You don’t have to be a dental expert to know when you have chipped a tooth or are feeling pain and sensitivity that requires a trip to the dentist to identify and resolve the issue.
However, not everybody is aware of what dental occlusion is and what can happen when you experience problems with it, as the signs and symptoms are not always obviously linked to a dental issue.
What Is Dental Occlusion?
Dental Occlusal or Occlusion is the term given to the way that teeth connect and come together when you close your jaw or bite. When the teeth, muscles and joints of the jaw work in harmony it results in a healthy, functioning occlusion that sees the teeth coming together with proper, even contact and no crossbite, overbite or underbite.
In cases where they do not work together for whatever reason, it causes a misaligned bite or occlusal issues that are also referred to as malocclusion.
Signs And Symptoms Of Occlusal Problems
An unbalanced bite can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort which patients don’t always associate with their mouths and dental problems, causing them to suffer for a long time before the source of the issue is discovered.
Some common indicators that you could have a misaligned bite are;
- Under bite
- Crowded teeth
- Front teeth that touch when biting down
It’s not always obvious to people what type of bite they have or if there is a problem that they haven’t realised but malocclusion can cause a number of symptoms that can be easier to identify. Some of the symptoms you might experience can include;
- Crooked teeth that are misaligned
- Heavily worn teeth that are shorter than they should be
- Teeth, crowns or fillings that are constantly breaking
- Tenderness when biting or constant aching
- Loose teeth or crowns that work loose
- Clicking or crunching jaw pain that makes it painful or difficult to open and close the mouth
- Headaches or neck and shoulder pain which can be signs of TMJ
- Gum disease which can occur as a result of misalignment which makes it difficult to remove plaque and food particles
What Are The Treatment Options For Malocclusion?
The treatment options recommended for occlusal problems will depend on the individual patient, their unique dental needs and the type and severity of their malocclusion.
Some of the solutions commonly used are;
Orthodontic treatment such as braces can help in certain cases to correct bites that are out of line and move teeth into a better position.
This can help in patients who grind their teeth to prevent further damage or wear and tear.
Known as equilibration, changing the position or direction of the slopes that guide the teeth together can help to reposition the jaw and correct alignment.
Missing teeth can lead to a misalignment and an uneven bite force which can be corrected using partial dentures or bridges.
There is some temporary relief that can be provided by medication but dental treatment is the only suitable option for long-term results.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have Occlusal Issues?
If you have been experiencing symptoms that you believe could be a side effect of an occlusion issue then it is important that you get seen by your dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to examine your teeth and bite carefully to ascertain if there is anything wrong and discuss treatment options with you to get you on the path to a happy, healthy bite.