Bite Adjustment

Bite Adjustment

What is bite adjustment?

Bite adjustment is similar to a night guard in that it is an attempt to give a person a bite which inherently reduces force.  Just as a night guard reduces force on teeth by positioning the lower jaw properly when biting and also by guiding the lower jaw in movement, a bite adjustment accomplishes the same thing but in a permanent way, not being removable like a night guard.  It involves precise and minimal adjusting away of the outer coating of the tooth (enamel) to re-shape the tooth to idealize the bite.

Why would I need a bite adjustment?

The need for a bite adjustment is generally the same as a night guard.  It is very common for people to grind or clench their teeth.  At best this leads to worn, flat and unattractive teeth.  At worst it can cause quite a number of symptoms affecting teeth, muscles and the jaw joint (TMJ).  Teeth can become very sensitive to cold and hot, they can become loose or even break into pieces.  The force of grinding is generated by the chewing muscles and they can become very sore and tired from this effort.  Sometimes there is limited ability to open because the muscles are so tight making it difficult to eat.  Also, the muscle tenderness or spasm can lead to headaches and neck aches.  The last area affected by the force of grinding is the jaw joint or TMJ (temporomandibular joint).  Because of this constant buffeting of grinding and clenching, the TMJ can become very sore, can start popping or clicking and can even stop opening or more alarming, closing.  These symptoms can all be very difficult to cope with.  A bite adjustment is one way of treating these problems, both to remedy them and hopefully to prevent them from occurring or increasing in severity.

What are the benefits of a bite adjustment?

There are many benefits to an occlusal adjustment.  These are similar to a night guard but are 24/7 as opposed to when you wear it.  A properly done bite adjustment will not only protect the teeth but will decrease the force on the muscles and joint buy guiding the bite position and also the movement of the lower jaw (mandible).  If this is done properly the total force generated by the muscles of chewing will be decreased by 60% leading to comfortable relaxed muscles, decreased headaches, move freedom in jaw movements and of course, more comfortable, protected teeth.

More information about bite adjustment:

Because of the complexity of the body, many of the symptoms of grinding can affect more than teeth.  This can include the muscles, jaw joint, neck and upper back.  Dealing with the type of complexity requires a thorough examination to determine the cause of these symptoms.  Sometimes we refer patients for physical therapy as an additional way of treating the symptoms of grinding.  Often a night guard is prescribed as an initial way of treating these problems.  After proving successful, a bite adjustment is often the next step.  This makes for an “around the clock” control of biting and clenching forces.             

For more information, call our office and we will be glad to discuss grinding and how a bite adjustment can help you.

650 Brighton Ave. Portland, ME 04102