If you have a strong bite where you may grind or clench your teeth, excessive pressures may cause bone loss or dental implant failure.
I have prepared some important information for you to consider with dental implants and bite problems.
What is Grinding and Clenching?
Grinding occurs when your muscles of the face move your lower jaw in a horizontal direction such as side to side and forwards and backwards. Clenching is when your muscles close your lower jaw to have continual force applied in a vertical direction.
Bone cells move on a daily basis. The bones of your mouth hold your teeth in place. When the bone cells move, the teeth may also move into a new position. This change may be evident by your bite feeling off.
When your bite feels off, your facial muscles move erradically and cause destruction of your mouth. Notify us immediately if you detect these changes, for it may prevent premature fracture and damage to your teeth.
How Do We Measure the Bite?
We use a 200 micron paper (thin) to scientifically measure is the bite is balanced or not. Areas where your bite is heavy or inaccurate, we may elect to adjust those tooth surfaces to make the bite more balanced.
Why is it Dangerous to Your Mouth?
Occlusal, or bite, discrepancies may contribute towards chipped teeth, cracked tooth or even tooth loss. You may start to feel bone pain, joint pain, ringing ears, or headaches.
What can be done to Prevent these Muscular Stresses?
Ice and Stretch Exercises:
Can be used to alleviate some muscular stress in the muscles of the face that contribute to grinding and clenching your teeth. Muscles of the face can develop something called a trigger point (or Charlie Horse). This is a continual spasm of muscles of the face. We can temporarily break the pattern to allow for balance and peace in the facial muscles.
General Directions for Ice and Stretch Facial Exercises
Ice both sides of your face for 5-10 minutes to cool the area appropriately. These exercises should not hurt. If you do experience discomfort, use less pressure, or stop, or call our office for additional guidance. Use light pressure in all movements as noted below.
- Resist opening. Gently grab you chin and resist opening 10 times.
- Resist closing. Open about half way and resist closing 10 times.
- Resist moving to the right. Open about half way and resist moving to th right 10 times.
- Resist moving to the left. Open about half way and resist moving to the left 10 times.
When completed go to sleep and rest comfortably throughout the night.
What Else can be done to Correct Bite Problems?
- For simple cases, you may need a bite adjustment. This can be accomplished in about 30 minutes time.
- For more severe cases, you may need new fillings, crowns or bridges to correct more severe bite issues.
- Fabricate a bite guard to alleviate the pressures to the teeth and gums.
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Be well and healthy!
Dr. Joe Kravitz, DDS, MS
Dentist, Prosthodontist, Author, Researcher
Rockville, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC