Your occlusion is the way your teeth and jaws come together when you bite. In proper occlusion, the teeth, jaws, surrounding nerves and muscles all work in harmony. The upper and lower teeth mesh comfortably and there’s no strain on any surrounding muscles. Teeth in malocclusion, sometimes called a bad bite, can be out of alignment in a variety of ways.
Misalignment causes stress
This misalignment can put stress on your teeth, muscles, and jaw joints. Even subtle misalignments can sometimes cause significant problems. And, although you may have straight teeth, you may have an orthopedic misalignment in your jaws.
Symptoms of malocclusion can include–
- facial pain
- a sore neck or shoulders
- worn or broken teeth
- habitually clenching or grinding your teeth
- or a variety of problems with your hearing.
Diagnosing occlusion Evaluating your bite may include several examinations. We’ll record your full medical history and ask you about any medications you’re taking. We’ll take x-rays to diagnose the health of your teeth and their roots. We’ll do a thorough exam looking for any problems with your teeth and gums. We may also use specialized equipment to measure the role your jaws and muscles play in occlusion. We might track your jaw in motion to detect any subtle malocclusion. We may test the activity of your muscles and the nerves that control them. We may record the sound your jaw makes during movement. We’ll take impressions of your teeth. These impressions may be used to build a model of your existing bite. We’ll use all of this information to design a plan for you. Our goal is to address the cause of your discomfort, not just mask the symptoms. If malocclusion is the cause of your pain, we can design a treatment plan to address your problem, correct your bite, and get you back on the road to health.