Problems That Can Arise When You Have a Small Jaw

Having a small jaw may or may not have influence on the look of your face, but it can influence your body’s function. Problems that can arise when you have a small jaw are difficulty chewing, problems with your wisdom teeth, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Difficulty Chewing

A small jaw can have an effect from early childhood to adulthood. When the jaw is small, or even recessed, it can cause issues with eating as an infant. Then as an adult, it can cause difficulty chewing because the teeth are not in alignment. Not only can it pose a difficulty when eating, but it can also cause a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) which can make it difficult to chew as well. TMJ is a painful condition that affects the joint of your jaw. Orthodontic treatments can help with a small or recessed jaw. Slowing the upper jaw can be helpful to make sure the lower jaw can be more in line.

Wisdom Teeth

Having a small jaw can cause a crowding of the teeth which can cause dental issues. This can be especially problematic for the growth of wisdom teeth. Many people don’t have enough room in their mouth for wisdom teeth. Not having enough room for these teeth to grow means that the teeth may not grow in or grow in the wrong direction. This can cause ear pain, infections, and damage to the other teeth.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is when the airflow becomes blocked while sleeping from lying on the back and the tongue being too far back in the mouth, resulting in less oxygen getting to the brain. Those with obstructive sleep apnea often have similarities such as having a narrow upper jaw. This is important because this is where the airway can get blocked. This also causes the lower jaw to recess and cause the tongue to push further back. You can be assessed for this issue by doing a sleep study and the apnea can be helped by orthodontic treatment which expands the upper jaw and repositions the lower jaw.

Having a small jaw can impact the way you function. Because of this, it is important to have a professional assessment to see if there is anything you can do. Luckily, there are some orthodontic remedies that can be done, especially if done early, to help fix the problem.

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