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In this issue we will continue to present identifying characteristics of TMJ patients in order to help you be able to discern these problems in your practice.

6. An overbite?
The most common of all problems. The probability and severity of migraines, headaches, jaw pain, and ear pain in patients that have overbites is over 65%! The teeth simply cannot hold the jaws in the proper position and pain sets in slowly since early childhood. The problem with this relationship is that the muscles that connect the lower jaw to the skull bone overpower the lower jaw, causing it to compress the joint, skull bone, and brain tissue.
7. Normal looking bite or crossbites?
A normal Class 1 bite may look normal but can have TMJ problems if the disc is worn or dislocated. Similarly, collapsed posterior support or crossbites can predispose patients to cartilage wear. Don’t let normal looking occlusions fool you.
8. An underbite?
A Class 3 occlusion can be a nightmare. The mandible will overpower the maxilla and TMJoint and articular surface eventually leading to TMJ degeneration. Class 3 occlusions can be considered pathologic problems in the presence of bruxing and clenching.
9. Slanted occlusal plane?
Ocular migraines are seen in patients with slanted occlusal planes. Often the maxilla has a torsion (from birth) that has never been corrected.
10. Dentures?
This is an easy one! Dentures cannot support jaws. They are plastic, inefficient excuses for the loss of your teeth. Most denture wearers eventually reach a stage of dysfunction that is hard to repair. Denture wearers are predisposed to wearing down their joints because it is practically impossible to support the jaws in the right position. Dentures are not stable enough to provide adequate jaw to jaw relationships. This leads to dysfunction within the jaw joint, over time. Furthermore, the jaw bones shrink with age and continuous pressure from the dentures. As the jaws shrink, the dentures become “looser” and more unstable. Many denture wearers reach the point where they can no longer wear their artificial teeth due to the bone loss factor. The only possible solution for the problem is to place implants and find proper stabilization of the dentures, thereby improving the stability and function of the jaw joints.