You’ve probably heard your dentist talk about your “bite” When having fillings, crowns, and bridges placed. Your dental bite (occlusion) refers to the relationship between your upper and lower teeth when you bite down.
You may have had to bite down on a colored piece of paper that leaves a mark on your teeth. This helps guide the St. Paul TMJ Dentist so he can eliminate high spots on your dental restoration that will affect your dental bite.
But why is dental bite so important, and why do we spend so much time trying to get it just right?
What is Dental Occlusion?
Dental occlusion refers to the way your upper and lower teeth come into contact with each other. It relates to the alignment of top and bottom teeth whether you are chewing or at rest. The concern in dentistry is whether or not this alignment is healthy.
There are different types of occlusion:
Static Occlusion:The way your teeth fit together when your jaw is at rest
Centric Occlusion: The way in which your teeth fit together when your jaw is closed. The focus of centric occlusion is the alignment of your upper and lower teeth when you bite down.
Malocclusion: Occurs when your teeth do not align properly and so do not fit together in the right way. Malocclusion can cause under bites, overbites, and cross bites.
What Problems Can Malocclusion Cause?
Malocclusion can lead to serious oral health problems. It can cause your dental restorations to wear out or break. Malocclusion also causes receding gums, aches in the teeth and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems that result in grinding and severe pain in the joint.
Because of the unnecessary force on the jaw, patients with malocclusion may develop fatigue in the muscles that can lead to sinus problems, neck and shoulder pain and headaches.
How is Malocclusion Treated?
Once your problem is diagnosed, your dentist will determine what the appropriate course of treatment is for your specific case. It may involve orthodontics or dental restorations like crowns. Other solutions may be sought if your dentist finds that you are grinding your teeth at night (bruxism). In some cases the teeth may need to be reshaped. Orthodontics may be used to reposition your teeth in the case of TMJ problems.
It’s important to communicate with the team at our St. Paul TMJ Dentist office and let us know the type of problems you are experiencing with your bite and if you are suffering from any other pain in your head or neck that you feel may be related.