teeth are significantly larger than the lower front teeth.
  • The lower jaw appears to be pushed back.
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking.
  • Jaw pain or discomfort.

Correction Makes a Difference

An overbite is a common dental condition that can lead to various dental and health issues, including TMJ disorder. By correcting an overbite through orthodontic care, you can reduce strain on the jaw joint and prevent TMJ disorder. If you suspect you have an overbite, consult with a dentist or orthodontist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right orthodontic care, you can achieve a healthy, aligned smile and prevent potential health issues.

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Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University – Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania – Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Certificate in Orthodontics

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University
Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania
Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ.
Certificate in Orthodontics

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