Teeth wearing out? Is there chipping on the biting edges? Gums receding and exposing sensitive root surfaces? Are your teeth getting smaller, flatter, cracking, or breaking? These are symptoms of a bite that does not come together properly. Dr. Harden can diagnose and treat these problems with a systematic approach that is both conservative and predictable.
Teeth have an ideal way they should contact each other. Equally distributed forces prevent overloading, chipping, and fractures. But unbalanced chewing and/or grinding can lead to painful headaches, migraines, muscle soreness, and tooth sensitivity.
Dental equilibration is a treatment which adjusts teeth to create a better bite. There are several ways to equilibrate a patient but the end result is to get the teeth to come together with the chewing muscles relaxed and the TMJ (jaw joint) in its most stable position.
If Dr. Harden sees that you would benefit from an occlusal adjustment, he will recommend a bite force scan to evaluate how the forces on your teeth are distributed when you bite. He will then review the bite scan data with you so that you can understand why these forces are important and how they may be affecting your teeth and/or TMJ. Once you understand the data and recommended treatment, you can decide whether to proceed with treatment.
Most patients are very impressed with this technology, If you've ever had a filling or crown done, you remember the carbon paper that the dentist uses to check your bite ("tap, tap, tap; how does that feel?"), and you have a sense of how this works. The difference is that this scanner uses a digital sensor to give extremely accurate information which usually brings about an "a-hah!" moment once you see the results. Believe it or not, this technology opens up a wide array of dental treatment that most dentists do not offer.
Usually only small adjustments are necessary to correct bite problems. Sometimes conservative treatment is required, such as bonding and/or veneers. And sometimes teeth need to be moved into position with Invisalign or braces.
If you are considering cosmetic dentistry, make sure that your bite is analyzed for potential problems that can occur when getting a smile makeover. The concerns a patient has with their natural teeth are often times symptoms of a bad bite and getting veneers to correct the concerns may not correct the bad bite. This may lead to future problems with the cosmetic dentistry. Having a smart chewing system means that the back teeth and the front teeth work together properly. Planning cosmetic dentistry that is esthetically driven and functionally finished means that Dr. Harden will take into account all your cosmetic desires, while being sure to finish your new smile makeover with improvements to the bite that will create a healthier TMJ, muscle, and teeth chewing system.