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Common health problems could be a sign of incorrect jaw alignment 

Do you suffer from migraines, cervical pain or insomnia with no apparent explanation? The answer could be in your mouth.

One of the most common problems in dentistry, an incorrect jaw alignment, is far from just an aesthetic question. It can be the source of problems as varied as bruxism (teeth grinding), headaches, fatigue, joint disorders, cardiovascular and cervical problems, mandibular pain, gingivitis, respiratory disorders, dental hypersensitivity, insomnia and even erectile dysfunction.

And the amount continues to increase. For example, researchers at the University of Barcelona and the University of Innsbruck (Austria) have recently discovered that malocclu-sion, the technicality that defines a bad bite, also affects the control of posture and balance, as there is “a reciprocal influence between the trigeminal nerve and the vestibular nucleus, responsible for the mas-ticatory function and the control of the balance respectively, and also between the masticatory and cervical muscles. ” This discovery is essential for athletes, whose jaw alignment can affect both their performance and injury prevention.

 So extensive are these problems that the dental sector is increasingly interested in seeking the remedy for something that seems so simple: that a patient bites optimally, that is, that the lower jaw is aligned and fits correctly with the upper one .

In general, the solution to this problem is orthodontics or dental orthopedics. However, a prior analysis is essential to determine which are the points where the contact between the teeth is not correct. In addition to observation, radiographs are critical. The problem in this case is that the traditional occlusal adjustment systems were not able to show the intensity of the bite at each point, nor the moment in which the contact occurs, giving incomplete information for the development of a suitable treatment.

But technology is also advancing by leaps and bounds in the dental industry. Tekscan’s T-Scan scanner has enabled a dentist to be able to detect both the intensity of the bite at each contact and the time of that contact.

Dr. Víctor Cubillo, director of the Artedental clinic in Puerto de la Cruz, is a frequent user of T-Scan. In fact, he says that this scanner has become an indispensable article in his clinic, one of the few in Tenerife that has it.

“It allows you to visualise the distribution of strength in 2D and 3D, identify what neither the patient nor the experienced dentist is able to detect by traditional methods, and its effect is immediate on the patient’s oral health status,” explains the medical director of Artedental.

 The technological leap in the dental industry is qualitative, and not just for malocclusion. CAD-CAM technology, for example, allows designing and creating custom prostheses in a fully machined process. There is also technology that can accurately describe tooth movements and even the evolution of mandibular bones.

The interest in developing solutions for malocclusion is not trivial. “Only two per cent of the po-pulation has a correct mastication, including patients treated with orthodontics, since they involve not only the teeth but also the temporomandibular joints, muscles and ligaments. It affects the stability of natural teeth and their good prognosis, the durability of fillings, crowns, implants…”, explains Dr. Cubillo.

“Its effects are very annoying and painful, and the variety of practically invisible devices or braces that now exist in the market has contributed to the adults deciding to undergo this treatment,” concludes Amaya Sáez, director of Artedental.