What Are the Causes of a Bad Bite and How They Relate to TMJ Disorder

Orthodontics is a specialized treatment option to address the causes of a bad bite and the potential relationship with TMJ disorder, otherwise known as TMD. Let’s make sure to understand the causes of this bothersome disorder and how to address the persistent symptoms with a treatment option that is equally efficient and safe.

Let’s check how orthodontics can help you treat TMD.

What Causes a Bad Bite?

There are several factors that can contribute to a bad bite. Chief among them are genetic factors, but other environmental ones can lead to the development of a bad bite as well. Fortunately, this is an area where we, as dental healthcare specialists, can provide information without a shred of doubt.

Unlike TMD, we do know the exact causes of a bad bite, and while your case may not be the same as another patient’s, we can still offer concrete information to everyone interested in knowing a bit more regarding the cause of their bad bite.

Dental Misalignment

Your bad bite, functionally speaking, can be the unfortunate result of crooked or crowded teeth. Dental malalignment is one of the main causes of a bad bite when it comes to the aesthetics of it all. This situation, of course, doesn’t limit itself solely to the way permanent teeth erupt and their alignment; instead, a bad bite is as much the result of jaw malocclusion as it can be from anything else that orthodontics can fix.

An overbite, underbite, or crossbite can cause a bad bite and hinder the proper function of your dental structures. Think about it; jaw malocclusion will make it challenging to chew, speak, bite down, and even breathe.

Jaw Development Issues

Remember how we said that a bad bite could be the result of genetic factors? Children may suffer from jaw development abnormalities due to genetic factors. We can only correct these once enough time has passed, and the unfortunate result is a bad bite.

On a few occasions, these development issues are less the result of a genetic component and more the fault of an accident that happens early enough in the child’s life. Direct trauma or injury to your kid’s jaw can affect their dental development, potentially leading to a bad bite.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Some of your kids’ bad habits can affect their teeth and result in a bad bite. Teeth grinding and clenching are the natural result of stress and anxiety. Eventually, this leads to uneven and excessive wear of your kids’ teeth, which, in turn, leads to a bad bite.

However, you should note that these are not the only bad habits that can affect your child’s bite. Prolonged pacifier use, tongue thrusting, and prolonged thumbsucking can also affect your dental alignment and lead to a bad bite.

Please make sure to bring your child to an orthodontist, such as Dr. Bigman, in case you notice these bad habits over a long time.

What Are the Treatment Options for a Bad Bite and TMD?

Orthodontics is a non-invasive treatment option for a bad bite. Ideally, this treatment begins as soon as possible to avoid additional complications related to dental malalignment, but dental realignment is effective at any age, and it remains one of the best options for adults and children alike because it doesn’t necessarily require surgery to achieve the desired results.

Orthodontics operates on a simple principle: that we can move our teeth when we apply sufficient force over a long enough period. In fact, moving teeth is not all that difficult; you just have to look at the causes of a bad bite to realize this. Anyone can move their own teeth, but the real challenge is to move them in the right direction and without causing any harm.

This is why we have orthodontic appliances. Let’s review how they can help you fix a bad bite and deal with a case of TMD.

Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the quintessential piece of hardware in orthodontics. These stainless steel metal brackets and wires gradually realign your teeth, ensuring everything falls into place and guiding your jaws into proper alignment. Besides, the highly durable material means they’re much more forgiving when it comes to patients’ choices of foods and drinks; you still shouldn’t eat popcorn with metal braces, but they won’t shatter or peel away so easily due to the material’s resistance.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Clear aligner trays are another excellent way to realign teeth. Even though these removable aligners cannot fix the most complex cases of orthodontic problems, such as extreme dental rotations, you can trust aligners to fix almost every other case of jaw malocclusion. In reality, patient choice usually boils down to a matter of style and cosmetic preferences because most cases that require metal braces are solvable with clear aligners.


Unlike the previous two examples, retainers are not appliances that work to move teeth; instead, retainers make sure your teeth won’t move any further. After you finish realigning your teeth with conventional metal braces or clear aligners, you will need a retainer, albeit removable or fixed, to avoid the negative effects of orthodontic relapse and waste the time and effort put into fixing your bad bite.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Quite regrettably, there are no clear causes for TMD that the medical community can agree on. There are several risk factors and medical conditions associated with temporomandibular joint disorder; however, none of them are clearly the cause of the disorder in question.

Jaw Joint Injuries

Some patients come for consultation having developed considerable pain around the jaw area after they suffered direct trauma to the region. Direct trauma to your jaw, such as an impact caused while practicing contact sports, can lead to the development of TMD. If you ever suffered a dislocation of the jaw or fractures of the jaw bone, you are at an increased risk of suffering TMD.


Here in the US, around 24% of all adults have arthritis, and very few understand how it links to TMJ problems. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can greatly impact your oral health and overall well-being. As the cartilage that links your jaw to the rest of your skull degrades over time, you might experience pain, tenderness, swelling, and difficulty performing conventional actions, such as chewing or yawning. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, it is your immune system that attacks the synovial tissue and destroys it, causing the TMD symptoms we’ve already described.

Muscle Imbalances

It is undeniable that a bad bite produces imbalances in the tension under which our jaw remains while chewing food. This situation leads to excessive wear and tear on one side, and that also creates additional tension in the surrounding jaw muscles. Besides, patients who are facing too much stress or have chronic anxiety also manifest other symptoms, such as tooth grinding and jaw clenching that produce much tension over the muscles around their jaw area. All of these situations can lead to the development of TMD symptoms.

Get Your TMD Treatment in San Ramon, CA

Dr. Bigman is here to help you perform an exhaustive evaluation of your symptoms and determine if orthodontic treatment is the best way to deal with your bad bite and TMD.

Orthodontic treatment can help address the root cause of your TMD symptoms and help deal with teeth grinding, jaw development problems, or dental alignment issues. So, let us know if you’re interested in starting orthodontic treatment in San Ramon; just give us a phone call or click here to set an appointment.