If it seems like there isn’t enough room in your mouth for all of your teeth, especially with your wisdom teeth included, you’re not alone. It’s believed that the modern human diet is to blame. Because our diets have begun to revolve around soft, processed foods, our jaws no longer need to be as fully developed to process food. The restricted space for wisdom teeth might also be attributed to this same phenomenon. A shrinking need for chewing has led to a shrinking need for as many teeth. This shortening of the modern human jaw has left less and less room for our teeth to grow in, but teeth aren’t the only thing fighting for space. Our tongues are increasingly running out of real estate as well.
In fact, the lack of room for the human tongue is believed to be at least partially responsible for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During sleep, the tongues of sleep apnea sufferers don’t have enough room to rest and as a result, fall back, blocking their airways. With airways effectively blocked, this affects their breathing often preventing it all together numerous times throughout the night.
Behavioral Explanations for Crowding
In addition to our collective eating habits as a species, other behavioral habits may cause your teeth to become crowded. While most of these habits are either performed or developed in childhood, they may be impacting your adult life or may impact your child’s life in the future.
- Thumb sucking
- Prolonged pacifier or bottle use
- Tongue thrusting
- Mouth breathing
TMD and the Underdeveloped Jaw
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition encompassing symptoms from headaches, jaw pain, and muscle pain in the shoulder and neck among others. The complications from this disorder originate at the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and likely result from the under fulfilled development of the jaw, limiting teeth and tongue space in the process.
TMD may cause or further complicate the following conditions:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Forward Head Posture (FHP)
- Wisdom Teeth Impaction
If you have questions about TMD or experience a crowding of your teeth, call Dr. Buck at (425) 409-2086 or visit our contact page. Experiencing these symptoms or conditions are entirely treatable with the proper expertise and recommendations. TMD has some potentially serious implications so if you believe that you or your child may be suffering from a temporomandibular disorder call today.