Jaw Irregularities

Frequently Asked Questions (Click on Questions to See Answers)

A - The jaw or mandible is designed to support the tooth structure and alignment, and the facial muscles; and functions through the jaw joint for opening and closing the mouth, for chewing, and for speaking. An irregularity of the jaw is when the jaw bones and joint is not functioning properly as a support for moving the upper and lower jaws, for teeth alignment and bite for chewing and talking. This disproportionate jaw relationship is treated under a field of dentistry called Orthodontics or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

A - Jaw irregularities can result from genetics at birth where facial deformities or impeded development of the jaw occurs. Other causes may be from inherited conditions such as Down Syndrome or where people are born with either too many or too little teeth in the mouth, or chin and cheek bone irregularities.

Damage to the jaw through injury, either accidental or through direct contact in sport, is common. Leaving misaligned teeth untreated, or not having a restoration for a missing tooth can also change tooth structure and alignment that affects how the jaw functions.

Continuous gritting of the teeth, biting nails from anxiety or teeth grinding at night can cause the muscles of the temporomandibular joint to become tense affecting how the upper and lower jaw operates. This condition is known as temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD). Similarly, the ligaments attaching the jaw joint bones can become strained, pulled or locked if the mouth is opened far too wide. Cysts and tumours can also change the jaw symmetry.

A - A range of Orthodontic treatments are available for rehabilitating jaw irregularities depending on the type of condition and cause of the disproportionate jaw relationship. In some cases of hereditary conditions causing congenital craniofacial malformations, such as jaw or  palate deformity, or if there is severe damage to the jaw, jaw surgery or facial reconstruction may be recommended.

For sports injuries to the mouth, wearing a mouth or face guard can protect the teeth, gums, and jaw from damages. Where stress is causing clenched teeth, teeth grinding or even nail biting, having psychological counselling along with wearing a night guard can alleviate the stress causing the behaviour that affects the jaw functions.

With temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD), the jaw joint may need surgical manipulation to restore the jaw functions to proper proportionality. Where malocclusion is present or if the teeth structure is even mildly misaligned, orthodontic braces, such as Invisalign and Lingual braces, or orthodontic technology can be used as a corrective therapy.

The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery options include dentoalveolar treatments for tooth extractions, bone grafts, preparation for implants and dentures; maxillomandibular advancement therapies for jaw, cheek or nasal fractures, and for sleep apnea.

Cosmetic surgery options also include cheek augmentation where an implant is used to give form to sunken cheek bones as a means of improving facial appearance. Similarly, chin augmentation may involve manipulating the jaw bone combined with prosthetic implants to correct the chin and facial symmetry.

A - The procedures vary depending on the patient-specific diagnosis, and range from short term treatments such as braces to more extensive surgical options. If you have questions about available therapies for jaw irregularities or if you are concerned about an aspect of your facial appearance or function, contact our resident dentist for further information and an appointment to examine your oral and facial condition.

A - The orthodontic and cosmetic procedures available for treating jaw irregularities are tested for results, and are approved according to dentistry industry standards. Certain dentists are also trained specifically in treating jaw irregularities, such as Orthodontists and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

When you see our resident dentist for an examination, the treatment options specific to your needs will be explained to you along with any inherent risks in the procedures. If you have concerns or questions, bring these along to your appointment to discuss with our dentist.

It is important for patients to disclose their full health history, hereditary conditions in the family, and also medications to minimise risk so that the dentist can recommend the most suitable treatment options for best patient care.

A - Where treatments involve accessing the inner tooth, tooth roots, facial muscles, jaw bones, gums, and oral tissue, such as in surgery, local and full anaesthetic options are available for pain-free treatment. No painful suffering is necessary. Some treatments, such as braces, may not need anaesthetic because the treatments are not painful. Pain-free treatment options, if necessary, will be explained to you so that you can choose to have comfortable dental treatment.

A - Our resident dentist can discuss relaxation therapies and counselling options with you if you feel fear of having dental treatment. Many people experience dental phobia and help if available to help you address and overcome dental anxieties. Some of the options range from hypnosis to sedatives. You have choices in your treatments, and can talk about your needs and wishes with our resident dentist at your first consultation.

A - By getting the dental and medical treatment you need through regular checkups, such as six-monthly visits to the dentist is vital for preventing any irregular jaw conditions that may develop. If injured, seek dental care as soon as possible, and learn about how to best look after your oral health.

If you are concern about facial or dental irregularities, you can discuss these with our resident dentist at your initial consultation. Receiving the treatment you need can improve your oral and general health, uplift your self-confidence and give a brighter good-looking you that you can feel proud of.

A - The cost of treatment for jaw irregularities depends entirely on the type of jaw condition, the extent of damage and the cause. Dental practices differ in their pricing structures for private treatment, while NHS treatments are constant between practices in the UK. Our resident dentist can discuss your diagnosis with you, the most appropriate treatment, the price plans available and payment options.