Bite problems can be a significant dilemma, from uneven tooth wear to TMJ dysfunction, to being conscious of the aesthetics of your smile. We don’t want our patients to have these problems. Our team at Richard Whipple, DDS, including Dr. Richard Whipple, can spot potential problems and help your design a treatment plan that is right for your situation.
What is Occlusion?
Occlusion is the study of how our teeth fit together and function. Your extensive clinical exam with Dr. Richard Whipple includes an evaluation of how your teeth fit together, including how your jaw joint and facial muscles come together when opening and closing your mouth.
A healthy bite
A healthy bite, or occlusion, will show minimal tooth wear, Dr. Richard Whipple will be able to see that the teeth are stable and comfortable. The patient can chew evenly on both sides of their mouth. During your examination, Dr. Richard Whipple will look for the following:
- That the patient has good bilateral and even contact. Your jaw muscles are very strong, and apply a lot of pressure when chewing. We want to see that your bilateral contacts allow for proper distribution, without it, the jaw muscle would feel sore or tired.
- That the patients back molar teeth properly come together, known as posterior teeth disclusion. Anterior and canine alignment should be even when chewing.
- The patient should have an unobstructed envelope of function, meaning that when they are chewing, the mandible does not only swing laterally, but also forward when chewing, and then returning to center. This circular motion of chewing, allows for more even movement and a healthier bite.
What is Malocclusion?
A malocclusion, is an indication of a poor alignment of teeth and jaws, sometimes referred to as a “bad bite” and it can cause some both health and dental problems. Unhealthy bite problems or malocclusion can lead to broken or worn teeth, an increase of fillings, tooth pain, jaw pain, muscle pain, and problems with your jaw joint. Common malocclusions include:
- Gaps in your teeth
- Overcrowded Teeth
- Overjetted Teeth
- Misplaced Midline
- Impacted Teeth
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder, or dysfunction, is a disorder that occurs from a malocclusion. This means that due to the patient’s bite, the patient is unable to open or close their jaw properly. Symptoms of this disorder can sometimes be impossible to ignore. Patients may experience pain, a clicking sensation, or a tired feeling, or they can see more serious effects such as being unable to either fully open or close their jaw. Some patients may find that they are feeling ear pain, eyebrow pain, or even migraines. TMJ disorder can be very problematic for some patients.
There are solutions, but your solution would be personal for your situation. Your first step is talking with Dr. Richard Whipple, and together, we can design a treatment plan for you. Please contact us for more information about bite problems or occlusions.