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Is your bite to blame? Do a self test

Feb. 6, 2013
 
Dr. Jan Bublik, Dental Solutions
Dr. Jan Bublik, Dental Solutions
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Did you know you could be free of decay and gum disease and still lose teeth because of a bad bite?

While decay and gum disease are both infections that are transmissible and invasive, a bad bite is truly mechanical in nature. Gears that do not fit together correctly will destroy one another in a car, tractor or your mouth. Our facial muscles, teeth, and jaw joints were created to work in harmony and balance for proper chewing and swallowing.

A bite that is out of sync puts a strain on the teeth, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and facial muscles. This mechanical strain can cause many serious problems.

Self evaluation

Using the fingertip of your index finger, feel at the neck (where the gum and tooth meet) of each upper tooth. If there is a ledge, a nick or a possible deep V, you have a bite problem. To check the lower, do the same test with the tip of your thumb.

Look at the biting surface of your front teeth in a mirror using a bright light. This area should be knife edged, not flat. If you can see a darker colored ring on the biting surface, more than likely it is the dentin, which means you have worn several millimeters of enamel off of your teeth. If you are 70 years old, its no big deal; but if you are still young, it could be a bad sign of things to come.

A misaligned bite, compounded with clenching and grinding can also cause mild to extreme headaches. It is easy for most people to understand that teeth can break and wear because they dont fit, but why are headaches a symptom of a bad bite? Overworked muscles can become very sore and even cramped. People who clinch or grind their teeth put a tremendous amount of work on the muscles of the head. This strain can mimic headaches behind the eyes, sinus problems, earaches, sore neck and a host of other painful symptoms.

Unfortunately, many physicians and some dentists misdiagnose these symptoms. It is very common to hear patients say they have had MRIs, CAT scans, sinus evaluations or ear tests only to be given a clean bill of health when it was their teeth and bite all along.

Good dental health is all about prevention. The earlier you are on top of problems, whether they be decay, gum disease or a bad bite, the better you and your pocketbook are going to be.

Source: Dr. Jan Bublik of Dental Solutions in Weston. He specializes in dental implantology, TMJ disorders and oral/facial pain.

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