If you suspect that your bite has changed over a short or long period of time, it’s imperative that you make an appointment with your dentist.
Our bite or how our teeth meet is a dynamic relation between the top and bottom teeth. The jaw muscles, jaw joint (TMJ) as well as the jaw bones play a role in maintaining a stable bite.
A stable bite does not mean it is not changing. Our bite is always adapting due to aging, muscle function (or dysfunction) and bone memory.
Consult your dentist if you notice any bite changes — as it could signify an alarming pathology.
Causes of Bite Changes
Spasm/s in the jaw muscle can cause the bite to shift depending on the muscle involved. There may be jaw pain or trouble eating due to this, but bite changes could be the only symptom at times also.
Muscle spasms are common after a long dental visit or extensive dental treatment.
If there is arthritis in the TMJ, there is usually an open bite because of degeneration in the joint structures.
(For example, after “a new filling or a new crown”)
Bite changes are often reported by patients after a new dental filling or crown.
It is almost impossible to duplicate the bite with a filling or crown — and hence, any dental filling or crown requires the adaptation of the bite.
Bite change is a normal response. They are common after mouth guards, and the risk is greater with over the counter mouth guards and soft custom mouth guards compared to hard custom mouth guards.
Bite changes can occur due to benign as well as malignant (cancerous) tumors.
The swelling or growth usually occurs in the area of the mandible (lower jaw) or the maxilla (upper jaw) and may be affecting the muscles, joint ligaments or the bones.
Cancer as a cause of a change in the bite is quite rare, but nevertheless, should still be ruled out. For more information on the various conditions (including cancer) that can affect the jaw, go here.