We often talk about “the bite,” and its role in neuromuscular health, cosmetic dentistry, and other procedures we perform here at the Center for Advanced Dentistry. But what actually is the bite? There are several different ways to look at what the bite is, each emphasizing different aspects of the complex neuromuscular system
The Bite Is Occlusion
One of the most simple aspects of your bite is how your teeth fit together, what dentists call occlusion. Ideally, your teeth shouldn’t contact most of the time, but when they do contact, they should have certain relationships.
When closing your teeth, there should be certain types of contacts. These should be light, guiding contacts that help your teeth sense their mutual positions. Following these initial contacts, your teeth will move down into what is known as the intercuspal position, if you’re closing your teeth fully.
The intercuspal position is the one where your teeth are as deeply closed together as possible. At this point, your teeth should feel a comfortable balance of forces among all the teeth that are touching. Ideally, the back teeth should be holding most of the force, with the front teeth not supporting much at all. We can verify the bite forces using out T-Scan tool.
The Tekscan is often used in TMJ treatment!
The Bite Is Motion
Of course, your jaw is not a static system, and just looking at the way that teeth fit together when static analysis doesn’t give us all the information we need. Instead, we have to look at how the jaw moves when performing various tasks. This jaw motion is based on a combination of factors, such as the contact your teeth make with each other, the structure of your jaw and muscles, and chewing habits you have developed, possibly in response to past or current dental health problems.
We can track your bite during movement using our BioPak system, which includes a computerized jaw motion tracker. This allows us to view the motions of your jaw in three dimensions and allow us to see whether the motions are healthy or if they indicate a potential dysfunction.
The Bite Is Muscles and Joints
When we’re referring to your bite, we are also referring to the relationship between various elements of the bite system. This includes your muscles and your jaw joints as well as your teeth.
When the jaw joints are seated in a closed position, your muscles should be relaxed, and not pulling or straining against the teeth and jaw joints.
We can verify the relaxed or tense state of your muscles using the BioPak, which can measure muscle activity. When necessary, we can confirm the resting position of the temporomandibular joints with MRI or CT scans.
Maintain a Healthy Bite
Because of the numerous uncomfortable and damaging symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) and other bite-related conditions, it’s important to work with a dentist that understands the nature of your bite and how to maintain it.
If you are looking for a neuromuscular dentist in Nashville, TN, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Dr. Kent White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.