TMJ/TMD Diagnosis: Bite Study
The dentist and lab work together to plan an appropriate treatment that will not only bring relief to the immediate problem but also prevent further damage to the joint.
Bite Balancing is an adjustment to how your teeth fit together. This adjustment is typically performed using dental handpieces with polishing tips on them. The goal is to allow your teeth to fit well together without any undue forces on any of the teeth.
There are two important aspects to your bite; your habit bite and centric bite.
Your habit bite is where you normally fit all your teeth together, like two gears fitting tightly. In order to achieve this bite, your jaw may need to slide to the right or left, or possibly a bit forward. Your centric bite is different. When your jaw is in its "home base" position, where it swings most easily, your teeth may or may not fit tightly. If it is possible to make your habit bite the same as your centric bite, we can prevent a great deal of discomfort and tooth wear.
The process of Bite Balancing is fairly simple. The dentist will take charge of moving your jaw for you, slipping it into the centric position and allowing it to swing easily. He or she will then tap your teeth together for you. Often, you will feel a particular area which seems higher than elsewhere. This is where the dentist will begin the adjustment. Sometimes, if your muscles are so used to moving your jaw in a particular direction, the jaw muscles will attempt to fight the dentist's efforts. Instead of fighting back, we simply allow you to sit in the chair with your eyes closed and your teeth slightly separated for a time. This allows the muscles to relax.
In addition to bite balancing, or as an alternative, your dentist may prescribe the use of a bite altering appliance or splint.