We have learned by studying HEALTHY human chewing systems that an ideal relationship exists where teeth align in their proper position with the jaw joints seated in their sockets. What we also know is that most people don’t exhibit this ideal. The majority of the population has a discrepancy between the two. In other words, when most people’s jaw joints are seated in an ideal position, the teeth don’t align comfortably or efficiently. So, what do we do? We unconsciously adapt by shifting our jaw forward, out of its socket so that the teeth can meet comfortably and function most efficiently.
TMJ / TMD – are you suffering?
This adaptation comes at a price and can manifest in many different ways. Some people experience damage to the jaw joint itself: clicking or popping in the joints with opening/closing or deviation of the entire hinging system to the right or left. Some people experience symptoms in the supportive muscles and/or tension headaches. These manifestations within the joint or supportive muscles can become a chronically experienced condition, commonly referred to as Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD). While some people with TMD have experienced trauma to the jaw (i.e., car accident), many sufferers of TMD don’t realize that it’s the malpositioning of the bite that is actually causing their problems.
The discrepancy between ideal jaw joint seating and ideal teeth positioning manifests in many more subtle ways in the mouth. Unbalanced bite forces can cause teeth to crack and break, fillings to prematurely fail, supportive bone and gums to recede, excessive tooth wear, loose teeth and even tooth loss.
As a Los Altos Dentist, in my experience, an unstable chewing system is often overlooked or dismissed as part of the “natural aging process.” Analogous to a set of auto tires that aren’t aligned properly and are wearing down and losing their peak performance at an accelerated rate. Unfortunately, most dentists either don’t understand the complex nature of these manifestations of unstable chewing systems, or they are not equipped to spend the time necessary on diagnosis. Much like the medical model in the U.S., dental practices are typically focused on treating problems that have already occurred and not as focused on understanding WHY they occurred or how to prevent them from occurring in the future.
Do you have an unstable chewing system?
When someone experiences an acute toothache, they may have a root canal treatment rendered and the symptoms go away. Both the dentist and the patient may feel that the problem is solved… but is it? What caused the need for that root canal (or crown, or gum graft, or extraction?) So often, the etiology of a dental problem is due to an unstable chewing system and the patient has no awareness. Reactive dental treatment after reactive dental treatment leads to patient disempowerment and frustration. As a health-centered dentist in Los Altos, I have spent my career interviewing patients, getting to know them, learning their dental concerns and asking lots of questions. So, how stable is your chewing system? Have you experienced any of these manifestations of an unstable chewing system? Are you interested in understanding both what potential instabilities you possess and possible solutions to reduce those lifetime dental burdens?
Contact Us Today!
Dr. Schweifler has spent years in continuing education focused on understanding the nuances of functional and dysfunctional chewing systems. Dr. Schweifler and our Los Altos Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our BioRejuvenation Dentistry Services, or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 650-941-2166 for a complimentary BioRejuvenation Dentistry consultation. The outstanding experience of our Los Altos Dentist Dr. Schweifler, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating oral problems in our patients who visit us from different parts of Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, and Mountain View.