If I Had Only Known
Q: Fifteen years ago, I made a dental appointment with a new dental clinic in my area. After my first appointment, I was given an appointment for an in-depth exam of my bite because the dentist said I showed unusual wear on some of my back teeth. I went through that and then I returned for a consultation. He was very clear and helped me understand that the reason I was wearing my back teeth badly was two-fold as I remember. First, he said was that my upper jaw was slightly larger than my lower jaw and as such I didn’t have a consistent bite. He showed me on a bite apparatus that I had several different bites. Then he took me through it all in my own mouth. He showed me the grind marks I was making on my teeth.
Once I understood that, I asked what do we do? At that point, he said I’ve got something else to show you. He said there is another major challenge—your front teeth don’t meet—which didn’t register with me. Seeing my confusion, he said front teeth and back teeth have very different jobs. Besides cutting, ripping and tearing, front teeth he said guide the whole chewing forces and efficiencies (chewing function). When they don’t do this, individuals can be subject to abnormal wear, breaking teeth, headaches, clicking joints etc.
Over time this will also affect the wear, shape and position of your joints he said so this is very important to resolve. It means that your joints (TMJ’s) will be unstable (slowly but constantly changing shape). When your joints change slightly he said your bite can change dramatically.
When he explained that I would need crowns on my front teeth and work on my back teeth too, I was blown away. I said, I can’t do that. It’s money yes, but it all seems too radical. So, I said let’s fix the back teeth and maybe I can wear a bite guard.
I have tried to live and get by on my solution, but it has been eventful!
Fast forward to 2020. I finally said yes to the plan that treated my bite, my joints and teeth. Immediately and I mean immediately, my headaches were gone, my joints stopped clicking and now my bite doesn’t wander. My neck, face and shoulders feel relaxed and pain free.
It’s one of those things I had to experience to know and feel the benefits. I wished I’d done this years ago---it ‘s a new lease on life.
Comment: We take for granted a very complex and marvelous part of out bodies. This stomatognathic system is comprised of joints, muscles, teeth, tongue, cheeks, special support bone to say nothing of blood vessels, nerves, specialized skin and powerful immune system. Bad things happen when these are out of balance.
Most of the time, there’s an answer….as you’ve discovered.