If you ask the man on the street when to get orthodontic treatment, they will tell probably tell you “you need braces if your teeth are crooked”. This in and of itself is true. If your teeth are crooked or jut out or are otherwise misaligned, you need orthodontic treatment to correct the issue and realign your teeth into a position that is more suitable. But the jawbones and in particular the TMJ or temporomandibular joint (the joints that connect the two jaws together located underneath your ear on the sides of your head) is connected to and spearheads (in a way) the muscles of the face neck and jaw. They are an important center of activity in your body, and can have influence over your balance, your posture, and as such your back and through this, all of the nerves in your body.
Back and neck pains
One of the hidden pains that can be caused by improper chewing and undue taxation of the temporomandibular joint is pain in the neck. This kind of pain usually does not radiate from the jaw, but seems to be only affecting the neck muscles and possible the vertebrae in the neck. This is because with the jaw functioning out of balance, the muscles in the jaw are affected, which connect to the muscles in the neck, and in turn affect them.
The muscles in your back are connected to and are often extensions of the muscles in your head, or vice versa, depending on where you tend to look at it. The pain can radiate to the back form the neck or jaw, and can even only appear in the back, separately from everything else, for the same reasons as in the neck.
Perhaps painfully obvious, but jaw pains are also often caused by improper chewing and by the jaw functioning in a lopsided manner. This can be due to the over extension and overuse of the joint itself, which will result in arthritis like joint pains, but it can also be from the muscles being overstressed or overstretched, in which case the symptoms will be more similar to back and neck pain.
The concept of balance is not clearly understood, but it is absolutely clear that it is a very multifaceted thing. Some of those are in the limbic system in the brain, some of them have to do with nerves in the soles of the feet, and some of them have to do with muscles in the back and the mandible. The mandible is indeed very instrumental in determining your sense of balance, and if it is “on wrong”, meaning it is not straight and held tight by the TMJ, you may experience that your balance is not as good as it once was, or as good as it can be. Orthodontics will correct your bite and make your balance better by doing so, as your mandible will be repositioned, and will not pull on muscles and nerves that affect your balance.