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Distortion of Jaws
There are a number of clear signs and symptoms that show problems in how a person's jaws fit together. Among these are heavily worn down teeth, shiny spots or grooves on fillings and teeth that are not straight. The patient may also have problems with broken teeth or fillings; clenching or grinding teeth (especially at night); white lines in the mouth; and scalloped edges to the tongue. Malocclusion can begin with a difficult birth. Inherited problems such as too many or few teeth, a blow to the face or jaw, poor diet can also create problems, however, it is likely that other factors that could benefit from osteopathic treatment.

Some of the following symptoms in an infant or young child can suggest problems: allergies, behavioural or learning difficulties, recurrent ear infections, eye problems, hyperactivity, nasal symptoms, and difficulties swallowing. Habits such as breathing through the mouth, thumb sucking, biting the lips, sleeping only on one side, and early or late loss of milk teeth are all effects not causes.

If compression is treated early enough the results may have great effects. Restriction will immediately release and a gradual remoulding in the structure of the jaws. The best prevention against future malcurvature and malocclusion is when an osteopath removes restrictions as early as possible to prevent abnormal movement of the PRM in the head.

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Importance of Treatment
There are direct connections between the alignment of the teeth, the symmetry of the joints, the curves in the spine, the levels of the shoulder blades and pelvis, and leg length. Problems can be caused from falls or blows to the chin, having teeth out causes unequal forces in the jaw as does dentures of the wrong height.

It is important for those who have maloclussion to have their whole bodies examined by an osteopath. If the problems in the jaw are solved, then many other connected problems can also be helped. Among these are: backache, breathing difficulties, deteriorating eyesight, headaches, hormonal problems, painful teeth, sinusitis, and scoliosis.

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Effects of Orthodontic Treatment
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in correcting malocclusion. Even after years of the best orthodontic treatment available, that when the braces are removed the problems in a patient's jaw return. This is obviously very dissapointing to the patient, the parents and the orthodontist, who has given the most appropriate treatment in his experience.

The basic problems lies in the fact that when a brace is fitted in a mouth where there are misalignments, the brace itself simply ads to the compression already present. The brace may even introduce new restrictions that were not there before. With the change in alignment brought about by the brace, altered pressures will be put on the teeth, the sinuses and the soft tissues, which may restrict growth.

So it is important that while such dental work is being done that the patient is regularly checked out by the osteopath, even where there are no apparent problems. These regular check ups should continue after the orthodontic treatment has finished until the situation is stable. If there is free movement within the jaw and face before the orthodontist begins his course of corrective treatment, he will only have to encourage the bones and the teeth into the positions that they are ready to accept. The orthodontic treatment itself will be easier and less comfortable.

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