Why your teeth alignment affects much more than your bite
Do you suffer from migraines, neck pain or insomnia without apparent explanation? The answer could be in your mouth.
One of the most common problems in dentistry, an incorrect bite, is far from being just an aesthetic issue. It can be the source of problems as varied as bruxism, headaches, fatigue, joint disorders, cardiovascular and cervical problems, jaw pain, gingivitis, respiratory disorders, dental hypersensitivity, insomnia and even erectile dysfunction.
And the list keeps increasing. Researchers from the University of Barcelona and the University of Innsbruck (Austria) have revealed that malocclusion, the technicality that defines a bad bite, also affects the control of posture and balance, as there is “a reciprocal influence between the trigeminal nerve and the vestibular nucleus, responsible for the masticatory function and the balance control respectively, and also between the masticatory and cervical muscles”. This discovery is fundamental for athletes, whose bite can affect both their performance and the prevention of injuries.
So extensive are the conditions that the dental industry is increasingly interested in finding the remedy to something that seems so simple: that a patient bites optimally, that is, that the lower jaw is aligned and fits correctly with the upper .
In general, the solution for this problem goes through orthodontics or dental orthopedics. However, a previous analysis is essential to determine which are the points where the contact between the teeth is not adequate. In addition to observation, radiographs are essential. The problem in this case is that the traditional occlusal adjustment systems were not able to show the intensity of the bite at each point, nor the time at which contact occurs, which gave incomplete information for the development of a treatment suitable.
But technology is also advancing by leaps and bounds in the dental industry. The T-Scan scanner from the company Tekscan has achieved that a dentist is able to detect both the intensity of the bite in each contact and the moment of said contact.
Dr. Víctor Cubillo, director of the Artedental clinic, in Puerto de la Cruz, is a frequent user of T-Scan. Cubillo confesses that this scanner has become an indispensable item in his clinic, one of the few in Tenerife that owns it. “It allows you to visualise in 2D and 3D the distribution of strength, identify what neither the patient nor the experienced dentist are able to detect by traditional methods, and its effect is immediate in the oral health status of the patient”, explains the director Artedental doctor
And in the dental industry, the technological leap is qualitative, and not only for malocclusion. CAD-CAM technology, for example, allows to design and create customised prostheses in a completely mechanised process. Likewise, there is already a technology capable of accurately describing the movements of the teeth and even the evolution of the mandibular bones, and 3D printers and scanners are inexorably making holes in dental laboratories.
The interest in developing solutions for malocclusion is not trivial. “Only 2% of the population has a correct mastication, including patients treated with orthodontics, since not only the teeth intervene but the tempo-romandibular joints, muscles and ligaments. It affects the stability of natural teeth and their good prognosis, the durability of fillings, crowns, implants … “explains Dr. Cubillo. “Its effects are very annoying and painful, and the variety of practically invisible devices or braces that now exist in the market has contributed to adults deciding to undergo this treatment,” concludes Amaya Sáez, Artedental director.