South Shore Long Island
Periodontics & Implantology P.C.
Dr. Leslie G. Batnick, D.D.S.
Dr. Lois B. Levine, D.D.S.
Dr. Joo H. Kim, D.D.S.
Diplomates, American Board of Periodontology

Bite Adjustment

The way your teeth come together is known as your bite, or your occlusion. A bite that isn’t properly aligned can cause a number of problems, including:

  • Pain when you chew
  • Erosion of your enamel
  • Tooth mobility (loose teeth)
  • Bone loss around the teeth (which we can detect using an x-ray)
  • Pain or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Over time, these symptoms can erode both the health of your teeth and the quality of your life.

What Causes Malocclusion?

Malocclusion (or a misaligned bite) can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that you were simply born with it. Your family may have a genetic propensity toward overbite, underbite, crossbite, or any of the other variations.

Malocclusion can also develop over time. Certain habits, like sucking your thumb or prolonged bottle use when you were a child, may contribute. Certain diseases, like tumors of the mouth of jaw could lead to malocclusion. A traumatic injury could change the way your teeth come together as could improperly fitted restorations like crowns or fillings.

One common issue we see is bruxism. This condition, which causes grinding and clenching of the teeth, leads to tooth damage, such as erosion. The erosion throws your bite out of alignment. Malocclusion can also lead to bruxism, however, so sometimes it’s unclear which condition developed first.

Treating Malocclusion

It’s important to treat malocclusion. Malocclusion doesn’t go away on its own, and it can have serious consequences over time.

Some of the treatments we may recommend for malocclusion include:

  • Using crowns, bonding, or other methods to reshape the biting surfaces of the teeth and eliminate areas of excessive pressure where the teeth contact. To accomplish this, we carefully divide bite pressures so that they are even across all your the teeth.
  • Splint therapy using a customized plastic bite guard. This guard keeps the teeth apart to prevent damage from grinding or clenching. It is often worn at night, but can be used during the day as well, if needed.
  • Braces, which help to reposition misaligned teeth or teeth that have drifted.
  • Replacing fillings or other restorations that are old, worn out, or damaged.
  • Reconstructing teeth that are badly worn and damaged.

Which Treatment Is Right for Me?

Your doctor at South Shore Long Island Periodontics & Implantology will review your case and discuss your history to investigate the root cause of your malocclusion. Your treatment needs will vary depending on the cause and the severity of the malocclusion. Your treatment plan may include one of the treatments listed above or it may combine two or more to give you the best result.

Your doctor will discuss their recommendation with you and explain why he or she feels that this plan will best help you meet your goals in addition to what the expected prognosis will be without treatment.