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Occlusion

DENTAL OCCLUSAL PROBLEMS

‘Dental occlusion’ is a term used to describe how your teeth meet when you bite together. Your teeth are designed to come together in a specific way for your bite to function properly.

When the muscles and joints of the jaw work together in harmony, it results in a healthy occlusion.  When they do not work together this causes a misaligned bite, known as malocclusion.

Have I got any occlusal problems?

An unbalanced bite can cause a lot of pain and patients often do not associate this discomfort with their mouths and a possible bite problem, often suffering for a long time without realising that their pain could be easily fixed through occlusion assessment.

Some common indicators of a misaligned bite may include;

  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Under bite
  • Front teeth that touch when biting down

What symptoms might indicate an occlusal issue?

Malocclusion can lead to a number of problems including worn teeth, broken restorations, jaw pain, facial pain, gum disease and even tooth loss. Here are some symptoms of malocclusion;

  • Crooked teeth – if you have teeth that are crooked, heavily worn or are constantly breaking, fillings that fracture, or crowns that work loose, you may have a misaligned bite. In addition your teeth may be tender to bite on or may ache constantly.
  • Loose teeth – these can be made worse by a misaligned bite and if you are missing some teeth at the back of your mouth, this can also lead to an unbalanced bite.
  • Clicking, crunching jaw pain – this includes pain in your jaw joints and difficulty or pain on opening or closing your mouth which could be due to the way your teeth come together.
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) – If you suffer from headaches or neck and shoulder pain, this may be linked with possible jaw problems. And if you suffer from pain or discomfort on the side of your face around your ears or jaw joints, these issues may also be symptomatic of problems associated with a misaligned bite.

It is also common for patients with occlusal problems to grind their teeth and most aren’t even aware of it as it’s usually done whilst they are sleeping. If you tend to wake up with tenderness, a painful stiff jaw or pain when biting together – this could be a sign you are clenching or grinding your teeth together at night.

What are the treatment options for occlusal problems?

Occlusion is taken very seriously here at The Essex Smile Centre. We believe it’s better to fix something before it breaks completely; after all we only get one set of adult teeth. Declan, Stephen and the skilled clinical team here have undertaken advanced training to carefully evaluate occlusal problems.

They are able to examine the health and functionality of your whole mouth and make recommendations on how to achieve a healthy bite.

The treatment options recommended will depend on each patient and their individual occlusal problems. Some of the treatment paths may include;

  • Bite guard – to prevent patients from grinding their teeth
  • Tooth adjustment – changing the position or direction of some teeth to help reposition the jaw and correct alignment.
  • Tooth Straightening – in some cases it may be necessary to undertake orthodontic treatment such as braces to help correct bites that are far out of line and move them.
  • Teeth Replacement – when teeth are missing it can lead to a misalignment in the temporo-mandibular joint which needs equal support from both sides of the jaw. Using partial dentures or bridges missing teeth can be replaced and can often provide instant relief for patients.
  • Medication – there are options for medication that can provide temporary relief for some patients, however for long term results dental treatment is the only suitable option.
  • Diet and exercise – similar to joint pain on other parts of the body there are ways to help the jaw by putting less stress on it. This can include undertaking a ‘soft diet’ and following corrective exercises as well as using heat to help pain.

How much will occlusal treatment cost?

As with all dental treatments pricing will depend on each individual case. Our experts will discuss and explain your treatment with you plan with you to ensure you are happy with everything.

An occlusal assessment is likely to improve the longevity of your teeth and reduce the chances of painful dental problems developing in the future. Speak to us today at the Essex Smile Centre to find out more and book an initial assessment.

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“When I first joined your practice I was a very nervous patient, but the staff did everything they could to put me at ease. My dentist was also very helpful, he knew I was nervous and made me feel very comfortable and said he would stop when ever I wanted to. Your staff are always happy to help, whenever I have to change or cancel my appointment it is always done with a pleasant manner. Every time I enter your practice, whether your staff are busy or not I am always greeted with a smile and a pleasant ‘hello’, even through the recent changes to your practice and the many challenges this must bring the pleasant and helpful manner of your staff has remained constant” – Janna