Do you wake in the morning with sore jaws?
When you bite, do you feel like your jaw is lopsided? If so, then you may need an occlusal adjustment.
An occlusal adjustment corrects the alignment of the bite, that is a result of loose, shifting, crowded, or missing teeth. The result is an evenly distributed bite that eliminates irregular pressure on one side of the mouth. Once your bite is adjusted, your teeth will meet properly. Occlusal adjustment causes minimal pain, and only a little discomfort. The adjustment is made by using a dental drill using a fine filing stone. In addition to the actual adjustment, removal mouthpieces are also utilized, to protect the tooth surface, and relax the jaw muscles once the adjustment is completed.
Who is a good candidate for an occlusal adjustment? Patients with loose or shifting teeth will many times not meet correctly. Patients, who grind or clench their teeth, will have an uneven bite and pressure distribution in the mouth, which is also corrected through an occlusal adjustment. Sometimes tooth sensitivity can be corrected through an occlusal adjustment as the treatment reduces pressure on the sensitive tooth.
New technology allows dentists to accurately identify the areas, which need adjustments. The dentist utilizes a computer scan of the mouth, which records hundreds of bite registrations per minute, and notes even the slightest irregularity. That data allows the dentist to make only the adjustments that are absolutely necessary, which ensures a well aligned bite and minimal tooth wear.
Occlusal guards, also called night guards, are removable appliances made of a clear acrylic. They are designed to fit over the biting surfaces of the upper teeth. They are generally worn at night when you are unaware of grinding and clenching.
The main functions of an occlusal guard are to evenly distribute the bite forces of teeth due to stress that can lead to wear or cracking of teeth. It also protects the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) from excessive bite stress that can cause dysfunction, pain, and damage to the jaw.
So if you ever wake up with pain in your jaw or headache, you may benefit from an occlusal guard.