If you’ve ever been told you have a “bad bite,” chances are you can see for yourself that your teeth are out of alignment. From a strictly cosmetic standpoint, a bad bite doesn’t usually look so great, and most people who have bad bites have probably considered correcting them with braces or other orthodontics. But a bad bite can be far more serious than simply having crooked teeth. A bad bite can not only cause uneven wear on the teeth, but it can also cause damage to the teeth, jaw soreness, bruxism (or teeth grinding) and even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder).
So, how does a bad bite cause so many problems? Well, think of your teeth almost like a puzzle. We say almost because your teeth shouldn’t totally interlock like a puzzle does, but they should align, and much like a puzzle, when they don’t fit properly, they don’t look right or work right. Here are some of the ways a bad bite can cause damage to your teeth:
Bruxism / Grinding
Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, be caused by many things, including stress and strain. Many people grind their teeth totally unconsciously while they sleep. But the fact remains that a bad bite can increase the likelihood of grinding your teeth. Teeth that are misaligned may be more likely to sit in a position conducive to grinding.
Uneven wear happens when some teeth rub against other teeth while you are chewing, speaking or grinding your teeth. Because the teeth are essentially hitting each other, wear in those spots may accrue faster than if your bite were aligned, which can make the teeth themselves look worn, uneven and in some cases discolored due to enamel damage.
Chips, Cracks and Breaks
Much like uneven wear, chips, cracks and breaks are common with a bad bite, because the teeth can knock into each other when you chew, speak or even just open your mouth. This damage can destroy otherwise healthy teeth and add years to your appearance.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder has many causes, including a bad bite. This can happen for several reasons. First, when your bite is misaligned, it can be difficult to hold your jaw in its ideal place. This often means you are straining to hold your jaw in a more comfortable position and aggravating the temporomandibular joint.
Conversely, if you already have TMJ disorder, the misalignment of the temporomandibular joint itself can aggravate the jaw enough that it’s either too painful or simply not possible to align the bite properly.
Thankfully, jaw pain and much of the damage to the teeth caused by a bad bite can be treated. Full-mouth reconstruction can correct the damage to the teeth, and neuromuscular dentistry addresses the position of the bite. If you would like to learn more about how Dr. George can help with both, please give her office a call at 724-220-2347.