Protruding Jaw

Protruding Jaw

The jaws in the oral cavity are the supporting structures on which teeth are held. They are the maxilla and the mandible i.e, upper and lower jaw respectively. The normal alignment would be upper jaw slightly placed forwardly when compared to the lower jaw.

There are categories based on the arrangement:

Class 1: Upper jaw placed slightly forward than lower
Class 2: Upper jaw placed very forward than the lower
Class 3: Lower placed forward than the upper

Protruding jaw includes class 3. Sometimes the jaw alignment may be class 1 but the teeth of lower jaw are placed forward. This is called cross bite. This also gives an appearance of class 3.

What are the causes of protruding jaw?

The protruding jaw runs in families. They come by birth. It can also occur due to the wrong biting habit, long term retained milk teeth will create a new path of closure of mouth.
Sometimes abnormal movement of jaws cause a protrusion in the jaw for a short period of time and it is painful. The jaws jam at the positions due to sudden movement. It occurs due to sudden spasm of muscles.
Rarely some people with syndromic conditions have abnormal shapes of skull and it includes protruding jaws.

What effects does it have on you?

1. Appearance of face changes
2. Abnormal bite pattern
3. As years pass by, the abnormal bite pattern affects the muscle of the jaws and the health of gums
4. Decline in the oral health occurs

There can be difficulty in chewing, pain at the ear pinna areas.

In cases when there is protruding jaw that occurs just for a short period of time – it is painful and the patient can’t open or close the jaws any further. It needs immediate attention in order to proceed with a normal lifestyle.

How does the dentist diagnose?

Your dentist will take a family history to correlate if the cause of protrusion of jaw is genetic. The bite of all the teeth will be checked. The molar relation (the last tooth) will be checked. The bite of front tooth is measured. The X ray of the skull will be taken to measure the severity of protrusion. The X rays are guiding tools for the treatment plan.

How does your dentist manage the protruding jaw?

The acute and sudden contraction of jaw, where in jaw remains protruded and you are not able to move it needs an urgent attention. The dentist would exactly place the jaw in position and recover the original position.

Muscle spasm around the jaws:

The muscles are tensed and needs relaxation. The exercises can help you.

Isometric contraction:
It is an exercise to be performed to relax the muscles. Generally it is performed 6 times a day.
You should open your mouth slightly so that your jaws are in a neutral position and grasp your jaw with both hands. Place your thumbs under your jaw and your index finger inside your mouth to hold your lower jaw in place. Begin tightening the muscles like you were closing your mouth. During this exercise you should contract your jaw muscles in each direction while holding your lower jaw stationary.

Jaw movements:
Open your mouth wide and begin moving your jaw in circles.

Jaw opening:
Stand in front of the mirror and close your mouth gently. Hold it on the side where it is slipping out and move the jaw.

Self stretch:
This is performed by opening your mouth slightly and placing your index fingers in your mouth and apply increasing pressure to open the mouth.
The detailed explanation would be given by your dentist.

The cross bite correction:
Your orthodontist would provide you with braces and it will correct the alignment. It is time taking eg: 1 – 2 years varying from patient to patient. The results are long lasting.

Now a days lingual orthodontics has come into usage. The braces are not totally visible and they would produce the necessary movement in the same period of time as that of the conventional orthodontics.

Myofunctional appliance:
The growth of the jaw occurs in childhood. If the mandible is growing in a forward direction. You should take your child as early as possible. Your dentist will provide you with appliances that control the growth and direct it in an appropriate direction.

Surgical treatment:
Orthognathic surgeries are the last resort for correction of jaw position. It is invasive and expensive. The new position will last forever.

Your smile is your confidence. A perfectly aligned smile builds up your confidence also. Any abnormality should be detected at the earliest. Consulting your dentist will help you in guiding the treatment.