Signs You May Need Dental Bite Adjustment

How your teeth fit together or “occlude” is important in dentistry and for your oral health.  Occlusion is how your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite and chew. 

Signs of malocclusion, or an improper bite, include 

  • excessive tooth wear, 
  • fractured teeth, 
  • tooth loss, 
  • tooth sensitivity, 
  • headaches, 
  • and jaw pain.  

Many people are born with an improper bite (overbite or underbite) which over the years will wear down and fracture their teeth.  But you can also experience improper bite if you receive a filling or crown and it is left a little too “high”. After having a filling or a crown placed, you might remember the dentist placing a piece of carbon paper in your mouth and asking you to bite down. Then you might have heard the dentist ask you if your bite feels “high.” The reason the doctor asks this question is that, if left untreated, a “high” bite can cause issues. 

While in the dental chair, if you are numb, it is sometimes hard to identify your proper bite.  In these cases, after you return home and the numbness wears off, you may notice that when you bite down one side of your mouth will touch prior to the other side of your mouth.  This is an uneven bite, or malocclusion, which could have side effects including pain, headaches, or tooth sensitivity.

Dr. Stephen Spelman

Why Bite Adjustment Is Important? 

A side-effect of a “high” bite is symptomatic apical periodontitis or acute apical periodontitis. What these terms mean is if you have a filling or crown that is too high, that tooth gets more pressure when biting down causing the ligament around the tooth to become very tender.  Just as other parts of our body get tender when put under stress, so do our teeth. The reason is that our body sends an extra amount of blood to help heal the area which causes redness, inflammation, and pain.

Correcting the Problem With “Bite Adjustment”

If you have recently been to your dentist and received a filling or a crown and you are experiencing pain or tenderness around the tooth that was worked on,  you should call your dentist and schedule an appointment to have your bite adjusted.  The process of testing the bite and adjusting it usually only takes a few minutes and does not require any anesthetic.  Normally the reason for the bite not being right the first time is because the area was numb making it difficult for you to know if the bite felt normal.  After the dentist has adjusted the filling, the periodontal ligament will need a little time to heal from the stress that was placed upon it.  If the pain does not go away do not be shy to call your dentist again as sometimes more than just one adjustment may be needed.

If your bite is misaligned because of your jaws, a dentist can fix that too. For instance, to correct an underbite, small rubber bands can be attached to braces brackets or alternatives to braces Invisalign attachments toward the front of the bottom teeth and the back of the top teeth to slowly move the bottom jaw back into alignment.

If you have been living with an improper bite due to heredity, and have been experiencing tooth sensitivity, sore gums, headaches, neck and jaw pain, excessive tooth fracturing, or tooth loss you may need to have your bite adjusted.  This can be done in a variety of ways depending on each individual situation.  Dr. Stephen Spelman corrects improper bites using Invisalign to reposition the teeth and/or Cerec crowns, veneers, and composite bonding to restore the teeth.  The sooner your bite is corrected the longer your teeth will last!

If you’re noticing any irregularities when you bite down or general discomfort, please contact us and get your jaw assessed today.