Occlusal disease (malocclusion) occurs when your bite and teeth are misaligned, causing unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, dental damage, and bone loss. Unfortunately, malocclusion can often be overlooked or wished away as part of the natural aging process. If left untreated, occlusal disease can cause permanent damage to your teeth, gums, jaw muscles, and bone structure.
Dr. Daniel Bearley in Charlottesville, Virginia, doesn’t take chances with your dental health. When you come to Bearley Dental during routine exams, we always check your occlusion to ensure your bite and teeth are in line, as nature intended. If not, we offer several malocclusion treatment options, depending on the nature and cause.
Whenever your teeth come into contact when eating or chewing, you generate a bite force of up to 200 pounds! If your bite isn’t properly aligned, the biting pressure won’t be equally distributed among your teeth. Since some of your teeth bear more pressure than others, they begin to wear out and tilt.
Poor alignment doesn’t just affect your teeth —it also affects your jawbone and jaw muscles, resulting in numerous symptoms, including:
Since the occlusal disease is often missed, our office constantly educates our patients about this disease and the tell-tale symptoms to watch out for to seek early treatment. By learning how your bite affects your overall health, you can avoid the pitfalls of having prolonged untreated malocclusion and fix problems before they become significant.
Treating malocclusion depends on the extent of disease progression. Dr. Bearley can treat mild occlusal disease with a dental splint. An oral device provides a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth to minimize bruxism-induced pressure. Furthermore, this appliance allows your jaw muscles to relax for restorative benefits to kick in.
Complex malocclusion cases may need more than oral appliance therapy. Where your teeth are worn down or lost, you may need restorative treatments like dental crowns, implants, and bridges to restore dental health. Additionally, teeth and bite misalignment may need orthodontic treatments to restore your healthy occlusion.