The signs you may have dental occlusion problems
Dental occlusion is not something that a lot of people are aware of or understand which is why those suffering with the symptoms may not recognise what it is that is causing their issues.
Dental occlusion is the name given to the way that a person’s teeth meet and come together.
This means the way that they make contact when carrying out different actions such as biting, chewing, swallowing and sleeping. In more technical terms it refers to the relationship between the upper (maxillary) and lower (mandibular) teeth when they approach each other at rest or in function.
When there are problems with the upper and lower teeth or jaw coming together in a way that can damage the teeth, it is often as a result of occlusal disease, malocclusion or a bad bite.
Types of Occlusal Problems
There are a variety of reasons why some people develop different dental occlusion issues and there are also several categories that a person’s bite will fall under;
- Underbite – Commonly seen in children, this is when the lower teeth are more prominent compared to the upper teeth.
- Overbite – The complete opposite of underbite, this is when a person’s upper jaw is more protruding than the lower jaw.
- Crossbite – An anterior crossbite is when the lower teeth fit behind the upper teeth and a posterior crossbite is when the upper teeth fit behind the lower teeth.
- Crowding – This can occur due to having bigger teeth or a smaller mouth than usual and results in overlapping or rotating teeth.
- Overjet – Similar to an overbite but more severe, overjet occurs when the upper teeth sit over the lower teeth in a way that causes them to severely protrude.
- Open Bite – An anterior open bite means the front teeth close but the back teeth don’t, and a posterior open bite means that the back teeth close, but the front teeth don’t.
If there is a misalignment of the teeth then this can cause a lot of problems for the teeth, gums, mouth and overall health and wellbeing. A lot of people suffer with occlusal issues completely unaware that this is the cause of their symptoms.
Here are some of the most common signs that there might be an occlusal issue;
- Headaches and Migraines
Headaches are a symptom that many people don’t attribute with having anything to do with their teeth, but it could be a sign that a patient is grinding at night, especially if the headaches occur first thing in the morning.
- Tooth Damage
Having a bite that is misaligned can lead to a number of issues over the years with general wear and tear causing attrition, erosion and abrasion in various forms. This covers a wide range of issues such as teeth that are short or worn down, chipped, wobbly or broken as well as things such as fillings, crowns or other restorations which need fixing or replacing frequently.
- Dental Sensitivity
The constant wear-and-tear of having an uneven bite can wear through the teeth’s hard, protective enamel, exposing the inner pulp (dentin) to the elements which can make teeth much more sensitive to thermal changes such as hot and cold.
- Face and Muscle Pain
In patients with occlusal issues, due to the structure and shape of the teeth, chewing techniques can be irregular or unnatural without them even knowing about it and as time goes on the problems can mean that chewing effectively becomes more and more difficult. These issues can lead to the muscles in the face and jaw becoming strained and feeling tired and painful.
What to Do Next
If you are concerned about your teeth and are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, then it is always a good idea to book an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
There are a wide range of treatments available for occlusal issues and the earlier you seek help then the better chance there is of minimising any potential damage and resolving the cause of problem at the source.