What Is An Occlusal Adjustment?
Some patients suffer from misalignments in their teeth and jaws that keep their teeth from coming together in a proper manner. The problems can develop as natural teeth mature and develop, they can be the result of an accident, or they can accumulate through the normal wear on teeth. Sometimes dental work (filling, crowns, bridges, extractions) can cause these misalignments.
However these interferences come, they can keep a jaw from coming to its natural anatomically correct position. These interferences need to be adjusted in order to prevent more serious problems.
What Problems Can Occlusal Misalignment Cause?
When the jaw cannot close properly, several dental issues can develop. A jaw that is never closed properly will cause tension to the muscles of the jaw and neck so that they never completely relax. This tension may produce neck pains and headaches. As the jaw seeks to relax, it may cause some to grind their teeth. This grinding may lead to the loss of bone structure, the loss of teeth, and receding gum lines. Some patients may also develop issues in the joint between the jaw and skull, known as the temporomandibular joint.
How Do I Know If I Have These Misalignments?
Your dentist is trained to spot the symptoms of a misaligned jaw. These can include a jaw that does not open evenly on both sides, a clicking sound as your jaw opens, worn tooth enamel, and fractured teeth. A patient’s complaint about chronic teeth grinding, headaches, or neck aches may also tip off your dentist that your jaw is misaligned.
How Can This Misalignment Be Adjusted?
Your dentist will ask you to bite on a thin piece of mylar paper in order to see where your teeth are making contact. This will help him to diagnose where the misalignment is. Using this information, the doctor will smooth the teeth where misaligned contact is being made. He will do this until your jaw is able to close to its proper position.