How effective is your bite?
Occlusion is the term given to the matter of how successfully your lower and upper jaws come into contact with each another when you chew, or when the teeth and jaws are at rest. Having an effective bite is important so that related, more complicated dental problems do not develop. If your teeth do not come together in the best way, we can help.
What causes jaw and bite problems?
Jaw and bite problems (often referred to by dentists as malocclusion) occur when your upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned when in contact with each other, or when the jaws are at rest. Poor alignment can lead to a number of issues affecting teeth, gums and jaw muscles. The issues may be genetic, or they may be due to past unsuccessful orthodontic treatment.
What additional complications might develop from jaw and bite problems?
- Worn teeth – If your upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned, friction and pressure can cause teeth to grind against one another. Frequent grinding can cause the surfaces to be worn down, and may eventually expose the sensitive inner tissue of the teeth.
- Tooth pain/sensitivity – You may feel pain on teeth exposed to excessive grinding. The tooth’s enamel may become worn, which can lead to tooth decay if not treated in time. The sensitive inner area of the teeth, as well as the roots, will bear the brunt of long-term occlusion issues.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder – Pressure from malocclusion may take its toll on the jaw joint. Problems with the TMJ can cause pain and discomfort, and you may hear a clicking sound when yawning or opening your jaw widely.
- Receding gums – Malocclusion can cause your gums to recede, exposing tooth roots. The affected teeth may become over-sensitive to changes in temperature.
- Worn dental fillings or dental crowns – Grinding can cause wear and damage to fillings and crowns.
- Sinus problems – Your sinus area may also be affected, causing further pain and discomfort.
- Headaches – Teeth grinding can result in frequent headaches and, eventually, pain in the neck and shoulder areas.
How are jaw and bite problems treated?
Pain management is the first course of treatment the dentist will focus on. This may include medication, and helpful relaxation exercises. Then, orthodontics can move your teeth into better alignment, so malocclusion problems are corrected – properly-aligned teeth will eliminate the pressure of teeth grinding and possibly stop it altogether. You may need occlusal equilibration, which is is the process of re-shaping the tops of the teeth, so they are not subjected to intense pressure when upper and lower teeth come together. Finally, occlusal restoration involves the re-shaping or adjustment of dental fillings or dental crowns, to eliminate or reduce the damage tooth grinding can cause.
Our principal dental surgeon Dr Amjad Malik believes that Occlusion holds a critical role in your dental health. Having studied the subject in depth at the Kois Center in the USA, he is able to provide the most accurate diagnostics, plan the appropriate treatment plan and carry out successful restorative procedures. More about occlusal therapy