Until you’re diagnosed with a bad bite (overbite, underbite, crossbite), you may not think about the complexity of your chewing system.
Many people brush their teeth because they want fresh breath and a bright, white smile, but the main function of your teeth and jaw is to initiate the digestion process.
A bad bite is a result of the teeth, jawbone, jaw muscles and joints not working together properly. You may not have any symptoms at all, but on the other hand, you could have severe pain in your teeth, jawbone, muscles, joints or nerves.
Some key signs of a malocclusion may show up in various regions of the mouth.
Tooth Pain or Bone Loss
Over time, a bad bite takes a toll on your teeth. They may chip or crack, and the enamel on the chewing surface might wear down. You might be extremely sensitive to either hot or cold foods or drinks. You also might feel a shooting pain in one or more teeth when you bite down.
The bones that support your teeth also will feel the effects of this condition. The gums may begin to pull away from the teeth, making them feel loose or out of place.
The pain you feel might make you adjust how you chew or swallow. Inadequate function in the first stage of digestion could lead to more complex health problems. Inefficient chewing can result in a decreased ability to absorb nutrients.
Muscle, Nerve or Joint Issues
Are you constantly suffering from headaches or struggling with muscle spasms that start in your jaw and radiate down your spine? Both muscle and nerve issues can affect your entire upper body, leaving you in debilitating pain.
This type of pain could be brought on by opening or closing your jaw. If your jaw locks or you hear a popping sound when you chew or talk, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and you should see your dentist right away for a diagnosis.
A bad bite also can affect your appearance. Your lips may thin out and your smile could droop. This could lead to premature wrinkling around your mouth and on your cheeks and chin.
What Can Your Dentist Do?
If you have any of the symptoms of a bad bite, it is worth scheduling an appointment with your family dentist to explore the issues in-depth. Many treatment options are available, including crown or denture placement, or surgery for more extreme cases.
Talk to the Oak Hills Dentistry team if you suspect you have a bad bite ― you’ll get the high-quality treatment you and your smile deserve.