Bite problems occur in multiple forms and are typically caused by structural issues with teeth or jaw. While these issues do not always have to be addressed, certain bite problems can cause difficulties such as speech impairments, headaches, and increased chances of damage to teeth. To help identify if your teeth or jaw may be causing issues for you beyond cosmetic concerns, consider the following causes and treatments.
How to Determine if You Have a Bite Problem
Because many bite problems don’t cause pain directly in your teeth, people often fail to realize their teeth are the root cause of other issues. Here are some ways to determine if you have bite problems before they cause other damage:
Pain in Jaw
Your Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your skull to your jaw and this joint, which is located just in front of your ear, will experience discomfort when biting down hard when there are issues. While this is sometimes a structural concern, it’s more likely that the muscles surrounding the TMJ are causing problems.
Dentin, the material beneath your enamel, will become exposed if you have bite issues that cause excessive or uneven wear. This material, which appears in a darker color on the edges of your teeth, will wear down much faster than enamel and should be addressed before further erosion occurs. Ideally, wear issues will be caught before the enamel is gone. Dental professionals at the Art of Dentistry are well versed in identifying dentin related bite problems and can help address these for you to preserve your teeth.
Clenching your teeth together (without anything in your mouth) should not cause any kind of pain if you do not have bite problems. However, if there is pain in any one specific tooth, this is likely caused by a bite issue. For example, a crown that is too high can be detected this way. Similarly, teeth that are sensitive to temperature may be sensitive because they are getting a greater amount of impact and use due to a problem with your bite.
Generally, you should be able to clench and even grind your teeth together without causing pain when there are no bite probles. One exception to this is if you have advanced decay or disease which makes the teeth unable to bite firmly without pain. However, this is still unlikely to cause pain in a single tooth.
Bite Problem Types and Treatments
Bite problems often have several treatment options depending on their severity, including braces and Invisalign, “invisible braces.” There are a wide range of ways in which your bite problems can manifest, including:
Underbite: With an underbite, your bottom jaw extends forward, making the bottom teeth rest in front of the top teeth.
Overbite: When the upper teeth extend too far over the lower, this is an overbite. In some cases, this can be a big enough bite difference that the lower teeth will bite into the roof of your mouth.
Open bite: As the name implies, this is a bite type where your teeth leave an opening between the upper and lower teeth. It can cause several problems when it comes to being able to chew properly.
Ideally, if you suspect bite problems, you should get your teeth and jaw checked by a specialist. The expert providers at The Art of Dentistry are able to diagnose a wide range of bite problems and structure a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Related article: Tooth Sensitivity and Chewing