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Oral Surgery Series: Jaw-Related Problems

Your jaw, which consists of the maxilla – the upper part – and the mandible – the lower part – houses your teeth and provides you with power behind every bite. When you suffer from jaw-related problems, every chew can feel as painful as getting hit in the face with a baseball. Stay mindful of these common jaw issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

If you’re experiencing an unexplainable headache or facial pain, there might be a problem with your temporomandibular joint – a hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bones located at the front of each ear in the skull.  This joint frees your jaw to move up and down, side to side, allowing you to chew, talk and yawn. Dentists use a combination of medications, therapies and splints, which help most people recover. However, in rare cases, a patient might need joint surgery to repair it.

Uneven Jaw Growth 

While most avoid this jaw-related problem, some people’s jaws grow unevenly. As a result, someone might find it difficult to eat, speak, swallow and even breath.  In this instance, a dentist will either prescribe an orthodontic appliance that will help with aligning your jaw or recommend oral surgery. If you feel discomfort in your jaw and in how you bite, schedule a dental check-up and inquire about this possible cause.  

Dentures Don’t Fit Properly

This common jaw-related problem is exclusive to denture wearers, who might experience pain caused by improperly fitting dentures. If you’re a first-time denture wearer, your dentist can make the necessary adjustments. If your jaw has deteriorated or if there are irregularities in the bone, you might need oral surgery.