Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

TMJ and Your Ideal Bite

 

Finding your own ideal jaw position can be key to helping your teeth and mouth work the very best. The place that your teeth, joints, and muscles all act together well is called the “ideal bite,” and since this position varies with each person, it is one of the hardest areas for dentists to effectively help patients.

What Can’t Be Changed Easily

Many different things can alter the bite position of a patient’s bite. Genes can play a role, and sometimes a genetic condition of a bite can’t be changed much unless surgery is involved. The TemporoMandibular Joint (or TMJ for short) and the lower jawbone’s projecting head that end up working with the TMJ are also issues that cannot be changed easily and only affected through surgery. Most of the muscles that are involved in positioning the lower jaw to do things like talk, yawn or chew, are also guided by the teeth. These teeth pull your jaw into the correct alignment where the most quantity of teeth will meet together at once. Again, these lower jaw muscles cannot be trained easily, and to change their position and length, surgery really is the only option.

What Can Be Done

However, most dentists, like Oregon City dentist Dr. Brett Johnson, can successfully change the shape and arrangement of the teeth to help you find your ideal bite. An ideal bite is one that is heardnnoticeably when the dentist has you tap your teeth together. If your teeth make a muffled or muted sound when they are tapped together then this may mean you have “tentative” bite, due to a tooth deflecting it or because your jaw muscles are not functioning properly. In fact, you can attempt to figure this out for yourself by placing your own fingers against the outsides of your upper teeth and then chewing side to side and tapping. Do you notice just one or a couple of your teeth hitting on either side or a tooth being moved when you bite? If you do notice either of these things, then it could be because your bite or jaw position is wrong and should be attended to by a dental professional.

What Bad Bites Can Cause

Bad bites can result in many consequences. Even if your teeth are only a small bit out of whack, your entire jaw and alignment might be affected and pushed out of center. This can result in your TMJ becoming tender or painful as those muscles are having to exert themselves abnormally to align your jaw, as its not their natural position. In fact, these muscles will actively work to eliminate anything, like a tooth, that is in its way, usually by grinding side-o-side. This is why you end up with TMJ problems; ie, clenching or grinding your teeth.

This clenching and grinding can affect your teeth in various ways. Facets or flat panes can form by the excessive grinding of teeth. Occasionally even the gums will start to be wrenched away from your teeth, which can result in a small V forming at the stem of the tooth. When x-rays are taken in your dental office, the dentist could find the bone level can tilt towards the affected tooth area, and even cause a dent in the tooth known as an abfracture.

How We Can Help

All these issue can negatively affect the structural integrity of your teeth and can result in the loss of teeth and tremendous pain. At Oregon City Dentistry, your dentist in Oregon City, OR, we want to work with you to recognize the signs of misaligned bites before they become serious. We can also sometimes easily help fix such problems with simples steps, such as polishing the offending material or enamel or spots that are raised up on your teeth. We also will be able to tell you if restoration or repositioning of you teeth may be necessary .

Please give us a call today if you think you might be suffering from TMJ pain or have a misaligned bite. Our dentists and highly trained team have many years of experience to help identify and fix any issues you may have.

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