More often than not, we are sometimes faced with a bad bite that might make us feel off kilter. The human chewing system is composed of parts that are intricately related such as the muscles, teeth and jaw joint among others. For the proper functioning of the teeth and maintenance of good health, all these parts must work together harmoniously.
One of the problems that we deal with most in our office is that of disharmony in these parts. A chewing system that works harmoniously mean that there is no pain, the muscles are relaxed, the joint is stable and the teeth function in an environment that is protected. Our goal at Westgate Family Dental is to make sure that we not only treat, but also prevent all dental problems.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS?
Some of the symptoms that can let you know if you have a bad bite or not are:
Mild tooth pain
Treatment of root canals due to the death of tooth nerves or severe tooth pain
Loss of teeth
Teeth that are too sensitive to extreme temperatures
Melting of the surface of the tooth
When your teeth look worn out
Teeth that appear chipped, fractured or cracked
Tipping, misalignment and crowding of teeth
Mild headaches and migraines
Trigger points which radiate pain to other muscles as well as teeth, ears, eyes and neck
Muscles that are sore and get easily fatigued (jaws are constantly tired)
NOTE CAREFULLY: Whenever you experience sever pain, you should contact a doctor first before taking any action. This team of doctors could include physicians, dental specialists, dentists, physician specialist, chiropractors and even physical therapists.
The gum tissue around the teeth recedes
Bone support around the teeth becomes weak
Horizontal bone loss around the front and the back teeth
You will experience a pain that feels like an ear ache due to jaw joint pain.
Locking, grinding, clicking and popping of the jaws
Melt down of joint surfaces
The protective disc will deteriorate
Loss of dental sensory perception
Radiating pains throughout the teeth, head, neck and upper shoulders.
(NB: IF the radiating pain is to the left jaw and the left arm, this could be the sign of an impending heart attack)
FUNCTIONAL AND COSMETIC PROBLEMS:Teeth disappearing behind the lips (a collapsed bite)
Deepening of wrinkles (a collapsed lower face)
Sore and wet spots on the corners of the mouth (a drooping smile)
The lips become thin and lack fullness
Problems in swallowing
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE SOME OF THESE PROBLEMS?
Bad Bite problems can be quite difficult to solve. A diagnosis is therefore necessary prior to any dental treatment. The advantage of a diagnosis is that it enables the identification of the cause of the problem. Once the problem is identified, it becomes very easy to treat the problem.
The other advantage of a diagnosis is that it will help in the separation of dental problems from medical problems. If the problem is identified as a medical one, a doctor will have to step in. However, if the problem is a dental problem, then the dentist can fix it.
THE BIOLOGIC DENTAL MODEL.
You may be wondering how a Bad Bite is related to muscle pain, jaw problems and headaches. In order to explain this, it is better to understand what a Good Bite is first.
The biting position is dominated and controlled by the teeth. Teeth that are in good shape and in perfect relationship to each other as well as their opposing bite partners comprise a Good Bite. Because of this Good Bite, the teeth will function properly and there will be no pain on the muscles or jaw joints. Problems such as tooth-wear, bone loss and gum recession are all non-existent in a Good Bite. Even though it is very difficult to find a person who has a perfect Good Bite, there are people who have them. This is called the BIOLOGICAL DENTAL MODEL. The basis of this is health and not disease.
In reality, however, a large majority of the population has imperfect bites. However, for those of us who do not have Good Bites, the problem is so minor that it does not disrupt our normal health and dental activities. This is enough proof that the body has the ability to adapt to almost any adverse circumstances. However, not all of us are lucky to have this. There are people who suffer greatly from Bad Bites. The good news is that there is a way in which Bad Bites can be solved.
Dental Treatments for Bad Bite…
The first step towards treating a bad bite is by diagnosis. Once the cause of the problem is discovered, treating it becomes much easier. The diagnosis involves gathering of information and organizing this information to establish what caused this problem and where the problem is.
The DIAGNOSTIC PROCESS…
Bad Bites bring about unnatural and destructive forces to the teeth, jaw joints, jawbones and muscles. Some of the problems that are associated with bad bites are the same ones that bring about tooth decay. The whole idea of comprehensive dentistry diagnosis is to identify the cause of a particular dental problem and coming up with a plan on how you can solve that particular problem.
STEPS IN THE DIAGNOSTIC PROCESS…
Phase 1A: Jaw Joint Stabilization
The first phase in diagnosing a Bad Bite is called Jaw Joint Stabilization. Bad Bites make the jaw joints to become unstable. Jaw Joint Stabilization is the process by which the joints are protected from damage and injury that may be caused by Bad Bites. This stabilization of the jaw also protects the teeth from the destructive wear of the enamel as well as loss of bone from unnatural teeth movement.
A custom made and removable Jaw Stabilizing Splint is made to stabilize the jaw. This is usually made to fit over the teeth in the upper jaw. This stabilizing splint is usually made of plastic material. The goal is usually to make it as small as possible for the sake of comfort as well as social acceptability. It is necessary to wear this so as to protect the jaw joints and the teeth. No permanent changes to the teeth or bite are made.
The goals of joint stabilization are:
The main aims of joint stabilization are:
Stabilize the joints in a natural and comfortable position so that they are not strained
It reduces headaches as well as pain to the jaws and the muscles
Lessen unnatural stress on the joints and the teeth
Reduce the strain of the bone and gums of the teeth
Allow the neuromuscular system to reprogram into a natural and comfortable resting position
This process normally takes between one and three months of wearing the splint. It is important to note that this splint is not intended as a long term and permanent solution. Once the goals of joint stabilization have been met, phase 1B begins.
Phase 1B: The Diagnosis
It is during this phase that the causes of Bad Bites can be discovered. When the jaws have been stabilized Axis Tracing is done. Axis Tracing involves making impressions of the upper and lower teeth; recording the jaw relationship by taking a series of bites and placing recording instruments on the lower jaw so as to trace the arc of closure and record the axis point. This usually takes around ninety minutes. Dr. Reuss uses such things as dental photographs, a 3D scan and an X-rays to establish the points of strength and weakness
Phase 2: Dental Treatment
During the diagnostic consultation, any questions that you have on the treatment options that you have as well as their consequences are discussed. It is highly advisable that people who are close to you be present at the consultation stage. The treatment procedure that is going to be used at this stage will be a combination of the following procedures:
Reductive Coronplasty: This involves reshaping the biting surfaces of the teeth so as to improve the bite.
Additive Coronoplasty: This is done so as to add biting contacts whenever it may be necessary to do this. This is to enable the teeth to bite properly in partnership with their opposing teeth. The material used for this usually closely resembles the natural teeth in color, strength and texture.
Porcelain crowns: Different types of porcelain crowns can be constructed to rebuild teeth that are badly worn out or decayed.
Removable full dentures and partial dentures: Removable prostheses may be chosen to replace all the teeth or many teeth in one or both arches.
Orthodontic treatment: This might be suggested so as to straighten teeth and align them so as to improve their functioning and longevity.
Orthognathic surgery: In other situations, once stabilization is done, it is discovered that the jaws are out of alignment. Even though this is a rare recommendation, it might be the only way by which teeth that are highly misaligned can be corrected.