The common name for how your teeth fit together is your “bite.” Occlusion is the more technical term. If your bite is “off” it can cause problems, because the alignment of your teeth is an important component of your dental health and may even affect your overall health. This alignment problem is called malocclusion – a very common cause of tooth pain, jaw pain and temperature sensitivity. Here are 3 things to consider as you decide whether malocclusion is causing or contributing to your tooth or jaw pain, sensitivity or discomfort:
- Does it hurt your jaw when you bite down? If so, there may be a relationship between your bite and your temporomandibular jaw joint (TMJ). The pain may be associated with a structural disorder, but frequently the pain originates in the muscles that move your jaw was they attempt to accommodate a malocclusion.
- Does clenching your teeth cause pain? If so, you may have a malocclusion. Clenching is also a good way to find out if a new crown or filling is too “high.” If your bite is on the mark, you should be able to bite hard and grind your teeth together in all directions without discomfort.
- Does it seem your teeth are wearing away? Severe tooth wear is a sign that your bite is not spot on. 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 tooth enamel. This can be damaging when it involves your front teeth – especially your lower front teeth. Correcting your bite may prevent further wearing away.
It’s true that the most common dental problems are tooth decay and gum disease, but malocclusions can cause additional pain and damage.
If you think you may have a problem with your bite or are experiencing tooth or jaw pain call to schedule a consultation appointment. We will observe the relationship of your teeth, jaw and bite, and recommend any needed dental procedures: 973.328.1225.