Dental occlusion (sometimes referred to as dental bite) 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 Novato TMJ Dentist is most concerned with whether or not this alignment is healthy.
There are different types of occlusion, (or dental bite):
- 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. Malocclusion can cause serious 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 do you treat malocclusion?
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 the Novato TMJ Dentist office to let them 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.