Loud noises, dehydration, bright lights, etc. It’s long been established that these triggers and more can cause headaches and migraines. But there may be another culprit that is much more subtle. It’s called malocclusion, and it’s a fancy name for teeth misalignment. Teeth shifting with age, as well as daily wear can lead to eventual misalignment of the teeth. This misalignment problem, or malocclusion of the teeth, can cause serious oral health complications over time. Malocclusion of the teeth places added strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ligament and the various muscles that control your jaw. When your teeth are misaligned, your jaw joint, as well as each surrounding muscle, can’t fully relax, creating excessive pressure, tension and fatigue. This can then lead to chronic headaches, migraines or even temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
What Causes Malocclusion?
Malocclusion of the teeth is usually an inherited condition in which teeth begin out of place or naturally shift. Still, it can also be caused by various circumstances or habits that may change the shape or even the jaw's structure. The following are some of the many habits or conditions that can lead to or accelerate teeth misalignment:
- Thumb sucking during early childhood
- A cleft lip or palate
- Prolonged use of a bottle during early childhood
- Frequent use of a pacifier past the age of three
- An injury that results in the misalignment of the jaw
- Abnormally shaped or impacted teeth
- Poor dental hygiene and care resulting in ill-fitting crowns, fillings, and braces
- Breathing issues caused by allergies or enlarged tonsils or adenoids
What Are the Symptoms?
How can you pinpoint if your teeth shifting is what’s causing your debilitating migraine or headache? Well, there are some common symptoms and signs that can tell you if malocclusion of the teeth is causing your headaches. Keep in mind that symptoms can range from extremely subtle to severe. Typical symptoms associated with misalignment, in addition to chronic headaches and migraines, can include:
- An overbite
- An underbite
- Crooked teeth
- Frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue
- Speech problems
- Development of a lisp
- The development of difficult-to-clean pockets in the mouth that can collect bacteria and lead to tooth decay
- Alteration in the appearance of the face
- Discomfort when biting or chewing
- Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose
Types of Misalignment
Class 1 Malocclusion The most common classification, Class 1 malocclusion is diagnosed when the bite is mostly normal except for problems such as crowding or spacing of the teeth. Class 2 Malocclusion Class 2 is diagnosed when a severe overbite is evident. This condition is known as retrognathism. It means that the upper teeth and the jaw significantly overlap the lower teeth and jaw. Class 3 Malocclusion This classification, also known as prognathism, is diagnosed when there’s a severe underbite. With the lower jaw protruding forward, the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth and jaw.
Treatment for Malocclusion of the Teeth
It can be difficult to prevent this disorder, since most cases are hereditary. Still, parents of young children should limit pacifier and bottle use to help develop the jaw. Early detection can cut down on the severity of treatment down the road. While most people with mild malocclusion won’t require treatment, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist if your case is more severe. There are various treatments depending on the severity of your case, these can include:
- Braces to correct the alignment of the teeth
- Removal of teeth in order to correct overcrowding
- Bonding, reshaping, or capping teeth
- Plates or wires to stabilize the jawbone
- Surgery to reshape or even shorten the jaw
Let Retainers Direct Help Keep Your Teeth Aligned
Once your orthodontist has realigned your bite, you want to keep it that way and prevent any further headaches. The Retainers Direct clear retainer system can help. While our retainers don’t straighten teeth, they do help maintain their current position and alignment in order to prevent further crowding or shifting. Visit our How to Buy page for more information and order your new clear retainers today!