The way your teeth meet when your top and bottom jaws close down on top of each other is known as your 'bite'. If your teeth don't fit together properly, you could have malocclusion or 'bad bite', which can cause problems with your teeth, gums, the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles in your face.
This misalignment, often referred to as TMJ disorder, can also cause some people to clench the jaw and grind their teeth at night. This can lead to facial pain, headaches, discomfort and clicking when biting or chewing, migraines as well as neck and shoulder pain, and even back pain.
If you recognise any of these symptoms or suffer with these on a daily basis, you will need to see a dentist to treat your problems or to refer you to a specialist if necessary. Treatment can include the following:
- Impressions of your teeth are taken to create a customised plastic appliance that fits over your teeth and is worn at night.
- When the device is worn, your teeth are in a position where your facial muscles are relaxed, preventing grinding and taking the pressure off your TMJ.
- The device also protects the teeth, preventing them from becoming worn down by grinding.
Depending on the origin and severity of your problem, you may need orthodontic treatment or maxillofacial surgery. Other solutions may include replacing missing teeth or adjusting any ill-fitting bridgework that you may have. The most important thing to do is to see your dentist as soon as possible so that your problem does not become worse over time and require more drastic measures to correct.
- Alleviated facial and TMJ pain, including a reduction in headaches.
- Prevention of extensive tooth wear.
- Enhanced quality of sleep.