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The Perils of a Bad Bite

Woman with Mouth GuardNo, we’re not talking about being attacked by a junkyard dog. That’s perilous enough. The bite in question here is your own bite—the way your lower teeth and your upper teeth come together.

A bad bite can be responsible for several woes you might not necessarily connect, like headaches, unsightly teeth and TMJ disorder.

Let’s take TMJ first. That’s short for temporomandibular joint—the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. It’s stressed every day, just like your knee joint. When you eat, your jaw can be going up and down or side to side. In fact, if you put your finger in an ear and open and shut your mouth you can feel it in action.

That’s stressful enough. But if you have a bad bite—if the lower and upper teeth don’t fit properly—teeth can actually cause the jaw to dislocate forward out of its socket in the skull. That, in turn, puts extra stress on the jaw muscles to return it to the right position.

One early warning is an annoying clicking sound when the jaw shuts. Left unattended, this condition wears on the jaw joint, producing more inflammation and more pain. And while chronic headache can have many causes, the extra stress on jaw muscles can certainly be a contributing factor. Subconscious attempts to correct the bite by grinding or clenching the jaw can also result in chipped, worn, unsightly teeth.

While TMJ and a bad bite aren’t exactly synonymous, they are very closely linked. Once a patient is determined to have a bad bite, the appropriate procedure of correcting the bite is begun (possibly with additional cosmetic improvement of damaged teeth) and all three of the perils can be eliminated once and for all.

If you suffer recurring headaches, bothersome clicking when you yawn and find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, do yourself a favor and schedule a dental appointment. You might be surprised to find how easy it is to correct a bite and free you from the pain you may have taught yourself to endure.

If you suffer recurring headaches, bothersome clicking when you yawn and find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, schedule a dental appointment.

About William J. Black, DDS

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the Untied States Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry, and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

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