Is Bite Correction Therapy For You?

If your smile is poorly aligned, fix it with a bite correction therapy. If you can see that your teeth don't match up or fit together snugly, it's likely your bite isn't properly aligned. When that happens, it can distort the lower third of your facial shape. Also, sometimes it's necessary to correct the way your teeth fit together before the dentist can consider other cosmetic procedures such as crowns or veneers. Cases can vary from TMJ issues to tooth grinding and wear. “In typical cases, what we do first is an orthotic. It's almost like a retainer that a patient will wear for anywhere from three months to six months to make sure that they're comfortable in a new position,” says Las Vegas cosmetic dentist Joseph Willardsen, DDS.

Time Required: Varies greatly from a few weeks to a year depending on bite and/or TMJ type issues. “One of the biggest mistakes some dentists make is that they jump right in and start putting porcelain work on the teeth without doing their homework first,” Dr. Willardsen says.

Why it's good: If you have bite issues, you will continue to wear down your teeth or suffer from TMJ disorder symptoms such as headaches and facial muscle spasms without some type of orthodontics, TMJ therapy (i.e. mouth guards, splints, reshaping biting surfaces, etc-), or, in severe cases, orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaw. Correcting a bad bite can be life changing in terms of comfort and facial harmony.

What else you need to know: This is generally used in conjunction with other treatments. Bite correction may relieve pain, eliminate tooth grinding and reposition teeth for an ideal fit and better facial shape, but you may want further cosmetic enhancements to achieve your ideal smile.

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  • H. Mikel Hopkins
    Posted on

    As someone who suffers from TMD issues, I truly appreciate the spotlight you've placed on this subject. I would add, that if TMJ/TMD issues are not addressed, if the poor alignment is not corrected and cosmetic dentistry is performed regardless, the bite problems will continue to break down and worsen. This will not only negatively effect the cosmetic restorations, but will also cause the lower third of the face to lose fullness and dimension. This will lead to frown lines appearing around the mouth, and small fissure lines around the lips. Of course, discomfort is always a factor when dealing with TMD patients. Frequent headaches, neck and shoulder pain are constant irritants. Orthotic therapy to correct the jaw positioning over time can alleviate discomfort, as well as yield a pleasing cosmetic result.

  • Bob Perkins
    Posted on

    I agree with Dr. Willardsen on the benefits of evaluating and treating dysfunctional bite relationships. I would also add that enhancing the profile through lower, and sometimes, upper and lower jaw advancement can be a good treatment even if no TMD symptoms are present. People do all sorts of things to cover up a receded chin: grow a beard, get chin implants, etc., these are just cosmetic "band-aids" for a problem. Advancing the jaws, without surgery, can not only dramatically improve facial esthetics, but it will create more tongue space which can oftentimes relieve snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. It can be life changing in many ways. Too often orthodontics is retractive in philosophy, meaning that the face is brought back in the mouth in an attempt to "line up" the jaws or to close spaces after tooth extracton. This is never a good option. I will say that again...this is never a good thing to do. There is no good consequence to bringing the face back (headgear, etc.). This only causes pushed in faces, increased chances for inadequate tongue space (and sleep apnea), and in the opinion of many, an increased likelihood of TMD problems due to the lower jaw being too compressed in the joint. Yes, "bite correction therapy" is a very poorly utilized and poorly understood modality in my strong opinion. If you feel like you are unhappy with your profile or with the esthetics or function of your bite, then contact a dentist who is adequately trained in these procedures and get an evaluation.

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    I wonder if my headaches are related to my bite. Interesting.

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