Many people have imperfect occlusion and missing teeth, yet never have symptoms because they adjust to their problems. Occasionally, in times of increased stress and tension, the symptoms may appear and then go away immediately. Or, your teeth and gums may be affected straight away and, instead of headaches, you may suffer from:
- flattened, worn teeth
- broken teeth, fillings and crowns
- loose teeth
- continual sensitivity of your teeth to temperature change
- toothache with no apparent cause.
If you think you have any of these problems, ask your dentist.
You may find that you clench or grind your teeth, although most people who do aren't aware of it. Sometimes this can be caused by anxiety, but generally most people clench their teeth when they are concentrating on a task - housework, gardening, car mechanics, using a keyboard and so on.
You may wake up in the morning with a stiff jaw or tenderness when you bite together. This could be due to clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep. Most people who grind their teeth do it while they are asleep and may not know they are doing it.
If you suffer from severe headaches, or neck and shoulder pain, you may not have linked this with possible jaw problems. Or you may keep having pain or discomfort on the side of your face around your ears or jaw joints or difficulty in moving your jaw. These are all symptoms of TMJ problems.
If you are missing some teeth at the back of your mouth, this may lead to an unbalanced bite, which can cause uneven pressure on your teeth. Together, all these symptoms are called ‘TMJ syndrome'.