Can chewing habits correct an asymmetric jaw?
I have an asymmetrical jaw. I was told it was because I have been chewing largely on left side of my jaw for years , causing my left jaw muscles to be stronger and larger than my right side. As a result my Chin basically tilts to the right when I smile.
I’m trying to correct this problem by chewing exclusively on my right side for the past 5 months now, but I’m afraid that with time my left jaw will weaken cos it’s not being used.
Do you think it’s advisable to chew only my right side or should I make an effort to chew with both sides equally instead? Will chewing equally make the progress of fixing my jaw asymmetry problem slower because it will also work my left jaw muscles at the same time? Please help..
Thank you for your query.
An asymmetrical jaw is due to the individual skeletal/bone development, and it is usually a result of the bone being off to one side that then causes the bite to be less balanced. In general, many of us are asymmetrical, and many of us favour chewing on one side more than the other. However, the severity of the asymmetry may result in the jaw being longer on one side than the other side, creating a slant of the biting plane of the teeth, which may cause you to bite more on one side than the other. This is the probably the reason why you have muscular hypertrophy on one side more than the other (muscles are bigger).
Unfortunately chewing on the other side during eating may not help the situation, and if you add pressure to one side of the teeth and not the other, in the long run, it may cause other issues as well as you are overloading one side preferentially. Night time grinding (i.e. bruxism) is also another issue that we cannot avoid as it is done subconsciously.
To correct your jaw asymmetry, the severity of the asymmetry could be assessed clinically by an orthodontist and/or an oral maxillofacial surgeon. They will be able to advise you on the treatment options, such as jaw surgery to correct the bony imbalance and centre the chin, or perhaps a more conservative option such as selective botox injections, to reduce the more prominent muscle. They will also be able to assess your bite to see if orthodontic treatment is able to even out your bite better.
Hope this helps.
I fully agree with Dr Lee that chewing on one side will do little to help with the problem.
In my experience as an aesthetic physician, it is as Dr Lee said, most of us have mild asymmetries, and almost every case of asymmetry has a mixture of BOTH bony and muscular elements.
If the asymmetry is bothering you, I would suggest some botox and fillers first to correct it as a temporary measure. I would refer to my dental or orthodontic colleagues to correct teeth alignment and jaw surgery for better functional outcomes and long lasting results.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your query. In summary:
- An asymmetrical jaw is due to both muscle and bony factors
- Forcing yourself to chew on one side will not help to improve jaw asymmetry
- Your treatment options include Non-surgical (using botox, fillers) vs Surgical (eg. jaw surgery)
I would suggest seeing an Orthodontist to ascertain how best to treat your condition. I hope this helps!