What’s Occlusion and Should You Worry About it?

You may have heard us talk about your “occlusion” during your visits to our dental office in Boerne. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.

What is Occlusion?

Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including overbite or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.

In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites

There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common.

  • Crossbite
    • Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
    • If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
  • Overbite
    • Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth completely cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
    • If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
  • Underbite
    • Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
    • If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.

If you suspect any potential issues with your bite, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy, pain-free smile that lasts a lifetime.

Are Lip & Cheek Biting Actually Bad for You?

You know the feeling. You’re happily chewing away on your lunch, talking with a coworker when all of a sudden, you hear a crunch. You feel the pain. You realize you’ve just bit your cheek (or lip, or tongue — doesn’t really matter, it all hurts!). This painful accident can be an ongoing problem for many. At our dental office in Boerne, chronic biting of any tissues in the mouth can be concerning. Let’s look at why.

Why is it Bad?

Besides the obvious reason of it hurts, there are a few additional concerns of biting the lips and cheeks. Following a bite, usually a sore appears and lasts a few days. While this isn’t concerning for the occasional nip, if biting is an ongoing problem, sores can become infected. Any infection in the mouth is concerning itself, especially if left untreated.

Why Do We Do it?

Like we’ve previously mentioned, most of the time a bite is accidental and only happens occasionally. If this is the case, there’s probably no reason to be worried. However, when lip or cheek biting becomes a chronic thing, there are a few possible explanations. Most commonly, constant biting is a nervous habit or even done out of boredom, like biting your nails. Other times, there’s an anatomical explanation. If bites are a recurring thing and it’s not because of nervousness, there’s a possibility malocclusion, or a bad bite, is causing the trouble. When the teeth don’t close together neatly, the chance of a cheek or lip getting in between them is high. Additionally, malocclusion can lead to its own problems like headaches, jaw pain, TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), and shifting teeth.  

How To Stop

You don’t have to continue to live with the pain and annoyance of constant biting. Try following the tips below:

  • Know your triggers. If your lip or cheek biting is a result of stress or nerves as opposed to a bad bite, start paying attention to when you’re doing it and work to either avoid those triggers or work to consciously stop yourself when the trigger is unavoidable.
  • Enlist the help of friends. There’s a chance you bite more often than you realize, so ask friends to point out when you’re doing it so you can work to stop it.
  • Visit your dentist. If your biting isn’t habitual and your alignment may be an issue, talk with your dentist in Boerne.

Don’t have a dentist to talk to? Give our Boerne dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help, no matter what your concern may be.

Welcoming patients from Boerne, Fair Oaks, The Dominion.