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Could a “bad bite” be the source of your TMJ pain?

Did you know? TMJ pain can be caused by a poorly aligned bite.

Do you have a “bad bite”? Your upper and lower jaw are designed to fit perfectly together, but for many patients, this isn’t the case. For one reason or another, malocclusion (the dental term for a “bad bite”) can occur during early childhood development or even from congenital defects passed down in family genetics. An incorrect bite can cause aesthetic issues such as an overbite or underbite, or crooked and crowded teeth. It can also be bad news for your oral health: malocclusion is one issue that can aggravate TMJ pain and lead to TMD. Below, learn more about the connection between malocclusion and TMJ pain and how Dr. Timothy E. Mickiewicz can help.


If you are suffering from TMJ pain or TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), don’t let your symptoms go untreated. TMJ pain can interfere with your quality of life but luckily, Dr. Mickiewicz offers care for those suffering from jaw pain in the greater Sacramento, CA area. Let our practice help you manage the pain and eliminate symptoms of TMD. Call us at 916.469.9178.

Why Malocclusion Occurs

Malocclusion has no single cause; lots of things can affect the alignment of your bite. The main cause is believed to be hereditary. If bite problems run in the family, you or your children may be more likely to experience them, too.

For many people, asymmetrical growth during early childhood development causes eprmanent bite issues. Often, this happens when children thumb-suck, bottle feed, or use a pacifier for prolonged periods of time. Others experience bite alignment issues after trauma to the face or jaw, or from impacted or irregularly shaped teeth.

The Link Between Malocclusion and TMJ Pain

It makes sense that when the upper and lower jaw do not come together properly, that jaw pain can occur. For patients with a bad bite, unnatural stress and strain occur when biting down, chewing, or even when the jaw is at rest. When it comes to the anatomy of the jaw, the slightest abnormality can cause pain over time.  If the bite is not corrected, TMD can develop.

Treating a Bad Bite

For patients with jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms, finding and treating the underlying cause can help eliminate much of the discomfort. For patients with malocclusion, this involves correcting the bit for more perfect alignment. Treatment can vary depending on the individual patient. Some patients may require orthodontic procedures to correct overbites, underbites, or crossbites that affect the bite. Other patients may need more advanced treatment through oral surgery. However, for TMJ pain caused by malocclusion, symptoms cannot be eliminated until the bite is corrected.

Dr. Mickiewicz can help establish the cause of your malocclusion and offer treatment, or refer you to a trusted specialist, in order to begin your journey toward pain-free living.

Contact our Sacramento Practice

If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMD (jaw pain, muscle fatigue in the face and neck, jaw stiffness, migraines, tension headaches, ear pain, or pain and difficulty when opening your mouth), seek treatment sooner rather than later. TMD does not usually go away without treatment from a dental or medical professional. Dr. Mickiewicz is a member of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, and is the area’s leading expert in TMD and TMJ pain. Call our practice today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Mickiewicz today.