If you are like most patients, your routine trips to the dentist for maintenance and restorative dentistry have included some examination and discussion of your “bite,” that is, the position of your upper and lower teeth when you bite down. Perhaps you have even had to bite down on colored paper that leaves a mark on your teeth so your Spanish Fork , UT General Dentist can examine the impact of high spots on your dental restoration.
But why is it so important for your dentist to examine your bite, or occlusion, and what is the significance of doing so?
What is Dental Occlusion?
Dental Occlusion, or dental bite, refers to the top and bottom alignment of your teeth when you are chewing or at rest. Your dentist examines the contact between your upper and lower teeth and looks for a healthy alignment between the two.
Various types of occlusion, (or dental bite) and related problems:
- 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 underbites, overbites, and cross bites.
Malocclusion can have serious repercussions. Dental restorations are likely to wear out or break under the stress of malocclusion. Patients are more likely to experience receding gums, Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems like grinding and joint pain, and aches in the teeth due in part to malocclusion. Fatigue in the jaw muscles due to unnecessary force on the jaw, can lead to sinus problems, neck and shoulder pain and headaches for many patients.
How is malocclusion treated?
Diagnosis of your individual malocclusion is the first step in determining the best course of treatment for you. Perhaps you are a candidate for dental restorations like crowns. Perhaps your dentist will seek alternative treatments for problems like teeth grinding at night (bruxism). Some cases may require the teeth to be reshaped or even orthodontics to reposition teeth if TMJ problems persist.
If you are suffering from pain in your head or neck that could be related to your dental bite, it is important to communicate that information to your team at Spanish Fork , UT General Dentist so that your needs can be addressed.