Dental Occlusion

Some of the content of this article you may find hard to believe. You may think that we have become slightly disengaged from reality. But this article is purely based on the latest medical advances and some of the most technologically advanced treatments available.

Did you know that back pain can be caused by the way your teeth align?

No?

Not surprising at all, because not many of us usually think the two are linked. Nowadays there is a growing understanding that the issues with your teeth can affect a wide range of pains – from back ache to earache, to pain in the face, neck and shoulders.

And all this time you only thought that the problem your teeth could cause was just a toothache!

So how exactly can your teeth cause back pain?

Doctors and dentists now believe that many of these aches and pains are caused by the way your teeth bite together – a technical dentist term known as your dental occlusion. If your occlusion is misaligned, it can put extra pressure on your jawbone. This is the aspect that doctors are now beginning to understand in much greater detail. The jaw is a very complex part of the body. It has an astonishingly complicated network of muscles and tendons, which you use every single day to talk, chew, sing, yawn, cough and show a whole range of diverse facial expressions. As you can imagine therefore, with such a complex and complicated part of the body, which we use daily and is put under a whole variety of different stresses and strains, the slightest misalignment can cause any number of different issues.

Using the latest diagnostic techniques, doctors are now much better equipped to explore how misaligned teeth or malocclusions increase additional stresses onto other parts of the body.

 

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So the question now is how do I know that if I am at risk?

If you grind your teeth at night, find that your teeth are becoming very worn and short or you suffer from sore jaws in the mornings – these may be indications that you have a misalignment. Alternatively, receding gums ,cracked and split teeth or front teeth that do not meet also indicate that pressures of malocclusion may be present.

If you have some pain that you believe may be caused by a malocclusion, the first step in your diagnosis should be a conversation with your dentist or GP. There are a number of treatment available to misaligned jaws.. Your dentist can take X-rays or use vibration analysis techniques to investigate any issues with how your teeth and jaw are aligned.

Once malocclusion has been diagnosed, there are a number of different treatments that your dentist could recommend. Usually, the type of treatment recommended will depend where exactly in your bite the stresses are mounting and also how badly damaged or worn your teeth are.
Some people may only need the edges of their teeth shaped to provide a better fit. This technique is called occlusal equilibration and is usually suitable for minor cases where just a few teeth are causing relatively minor issues.

If the issue is more acute, your dentist can take measures to restore your bite. This restoration work will depend on the current condition of the teeth, so each case will be entirely customized to suite each patient’s requirement. Crowns, bridges and implants are often used to repair damaged teeth.

Finally, if the teeth are in good condition but the bite structure is very poor, the patient may require some orthodontic work. This involves long-term treatment, usually using braces, to move the teeth into the correct position. Over recent years, orthodontic treatments have become very advanced, much faster and much more aesthetic.