Basically, your “bite” is how your teeth fit together. Plain and simple. But it’s not so simple if your bite is “off,” and causing you problems. Malocclusion – another name for the misalignment of your bite – can cause sensitivity, pain, and other discomforts that you would not normally associate with your teeth. There are a few simple ways to determine when a problem with your bite is causing or contributing to pain or discomfort.
- Does your jaw hurt when you bite on something? If so, there may be a relationship between your bite and your TMJ (the temporomandibular joint or the joint of your jaw). The pain may be associated with a structural disorder, but more often the pain arises from the muscles that move your jaw to accommodate a misaligned bite. Your dentist should be able to diagnose the exact source of the pain.
- Do your teeth look like they are wearing away? Severe wear is another sign that your bite is not in harmony. If all the enamel on the biting edges of your teeth is worn away, you will see a darker colored surface – the dentin – which wears down much faster than your tooth enamel. This can be especially damaging when it involves your front teeth – more importantly, your lower front teeth. Ask your dentist to evaluate what is causing so much wear. Correcting your bite may stop or at least slow down the wearing away.
- Does clenching your teeth because you pain? If so, you probably have a bite problem. Additionally, teeth that are sensitive to cold often become so because of a misalignment. Clenching is also a good way to find out if a new crown or filling is too “high.” You should be able to bite hard and grind your teeth together in all directions without feeling discomfort in any tooth if your bite is perfect.
The most common dental problems are tooth decay and gum disease, but malocclusion can cause more pain and destruction than the more commonly recognized problems of tooth decay or gum disease. If you think you have a problem with your bite, we can help by studying the relationship between your teeth and jaw, correcting your bite and doing any necessary dental procedures. The result will be a beautiful, long-lasting smile. Call, today: 414-377-5711.