Have you noticed that your teeth don’t exactly fit together? For many people, teeth on one side may be higher or arc wider than the other. This misalignment is known as a bite imbalance. More than just annoying, it can be the start of much more complex dental problems in the future. From enamel wear, to ear ringing to TMJ pain and more, there are many good reasons to fix an unbalanced bite.
Causes of Bite Imbalance
Teeth can move out of place throughout your life. There are many sources of bite imbalance including:
- Heredity / genetics
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Loss of a tooth or several teeth
- Poorly fitting dentures
- Movement of wisdom teeth under the gumline
- Broken teeth or missing fillings
Once teeth are misaligned, they begin to wear improperly. This can lead to a loss of enamel and tooth decay. Added grinding or clenching may push teeth further apart. Jaw joints and jaw muscles can be strained by this misalignment too, causing painful TMJ disorder.
Diagnosing Unbalanced Bite Issues
The first step in correcting a misaligned bite is having a dentist diagnose it. Using a simple pressure test, with special paper, I can see the how the bite force varies. There are characteristic markings that are indicative of an unbalanced bite.
More advanced diagnostic technology is used after the simple test indicates a probable imbalance. Whitmore Dental was an early adopter of the T-Scan. T-Scan is a small, hand held computer that helps measure occlusal dynamics; it basically shows us exactly where your teeth do and do not fit together when you bite down. When combined with CBCT imagery of your head, jaw joints and mouth, we are able to pinpoint exactly where the problems are.
Having such precise diagnostic tools empowers us to create dental treatment options that are very specific and innovative. The result is dental treatment that is effective, lasting, and more comfortable.
Fixing Bite Balance
Since there are many causes of bite imbalance, the treatment plan I create is completely customized to resolute your issues and fit your specific situation. Three of the most common treatments that work to fix bite issues are:
- Replace missing teeth. Whether it’s one tooth that is missing and can be replaced by a prosthetic implant, or multiple teeth missing requiring several implants, a fixed bridge or implant-secured dentures, replacing teeth will benefit to your bite and your smile. My recommended approach will depend on the health of your jaw, gum tissue and other factors.
- Fix Broken Teeth. A bite imbalance may be caused by a broken tooth, missing crown or filling or a tooth that has worn significantly. Fixing these teeth with crowns, replacement fillings, and even tooth colored composite materials can prevent future decay and even out your bite, correcting or improving the imbalance.
- Teeth straightening or orthodontics. Sometimes the only way to correct the bite is to correct the alignment of all of the teeth. Teeth straightening systems such as Invisalign, are a popular and easy way to correct your bite.
Whitmore Dental provides customized bite alignment exams and treatment plans. If you have questions or concerns about your bite, please talk with us during your next dental check up. Contact Whitmore Dental for an appointment today.