If the tops of your teeth are worn or you’ve noticed they are shorter than they used to be, you’re likely grinding your teeth at night. Night-time clenching and grinding are common symptoms of bite misalignment.
The temporo-mandibular jaw joint is in front of your ears on each side of the head. This connects the upper jaw to the lower jaw. When upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, it places strain on head muscles and jaw joints.
Instead of your jaw relaxing at night while you sleep, misalignment can cause you to ‘seek out’ a proper balance of upper and lower teeth. Grinding back and forth is a common reaction in addition to clenching. Those who clench often wake up with headaches or sore jaw joints.
Grinding and clenching also disrupts restful sleep. The force of clenching can be strong enough to crack a walnut. Imagine the effort this causes to head muscles and jaw joints at night when your body should be at a resting phase.
Bite misalignment is often easy to adjust. In many cases, minor recontouring of certain teeth can help. Other cases may require wearing an oral appliance at night to hold the jaw in proper position. Orthodontics is occasionally required to reposition teeth, particularly with severe crowding or when there is an ‘open bite.’
Think of your bite as you would your legs. Having one leg shorter than the other may not be noticeable or uncomfortable. Yet, the hips, spine and even shoulders must adjust to rebalance the disparity. Your bite is similar, requiring proper alignment so other health problems can be avoided.
For a free consultation, Dr. Barbat is available as well as our Orthodontic Specialist, Dr. Jerry Wesley. Both are happy to answer your questions and discuss treatment options with no obligation. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.