27184 Ortega Highway, Suite 208
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
32282 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Rohde, Christian C D.D.S.
208 Vintage Way # K21
Novato, CA, 94945-5016
Ellis, Mark L D.D.S.
805 W La Veta Ave # 204
Orange, CA, 92868-3929
Dunlap, Craig A D.D.S.
1491 Cedarwood Ln # B
Pleasanton, CA, 94566-6126
Shinkwin, Gregory E D.D.S.
1130 Coffee Rd # 4
Modesto, CA, 95355-4228
It is ironic that one of the most common dental disorders is also the most neglected, malocclusion, bad bite. The way the teeth fit together when the jaw closes and chews is of profound importance to the long-term health of your teeth.
If surfaces of the teeth interfere with how the jaw moves, the teeth can be worked loose or the enamel can be worn away this is know an malocclusion, bad bite. The muscles that move the jaw are very powerful and can do major damage to the teeth when the biting surfaces don't fit together properly.
The problem can be compounded if teeth interfere with functional muscle patterns, the jaw muscles will attempt to "erase" the part of the tooth that interferes by grinding against it all the more. This can lead to even more severe wear or it may crack off a cusp or split the tooth. Or it may loosen the tooth or cause it to move out of alignment. The excessive muscle activity often results in pain in the muscle itself. All of the jaw muscles can become sore including the temporal muscles that are the source of many so-called tension headaches.
Some excessive muscle activity may be caused by emotional stress. But with some special exceptions, damage done by stress induced grinding and clenching can be minimized to a manageable level by equalizing the biting surfaces that are in conflict with jaw movements.
The power of the jaw muscles may surprise you. Some people can exert over 900 pounds of compressive force with their jaw muscles so you can imagine how much damage such force can do when you close into a single tooth and then work it from side to side. The effect is very much like working a fence post loose as the bone around the root breaks down. If you can put your finger on any tooth in your mouth, and then squeezing your teeth together causes the tooth to move, you can be sure that it is just a matter of time before there will be a problem with that tooth.
Sometimes in malocclusion, bad bite the muscle forces that work the tooth sideways stimulates bone around the root to build up and become stronger. When that happens, the tooth actually bends in its socket and this creates a microscopic chipping away close to the gum line to form a deep groove in the tooth. This is called an abfraction. These deep grooves at the gum line are often mistaken for toothbrush abrasion, but scientists have shown us that the grooves are actually the results of bending of the tooth in its socket. These grooves can lead to much sensitivity in those teeth because the opening into the tooth exposes nerves that can be exquisitely sensitive. Correction of the bite to remove excessive lateral forces on the teeth in most instances either eliminates the sensitivity completely or reduces it to a much more acceptable level.
Patients should be aware that much confusion surrounds the importance of a harmonious bite, including many misconceptions that have been fostered by flawed research that has failed to properly relate the bite interferences to the position and condition of the temporomandibular joints. Knowledgeable clinicians, however, are very much aware of this relationship and can achieve excellent results in making both your teeth and your jaw muscles more comfortable by bringing your whole biting into harmony and avoiding malocclusion, bad bite.
By Peter E. Dawson, DDS
Thinking about your baby and prenatal care is normal during pregnancy; however, thinking about your teeth and dental care may not be forefront on your mind. Women need to pay special attention to their teeth and gums especially during pregnancy to avoid the increased risk of dental problems.
Pregnancy brings a change in hormones, especially increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are linked to plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can cause gingivitis and swollen gums that are tender and prone to bleed. Most pregnant women experience gingivitis to some degree, but it doesn't usually surface until the second trimester. If you had gingivitis before becoming pregnant, your condition will likely be aggravated; untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious problem -- periodontal disease. Swollen gums that become irritated can also lead to pregnancy tumors, benign growths that will usually shrink and disappear without treatment. However, if the tumor causes discomfort or interferes with chewing or brushing, the dentist may suggest removing it.
If you experience dental problems causing pain, you can be treated at any time; however, consult your doctor if anesthesia is required or a medication is prescribed to you. Avoid X-rays during pregnancy, unless they are critical to emergency treatment. It is recommended to schedule elective procedures after your baby's birth. While you're expecting, have great expectations for maintaining good oral health. By doing so, you'll keep your beautiful smile and share it with your baby!
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO