I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Most people likely think of crooked teeth as being more of a cosmetic problem than anything else. Those who actually have crooked teeth may also know that it can impact the way that you eat, making it more difficult to eat certain foods, depending on the alignment of your jaw and the way that your upper and lower teeth meet. However, it can also have an impact on your jaw in terms of the level of discomfort you're experiencing. If you have regular jaw aches despite taking steps to try and prevent or treat them, then it's possible that crooked teeth are to blame. Here's how.
Why Crooked Teeth Are a Problem
When teeth are only mildly crooked, it tends to be limited to impacting the way that you eat, and at most, the way that you speak. However, if your teeth are moderately to severely crooked, it can also change the way that your upper and lower teeth meet each other when at rest.
The way that your upper and lower teeth rest against each other is very important. They're designed to distribute energy evenly across the surface of all of your teeth, meaning that when you bite down, each tooth takes a set amount of pressure. This helps to prevent an excess of pressure from being placed on a single area of your jaw bone.
In addition, having even teeth means that no abnormal pressure is placed on the jaw hinge, also known as the temporomandibular joint. When a jaw is completely at rest and the teeth are level, the jaw joint is also at rest while the mouth is closed. However, if the teeth are out of alignment and the jaw is held partially open even when relaxing the muscles, it can put strain on the joint.
Over time, this can have a negative impact on both your oral health and the comfort level you experience on a daily basis. Teeth that are crooked and exposed to an excess of pressure tend to get worn down, gradually becoming shorter over time. This also damages their enamel, making them more susceptible to cavities.
In addition, prolonged excessive pressure on your temporomandibular joint can lead to jaw stiffness and even joint damage. Some people may experience temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, which can lead to clicking and popping in the joint in addition to pain and stiffness.
What to Do
If you have crooked teeth as well as jaw pain, you should visit an orthodontist. An orthodontist can treat your crooked teeth with braces, invisible or traditional, to move them back into a normal position. This will take excess pressure off your jaw and teeth right away, keeping you from experiencing pain and stiffness.