The jaw joints, muscles attached to the jaws and skull which control opening and closing of the jaws, and our teeth make up an incredible ‘machine’, that has so many functions – eating, talking, and swallowing amongst others. The way our teeth meet affects the position of our jaws in their joint sockets at the base of the skull. Whilst this position is seldom ideal, most of us adapt to minor discrepancies with few problems. In others, discrepancies in the bite can cause problems to either the joints, muscles, teeth or a combination of any of these.
Signs and symptoms of breakdown in this intricate system may present as:
- Sensitivity or pain in a tooth/teeth
- Pain in or around the joint
- Clicking in the joint(s)
- Headaches (even severe as migraines), neckaches and even shoulder pains
- Loose teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Bone loss around teeth
- Wear on teeth
- Tired jaws
- Interference with sleep patterns
Occlusal treatment involving comprehensive examination and bite analysis, with possible splint therapy and occlusal adjustments (adjustments made to the ‘bite’ called equilibration) can often solve these problems.
A very significant number of dental problems are caused by functional problems – breakdowns in this intricate ‘chewing’ machine. This is also a very good reason that wearing braces should not be just about giving a patient ‘straight’ teeth, but also about putting the parts of the machine into a harmonious position with the other parts, to prevent any of the above mentioned problems developing.
For more information on this treatments, please visit the British Society Of Occlusal Studies website.