Proper Bite Alignment Necessary To Support Oral Health & Implant Success

Posted on Mar 27, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, I specialize in treating all stages of gum disease and perform a number of procedures that involve the gum tissues (including crown lengthening and repair of ‘gummy smiles‘). My specialty also includes advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants.

So, why would I be so concerned with bite alignment?

In my profession, I work with a number of general dentists and dental specialists. Together, we create a ‘team treatment’ approach designed to fulfill each patient’s unique oral wellness needs. While I do not provide orthodontic realignment services or claim to specialize in that area, I do understand the need for having properly aligned teeth.

I see a lot in an adult’s mouth that isn’t necessarily obvious to the patient, yet has a tremendous impact on overall oral health, especially in their potential to AVOID problems.

First, the position of the teeth is more important than how they come together and create an attractive smile. Teeth that become crowded or crooked tend to form tight angles that make it difficult for a toothbrush to get into.

These nooks can easily become breeding grounds for oral bacteria. The accumulation of oral bacteria can lead to the formation of cavities and the development of gum disease.

Example of gum recession

Also, know that each tooth helps to support neighboring teeth, providing an abutment to keep other teeth in their positions. This is why it is so important to replace a missing tooth.

Without it, the teeth on either side can tilt out of their proper positions. Additionally, the tooth above (or below) can grow longer. These abnormal positions of teeth can contribute to a number of issues.

When a bite is misaligned, gum recession can occur. This is due to the unnatural pull of the gums around the base of teeth. Without this tight seal, oral bacteria can more easily penetrate below the surface of the gum line. Bacteria that reaches tender tooth root segments can create decay and periodontal disease.

Another problem with improperly aligned teeth has to do with dental implants. A ‘bad bite’ can lead to problems that include night-time clenching and grinding. A dental implant is placed in the jaw bone, the same sturdy foundation as natural tooth roots enjoy. However, a newly placed implant can be put at dire risk when surrounding teeth are interfering.

A dental implant is placed in the jaw bone, which serves as a replacement tooth root. During the first 3 – 6 months, the bone is growing around it, securing it in place. It is during this time that an implant is most vulnerable to the forces that clenching and grinding exert.

However, all teeth are at risk when clenching and grinding occur – not just those attached to an implanted post. ‘Bruxing’ (as it is known) can lead to chipped, broken and fractured teeth. It can also transfer stress and strain to facial, neck and shoulder muscles.

A number of people who have frequent headaches and migraines are surprised to discover the originating source is actually their TMJ (jaw joints). This typically occurs when a bite is misaligned. This can lead to a domino effect that reaches these joints. As a matter of fact, ear ringing, dizziness and difficulty opening the mouth fully are common symptoms of TMJ disorders that people are often unaware.

So, as a periodontist, I see how bite misalignment can cause the gums to recede and also how the potential for implant success can be affected. Simply, a correct bite is necessary for good oral health. Having it can help you avoid a long list of problems.

If gum tenderness or bleeding gums seems to occur in the area of crooked teeth, then let’s evaluate the issue. Or, if you’re considering dental implants but suspect you clench or grind your teeth, we’ll discuss ways you can achieve your smile goals and protect your investment.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation.


Recent Posts