The Science of the Bite
Your bite is how your teeth fit together. Some people have an overbite, meaning their top teeth overlap the bottom teeth. Some have an underbite, when the bottom teeth overlap the top. Ideally, your teeth should fit together smoothly and exactly, for ease in chewing and smooth movement of your jawbone as you chew, talk, swallow, or otherwise shift your jaw.
Unfortunately, virtually no one has a perfect bite. Often this isn't an issue. Minor irregularities in the bite often go unnoticed, as they don't severely affect the jaw's ability to move smoothly. However, sometimes irregularities in the bite can lead to TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.
TMD is caused by a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint where the jawbone, or mandible, attaches to the temple. A complex joint, the TMJ can be forced out of alignment by muscle tension in the neck, habitual teeth grinding, or an irregular bite. This misalignment causes the jaw muscles to attempt to compensate, which leads to more tension, and then more pain.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Jaw pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Popping in the jaw joint
- Ringing in the ears
If you suffer from any of these issues, you might have TMD. Using advanced diagnostic methods, Dr. Quigless can determine if TMD is the root cause of your discomfort.
An important part of TMD treatment is properly aligning the bite. Dr. Quigless first determines the proper position of your jaw, then evaluates your bite to see if it needs to be adjusted. Using dental or orthodontic techniques, Dr. Quigless can make minute to major changes to the way your teeth fit together. These improvements to your bite, even if small, can make a huge difference in your comfort, eliminating the several varieties of pain that can result from TMD.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TMD and would like an evaluation, please contact Dr. Kirk Quigless, St. Louis, Missouri neuromuscular dentist. Dr. Quigless can determine if you would benefit from TMD treatment, and eliminate the discomfort of chronic TMD.
8083 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63144