Regaining jaw joint stability and harmony
If you have experienced pain, wear, excessive breakdown of your teeth – or all of the above, you may need to have your bite corrected. There is a variety of different problems that could be the case such as TMJ or grinding while sleeping. Before we consider making any changes to your bite, we spend a lot of time looking at how your teeth fit together, how your jaw joints function, and how your head and neck muscles work. We want to be absolutely sure of the cause of your dental problems before we make permanent changes to your teeth.
Bite therapy begins by stabilizing the jaw joints with an orthotic, an acrylic appliance that you wear on your lower teeth. The orthotic basically overrides your bite and reduces the stress on your teeth, jaw joints, muscles and bone, which also reduces head and neck pain and protects the teeth.
An orthotic should not be confused with a simple night guard that only provides plastic to grind on; an orthotic device is custom-made to your bite; we adjust it as your muscles respond to the therapy.
After your bite has stabilized on the orthotic, we can see the “shift” from where the teeth meet without the orthotic to where they meet with the orthotic. Because we want you to function comfortably without the orthotic, we alleviate the bite shift by balancing the bite in a process called equilibration. Equilibration balances your bite by gently reshaping the tops of the teeth. Occasionally, we may need to restore some of your teeth so you can have optimal function. This is typically identified earlier in the process when we’re analyzing the study models of your teeth.
After your bite is thoroughly balanced, you wear the orthotic while sleeping to prevent damage from teeth grinding (bruxing). Over time, we usually make occasional adjustments of both the teeth and the orthotic to keep you functioning and comfortable.