Stable vs Unstable Chewing System

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The three reasons people lose their teeth are dental decay, gum disease and an unstable chewing system. Your chewing system consists of how your teeth fit together when your chewing muscles move your lower jaw up and down. An unstable chewing system, if not discovered and addressed, can cause excessive tooth wear; cracked or loose teeth; sensitive teeth; jaw joint disorders and early tooth loss.
Unstable: jaw joint not in socket where teeth fit
Stable: jaw joint in socket where teeth fit

Signs of an Unstable Chewing System

You may have an unstable chewing system if you have one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
• Worn down, chipped, cracked or broken teeth
• Teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold and/or biting
• Multiple “root canals”
• Mobile or loosening teeth
• Clenching/grinding of your teeth
• Abfractions or wedge-shaped notches in the teeth at the gum line;
• Gum recession
• Severe localized bone loss around teeth
• Pain in the teeth and/or TMJ when you chew
• Headaches and facial muscle pain
• Teeth or dental work that fracture or break

On your back teeth, you will notice that there are points (cusps) and valleys (fossae). In a healthy bite, the cusps of your back teeth fit tightly into the fossae of your opposing teeth while the two jaw joints (TMJ’s) seat completely in their sockets. This is the least stressful and least destructive bite relationship for your teeth, bone, gums, TMJ’s, jaw muscles, and your existing dental work. The human bite is capable of generating forces measuring up to 900 pounds per square inch – so when your bite does not line up correctly, damage can and will occur. In addition, a healthy bite has the proper amount of overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth to guide our side-to-side chewing motion (think of guardrails on a roadway).

The front teeth protect the back teeth by limiting excess stress during chewing. When the front teeth are not aligned properly or are worn down, they are unable to provide this protective function, damaging the front and back teeth, bone, gums, TMJ’s and jaw muscles. A simple way to demonstrate this “protective” function is by placing your hand on the side of your jaw and clenching fully on your back teeth. Can you feel how forcefully your muscles contract? Now, assuming that the upper and lower back teeth can separate from each other when your front teeth are edge-to-edge or canine-to-canine, try clenching with just your front teeth or canines. Can you feel how much less force is created by the muscles?

Contact Us in Dallas Today!

I’d like to invite you to call us today (972) 661-3666 to schedule your appointment and start your journey to better health. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Though my office is located in Dallas, I also see many patients from Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Irving, Denton, Richardson, Grapevine, and the surrounding areas.

To Your Health,
Dr. James Segulyev, DDS
Segulyev Dental Arts – Dallas, Texas Dentist