Did you know your jaw problem may manifest as headaches?
Are you someone who suffers from a lot of headaches and has never been able to pinpoint the cause? Have you ever considered that they might be caused by the way your teeth meet when you bite together? This is called your dental occlusion.
Each time you attend your six-month dental examination appointment, not only will the dentist check the health of your teeth and gums, but they will also check your dental occlusion.
If your teeth do not fit together properly you can experience problems that can be much further reaching than just your teeth. You may experience problems with your gums, the temporomandibular joint or your facial and neck muscles.
Common Jaw Problems
If your teeth do not bite together properly, you may experience a number of different problems not just limited to your teeth including:
Fillings may wear down quickly.
Breaking or chipping your teeth more often and fillings wearing down quickly.
Clicking, grinding or pain in your jaw joints, ringing in your ears and difficulty opening and closing your mouth.
Muscle spasms, headaches, pain behind the eyes or sinus pains and pains in your neck and shoulders.
Sensitivity when you bite your teeth together.
Loose teeth or receding gums can worsen.
It is highly unlikely that you will have a perfect bite but most people will never experience any problems because they have learnt to adapt to compensate for any problems.
It is also possible you may find that at times of high stress and tension the symptoms may appear but then go away. If you experience any of the above problems even only for a short time you should be sure to mention them to your dentist at your next appointment.
These symptoms may also be caused by grinding or clenching of your teeth, which may be something you are unaware that you do and often occurs at times of high stress or when you are concentrating on a task. If the problems are most acute in the morning, it may be that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep and do are totally unaware that you are doing it.
There are a number of different treatments available. Depending on the severity of your symptoms your dentist may be able to treat you or they may advise that you are referred to a specialist.
If your dentist suspects that your symptoms are caused by an incorrect bite they may advise you to wear a hard plastic appliance that fits over your upper and lower teeth and forces your teeth to meet in a position where your muscles are relaxed. For some people, this can give instant relief. If this is the case you may need to consider getting your bite altered permanently or it may be necessary to replace missing teeth with a partial denture or bridge to help provide your jaw with equal support.
For a short time, it may be advisable for you to focus on a soft diet. This will reduce the pressure put on your jaw joint and when combined with corrective exercises and applying heat can help to reduce symptoms.
If your teeth are too far out of line or in a totally incorrect bite position you may need to have an orthodontic appliance to help move them into a better position.
If you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night, the dentist may advise that you wear a bite guard at night. This will help to protect your teeth from any further damage.
Counselling and relaxation therapy can also help you to become more aware of stressful situations and control tension.
You are not alone
It is estimated that up to 1 in 4 people may have some symptoms caused by an incorrect bite, with both men and women being equally affected.
So do not fear book an appointment with the dentists at Leigh Dental Centre and see what they can do to improve your bite today. Call the surgery on 01702 472929 to book a consultation.
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