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Can a Deep Bite Lead to TMJ Problems?

Welcome to Reese Orthodontics, your Charleston, SC premier Invisalign and Braces professional. We look forward to helping you obtain your best smile.

“Deep bite” is an alternative term for an overbite or closed bite. Your orthodontist may use it to describe your case if your top teeth significantly overlap the bottom ones. You may have thought that your orthodontic treatment would focus on straightening crooked teeth, but a deep bite is often to blame for many of the problems that afflict patients with misalignment, including TMJ.

If you have jaw pain and other symptoms related to TMJ, you may benefit from a treatment plan that addresses your deep bite.

Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.

What is TMJ?

“TMJ” stands for “temporomandibular joint” and refers to issues related to the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. An unnatural resting position can make the muscles that support the TMJ sore over time and damage the joint itself.

Pain related to TMJ issues often occurs while eating since the joint allows your jaw to function naturally. In serious cases, even speaking can produce the hallmark symptoms, which include:

  • Jaw pain or soreness
  • Facial pain
  • Earache
  • Lockjaw
  • Chewing pain

What is a Deep Bite?

A deep bite or overbite is diagnosed when the top front teeth stick out too far over the bottom. When teeth don’t close properly, they can further shift over time, causing crookedness and other spacing issues.

The most common congenital cause of a deep bite is a lower jaw that is too small compared to the top jaw. However, a deep bite can also develop over time due to other circumstances, such as a jaw injury or complications from surgery.

The results of an untreated, deep bite reach beyond a crooked smile. If left to further develop, the uneven bite forces can wear down and damage your teeth to the point that sores, gum recession, and even tooth loss become more likely.

How Does a Deep Bite Cause TMJ Issues?

The same uneven distribution of force that can wear your teeth down over thousands of bites and chews can also cause issues with your TMJ. A deep bite causes your jaw to function in an unnatural position, straining the muscles that support the joint.

This can result in the strain and pain that are the hallmarks of TMJ disorder. Though having a deep bite does not guarantee that a patient will experience TMJ issues, the longer your jaw has to work in an unnatural position, the more likely it is that its important structures will become overworked over time.

How Can Braces Help?

If your TMJ issues are caused by a deep bite, straightening your teeth can help align your jaw and relieve the tension straining the muscles and joints that help them function. Other orthodontic treatments, such as Herbst and MARA appliances, can further realign your jaw.

Importantly, orthodontic treatment can heal TMJ symptoms without the need for invasive surgery in most cases. Those who have corrective surgery to fix their TMJ may discover that without correcting the misalignment that caused the symptoms to begin with, not even surgery can help with the pain in the long term.

Once teeth are aligned relative to your other teeth, and your jaw closes naturally relative to the other jaw, TMJ symptoms often subside. By relieving the strain on the joint that causes the surrounding muscles to overwork, patients can enjoy eating without pain, sometimes for the first time in many years.

If you were diagnosed by your doctor with TMJ issues, you might benefit from a visit to the orthodontist. If your symptoms are related to your relative tooth and jaw alignment, you may be able to fix the issue and heal your symptoms without surgery or medications.

Speak with your provider about your pain to learn more about the treatment options available to you for treating TMJ and similar jaw issues related to a deep bite.

Choose Reese Orthodontics

If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.

Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.


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