Posts Tagged ‘chewing system’

Occlusal Correction: Occlusal Splint Therapy

This type of therapy for occlusal correction is temporary, but does a lot of good things over a period of time to protect your bite and its bad effects on your whole chewing system — even your whole head, down to your shoulders.

I’ve mentioned the MAGO way back when, and how I use it to treat TMJ cases. This is just about identical. It is basically a hard plastic mouthguard designed to fit your mouth in such a way that provides a stable bite and prevents further clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. The splint also relieves jaw and muscle pain caused by malocclusion problems. The kind of treatment you’ll need after using an occlusal splint will determine how long you wear it, and may even change the course of negative effects again caused by your malocclusion.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Advertisements

What Is A Malocclusion?

A malocclusion is a “bad bite.” Easy enough, right?

If a good occlusion is defined as a bite where all components of the chewing system work together harmoniously, then a bad occlusion — a malocclusion — means that the teeth do not match up and fit together when you bite down. One or more of the components involved in the chewing system may not be functioning properly, and is most likely what is causing the teeth to come down abnormally.

The funny thing is that most of us don’t realize that we have a malocclusion until we go in for an occlusal analysis. After a while, we unconsciously train our muscles to chew in a certain way, to move in a certain direction repeatedly, so that it does seem like our teeth fit together fine. But you can’t really tell the difference between what’s “normal” and what’s “really normal” until you’ve had adjustments made because you’ve been doing it a certain way for so long.

Having a malocclusion almost guarantees wear and tear on your teeth, facial muscle fatigue, and long-term damage and/or disease throughout your whole mouth and jaw area. Having your malocclusion corrected is absolutely necessary for your mouth’s health and ultimately your whole body.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

What Is An Occlusion?

An occlusion is basically the noun form of the word “occlusal,” which we already know is a term describing your bite. An occlusion is the way your bite is uniquely designed, how your teeth come down on each other and fit into specific grooves to properly chew.

However, an occlusion does not merely describe how the teeth fit together because — what have we learned? — the chewing system involves the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joints… your jaw joints), jaw bones, muscles, ligaments, and all other soft tissues in your mouth. With the ideal occlusion, every one of these elements works with the others to create comfort, harmony, and efficiency in your chewing. If any of these elements is not functioning to its best potential, however, even the smallest hindrance can cause pain, injury, disease, and other problems. This is called a malocclusion and will be covered in tomorrow’s post.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Occlusal Analysis

“Occlusal” is basically a fancy, dental-scientific word for “bite.” I have mentioned occlusal (bite) analysis in an earlier post, but if you don’t remember it, I shall reiterate:

Occlusal analysis takes a look at your bite, your entire chewing system, comprehensively observing, recording, and adjusting small areas where your bite can reach its full effective, comfortable, and long-lasting potential. This approach — analyzing the whole mouth, jaw, teeth, and their movements — is far superior to adjusting each individual tooth. Adjusting the individual teeth can lead to painful jaw malfunctions and TMJ disorders over time because of prolonged crooked movement (slight though it may be) and repetitive clenching or grinding.

Does your dentist give occlusal analyses? Should you go in for one?

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

TMJ Disorder

Always be paying attention to signs and signals your body gives you. If you’re hungry, eat something nourishing. If you’re tired, get some rest. If you don’t feel well, try to cut out habits that might be detrimental to your health. Make time to take care of yourself.

This includes your dental health as well. If, for some reason, you are in good health but still experience headaches, neck aches, ear pain, jaw pain, jaw clicking/popping/crookedness, bruxing, stiffness or pain while chewing, or any other unexplained symptom in your jaw/neck area, talk to your dentist. You may have TMJ (short for temporomandibular joint…the joint in each side of your jaw) disorder. If your dentist cannot give you very much information, find a TMJ specialist and call him for an examination. TMJ can grow into a severely restricting, delicate problem and is best treated when in the early stages of development. You won’t have to keep swallowing painkillers if the source of the problem is fixed!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com