ASK YOUR DENTIST 16. - Jaws

“I am a 33 year old marketing professional, and I have had a lot of problems from cracking my jaw and form grinding my teeth. It has gotten to the point now where eating food and talking for extended periods of time cause me a great deal of pain. My dentist recommended dentures, and said that my need to pop my jaws and grind my teeth are due to my need for orthodontics. He said that because my teeth are not aligned properly, they irritate me, and I subconsciously am messing with it.

This sounds shady to me. I am not a dentist, but this does not sound right. Do I really need to get braces? This could set my career back!! Please, I need a second opinion!"

Stefan

Dear Stefan,

Although you may not be a dentist, your dentist sixth sense works miraculously well! The advice given to you is fraudulent on many accounts, however, you may still benefit from braces. Allow me to explain first why you do not need to get braces, based on the information given.

The condition known as bruxism is one in which you involuntarily grind your teeth during sleep, stress, and emotional situations. Popping your jaw is also one of those involuntary motions that you do regardless of your need for alignment. The proper and acceptable way to deal with these issues does not involve any sort of orthodontics at all, rather, a tooth guard for when you sleep and a TMJ protector, which is like a tooth guard, are the current ways to deal with this problem. Orthodontry may help you, but it will not get rid of your problems.

grinding

Now for a few words on adult orthodontics. Regardless of this dentist’s opinion, you should go out and seek a second opinion, but it may well be the case that orthodontics could help you. A properly aligned set of teeth means that your TMJ (temporomandibular joint, the part of your jaw that is currently hurting) will be less taxed when biting, swallowing, eating and chewing, which will help your jaw recover from the bruxism and other problems you may have. Also, properly aligned teeth are easier to clean as well, meaning they will cause you less problems, and in general be a good decision. In order to assess whether or not you should get them you need to go and see a proper dentist, and see what they have to say.

I am also going to go ahead and advise you to stay away from your current dentist. I do not the man or woman (indeed, I don’t even know if the doctor is male or female), but if this person has a degree in medical science, it was either bought on the black market, or what is possibly even worse, this person knowingly falsified information and fed it to you in the ruse of medical advice. This would have been done so that you buy expensive orthodontry that you may not even need, because this diagnosis does not clearly imply a need for orthodontic braces at all. This is purposeful misdiagnosis, and that is dangerous as well as unethical. This person cannot be trusted, and I advise seeing a different dentist as soon as you can.

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