Teeth are meant to touch and chew against one another, and to fit like very well designed gears. When teeth don’t fit ideally, and one or more teeth touch harder than another, there are significant long-term consequences. The reason for adjusting the bite is to avoid the continued process of damage and destruction that will occur if the conditions are left alone.

teeth touching too hard

teeth touching too hard

Many people clench and/or grind their teeth. This is very common, and usually occurs with increased frequency and intensity during times of stress. Clenching and grinding of teeth although common, usually does NOT occur if teeth fit well. It is also true that even if someone does not detect that they are clenching or grinding their teeth they still can have destructive forces on them. Bite guards (often also called night guards) have long been used to treat clenching and grinding, and they can be useful if symptoms persist even after teeth have been accurately reshaped.

[The bite guard of choice that I recommend and have used since 2000 is an NTI bite guard.]

When the jaws close and teeth touch together, the jaws act as hinges. The teeth should come together evenly, at the same time, with evenly distributed force, without any tooth or teeth touching before another. When teeth don’t touch evenly, this puts stress on the teeth, supporting bone, jaw joints and muscles.

gum and bone receding

gum and bone receding

If teeth are substantially out of position, then orthodontics (braces, retainers, etc.) are indicated. If other symptoms are present, such as muscle or jaw joint problems, other treatments may be indicated. When teeth are fairly well aligned, and still not touching perfectly, then reshaping them to fit more gently is indicated. The process of reshap