Good oral health is more than just a full set of straight, white teeth and healthy gums. How your mouth functions is just as important as how it looks. Poor alignment of teeth and jaws, known as occlusal misalignment, can lead to grinding and chipping of teeth and severe pain in the jaw, neck, and shoulders.
Importance of Bite Therapy
Dr. Craig Kohler provides comprehensive bite therapy, attracting patients to his Wilmette practice from throughout the Chicago area and beyond. Using a full range of dental treatments, Dr. Kohler can create a completely healthy mouth. If you suffer from misalignment of the jaws, or teeth that don’t line up correctly, he will use bite therapy to correct these problems first, giving you a good foundation for superior cosmetic dentistry.
Doing nothing about occlusal misalignment can lead to a number of problems. If the misalignment affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that joins the upper and lower jawbones, muscle tension created in the TMJ can cause pain in the face, neck, and shoulders, as well as severe headaches. Patients who grind their teeth or clench their jaws can chip and crack teeth and often suffer from sore jaw muscles.
Tekscan T-Scan® Improves Bite Therapy Measurement
Bite therapy at our Wilmette offices begins with accurate measurement of the way upper and lower teeth meet, a valuable clue to the causes of occlusal misalignment. Most dentists still rely on simple methods such as articulation paper, small squares of thin plastic coated with a non-toxic material that is scratched off to show contact when the patient bites down. This and other methods, such as wax or paste, tell the dentist how upper and lower teeth meet, but very little else. A simple pneumatic bite gauge may be used to measure the pressure at just one point of contact. These methods provide incomplete data that leaves much to individual interpretation during diagnosis.
To get the whole picture, Dr. Kohler uses the Tekscan T-Scan® occlusal analysis system to measure bite force throughout the mouth. A device that fits comfortably in the mouth simultaneously measures the force of the bite on each tooth, top and bottom, and transmits the data to an easy-to-read computer display. This allows Dr. Kohler to understand the complex relationship of all areas of the mouth in occlusal misalignment. The information is invaluable in planning comprehensive bite therapy treatment for our Chicago-area patients.
Bite Therapy Treatment Options
For some of our Chicago-area patients, the first step in bite therapy is dealing with jaw clenching. This is achieved with mouth guards, plastic devices that cover the upper and lower teeth to protect them against grinding, and may also be used to help adjust jaw alignment. The majority of patients need only use mouth guards while they sleep, to prevent involuntary clenching. Some patients may require a variation known as mouth splints for use during the day.
If occlusal misalignment is due to tooth problems, Dr. Kohler will repair or replace damaged or missing teeth, using dental crowns or implants. Cosmetic damage may also be treated with porcelain veneers.
If crooked teeth are part of the problem, Dr. Kohler will provide orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign®, the comfortable, nearly invisible alternative to old-fashioned metal braces.
Using this multi-faceted approach to bite therapy, Dr. Kohler can give you a healthy mouth, free of occlusal discomfort, and a beautiful smile.
Contact our cosmetic dentistry center in Wilmette today for a comprehensive bite therapy solution from Dr. Craig Kohler.