Malocclusion and back pain or temporomandibular disorders and bruxism

There is talk of dental malocclusion when the upper teeth are not perfectly aligned with those of the lower arch. In other words, the malocclusion dental is an abnormal relationship between the teeth of the jaw and those of the mandible.

This lack of alignment between the upper dental arch and the lower one is, in fact, an abnormal relationship between the teeth of the lower jaw and those of the jaw. Normally, upper and lower jaw are perfectly harmonic and balanced, so as to ensure the smooth progress of phonetic and masticatory activity. The dental malocclusion affects this balance, coming to affect also the patient’s overall health.

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The causes

The causes of dental malocclusion is often hereditary, which means that the structural anomaly is passed down genetically.

Dental malocclusion is one of the conditions associated with temporomandibular disorders that occur when the jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint cannot work together properly. Whenever we alter our natural dental occlusion, i.e. the way in which the lower and upper dental arch are closed to touch, we experience a situation of dental stress with muscle tension. The muscles of the jaw, the head, neck and shoulders will attempt to compensate, with equally unnatural positions, generating a disturbing voltage, which can be due to a temporomandibular joint dysfunction. All the factors listed above may cause muscle tension.


The symptoms related to temporomandibular disorders are quite varied and non-specific. No specific means that they are symptoms that occur also in other diseases, it is therefore of utmost importance for a correct “differential diagnosis”, i.e. able to identify what the problem that causes the onset of that symptom among many possible ones.

The following is a list of symptoms that present patients with temporomandibular disorders, some are very common than others …

  • Pain or noises (pops or rubbing) in the jaw joint;
  • Limitation or deviations of the opening of the mouth;
  • Headache: if the fatigue is caused by nocturnal bruxism headache occurs;
  • Predominantly or exclusively the morning after getting up;
  • Pain and fatigue the muscles of the face;
  • Earache;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Pain in the eyes or around the eyes;
  • Eyestrain;
  • Dizziness and vertigo;
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and arms;

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Other conditions associated with the DTM are …

  • Bruxism or the habit of shaking, tighten or grinding of the teeth. This activity is mainly present during sleep, even unknowingly, and especially in times of increased stress or stress. It can unduly stress the ATM and cause inflammation.
  • Tension of the muscles of the head and neck;
  • Overly stressful psychological situations;
  • Direct trauma to the face, such as: blow to the jaw, extension or excessive stretching of the joint capsule, joint compression of the temporomandibular joint;
  • Incorrect habits, such parafunctions, such as: mordicchiamento lips, cheeks and tongue;
  • Nail Biting, frequent use of chewing gum;
  • Taking poor posture;
  • Arthritis, osteoarthritis.


The temporomandibular disorders therapy involves a multidisciplinary approach, which includes a series of interventions designed to improve the functionality of the various districts of the organism that may be involved. This means you may need the intervention of several specialists in the various fields of medicine.

The dentist with adequate specialization can relieve the patient’s disorder with the use of specific intra-oral devices, called splint or bite; they should not cause neither discomfort nor pain. The splint is an effective therapy in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders; it is a removable device, usually made of transparent resin, which covers the surface of the upper teeth or lower useful to reestablish the harmony and the correct balance between the muscles and the temporomandibular joint, with the aim to redefine the relationship between the upper and lower jaw.

For this reason, it must be carefully designed, in holistic medical perspective that considers each person as a unique specificity. The splint is also very helpful to stem the damage caused by bruxism.

When the cause that triggered or contributed to the symptoms not limited to incorrect occlusion or bruxism, but other variables are involved, the dentist must be supported by other professionals.

The physiotherapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, and osteopath that are important in the treatment of patients who complain of pain or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, back and in need of targeted interventions in different locations from the oral cavity.

The neurologist is essential in the evaluation of patients who present with headaches not related to dental malocclusion and bruxism, or patients with both real nerve injury to the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system.

The psychologist and psychiatrist are critical psychological factors.