An uneven bite, such as an underbite, overbite, or a misaligned bite, can be very obvious. Many people have braces or other orthodontic work done in adolescence to correct uneven bites. Sometimes it’s harder to tell if your bite is uneven, but it is important to correct any misalignment in the jaw and teeth. Not only is it detrimental to cosmetic appearance, but an uncorrected uneven bite can result in discomfort, pain, and difficulty chewing. An uneven bite can also result in a heightened risk of tooth decay or even lead to tooth loss. If you are unsure, here are some signs and symptoms of an uneven bite, which may be destructive to your oral health and the look of your smile:
- Appearance This is, obviously, the easiest way of telling if your teeth are crooked. Examining the alignment of your teeth in the mirror is a good way of noticing any misalignments. Try grinning in the mirror and observe how your teeth match up to the general alignment of your face. If there are minor alignment flaws, you may not be able to spot them right away, but a well-trained dentist may be able to.
- Teeth Grinding or jaw clenching are other signs that you may have a poorly aligned bite. Grinding and clenching can lead to tension in the jaw as your jaw tries to overcompensate for its misalignment. Grinding and clenching are very bad for the teeth, as it wears their enamel down over time.
- TMJ is a jaw disorder that can cause pain and click in the jaw. If your bite is uneven, the muscles in the jaw have to work hard to compensate, which can lead to tension and straining during talking or chewing. If you feel any pain, discomfort, or muscle tension in your jaw, or if you often hear a clicking noise while talking or chewing, you may have TMJ due to an uneven bite.
- Headaches An uneven bite causes the muscles in the jaw to tense and strain. This tension can spread through the head and cause frequent headaches. Any pain around the jaw or head can be a symptom of an uneven bite, as the muscles must strain to compensate for the misalignment.
- Tooth Sensitivity may be a sign that your tooth enamel is wearing down. If you have an uneven bite, your teeth may be grinding in a specific spot, causing a breakdown of enamel. Additionally, if you grind or clench your teeth the enamel can also wear down. Enamel is very important in protecting our teeth from decay, so if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity it’s best you see your dentist as soon as possible.
If you have any of the above symptoms or any other discomfort or pain in your mouth and jaw, it’s best to see your dentist right away. They are trained to spot even small misalignments that you may miss, as well as suggest treatment options to correct your dental alignment!