Can orthodontics improve a misaligned jaw?
September 15, 2023
If you are living with a misaligned jaw, you might be wondering if braces can help.
Unlike upper jaw expanders and jaw surgery which are used for the most extreme of cases, orthodontists and dentists alike have seen results with aligners and braces for less severe misalignments.
Allowing patients to correct their smiles, boost their self-esteem, and remove prevalent feelings of insecurity.
What is a misaligned jaw?
Everyone’s teeth are unique and therefore will look different, but misaligned jaws are far from a minor cosmetic problem.
If the upper and lower teeth don’t meet comfortably in the mouth, as with healthy alignment, this is referred to as misalignment.
In this situation, patients can experience difficulties that affect every aspect of their lives, including:
- Physical difficulties – eating, speaking, talking, breathing, and chronic pain
- Social problems – leading to social isolation, extreme social awkwardness, and introversion
- Emotional struggles – bringing feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness
The level of the issue depends on the type of misalignment and how severe it is, so those living with very minor misalignments may only have very minor symptoms or none at all, while those living with severe misalignments can experience plentiful and painful symptoms.
The most common types of misalignments include:
- Overbites – where the upper teeth protrude over the lower, called a deep bite if the upper front teeth cover the lower teeth
- Underbites – where the lower teeth rest in front of the upper teeth
- Crossbites – if the top teeth fit behind the lower teeth
- Open bites – when the front teeth meet but the back teeth don’t, or vice versa – when the back teeth meet but not the front
Can you use braces for misaligned jaws?
Luckily, there are many orthodontic options, like aligners and braces that can correct misaligned jaws, before patients have to consider more serious methods.
- Clear aligners
Clear aligner treatment, like Invisalign London, can help correct some jaw misalignments without the need for visible braces.
This increased discreteness makes it an appealing option for image-conscious teenagers, young adults, and working adults who need to maintain a specific appearance for work.
Similarly, London CFast braces can also help, if patients only need to move their front teeth to correct alignment.
Thanks to the gradual shifting that comes from various aligner tray brands, minor misalignment issues can be corrected over several months (the duration of which will depend on your misalignment severity) and maintained with continued aligner use during the night in the future.
Traditional Orthodontics in London can also provide alignment correction and relief from the unpleasant symptoms that come along with it.
A brace treatment includes an archwire that is threaded through brackets that are connected to teeth and gradually tightened, which helps to move the teeth into their optimal position – correcting the alignment of the jaw.
Once brace treatment is concluded, patients will likely need to continue to wear an aligner to maintain the new position of the teeth.
- Headgear braces
Headgear braces may be recommended for more serious misalignments that braces and aligners cannot help.
Headgear uses wires to engage both the inside and outside of the mouth and comes in two general varieties, including:
- Retraction headgear – retracts the upper jaw
- Protraction headgear – moves the upper jaw forward while also stabilising the lower jaw.
As with traditional braces, patients may need to wear a retainer once treatment is complete to stop drifting and the undoing of alignment progress.
- Upper jaw expanders
Also commonly called palate expanders, jaw expanders apply gentle steady force on either side of the palate to widen it slowly over time, using a type of key.
They come in many varieties, including removable aligner-style expanders or more permanent expanders that use your back upper teeth for support.
This solution is often replaced with an aligner or brace system once the palate is expanded so the misalignment can be corrected.
- Jaw surgery
The most drastic solution for correcting jaw misalignment is orthodontic, or jaw, surgery. This can be used for cases of dental trauma, developmental problems, or other complex circumstances.
This option is only generally recommended if improper alignment affects day-to-day function and is often completed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons after a referral from an orthodontist or dentist.
After jaw surgery, patients can then use orthodontic treatment, like braces, to ensure the misalignment is corrected.
Contact The LCCD for help correcting your misalignment
If you need braces for misaligned jaw treatment, contact The London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry.
As experienced leaders in the field of orthodontics in London, we can work with you to correct misalignments of any kind or severity and improve the aesthetic condition of the smile with cosmetic dentistry.