Occlusal disease may result in the jaw joints themselves becoming symptomatic. Noise such as popping and clicking during normal jaw movements like eating is common and in some cases painful. If occlusal disease is not treated the problems may slowly progress over time. Ultimately the teeth wear out prematurely and may be lost. Muscle and jaw problems can continue to cause discomfort. If occlusal disease is diagnosed early, progression of the damage can be avoided and treatment can be much simpler. If treatment is delayed, damage becomes more severe and solutions more expensive and complex. Treatment can include mild recontouring of the teeth to balance the bite, restorations of worn teeth, orthodontic treatment to better align the teeth or a combination of all three.
If the back teeth interfere with normal jaw movements, the muscles that move the jaw forward and back become hyperactive and tense. The temporal muscles at the side of your head can become tense, tired and painful from the constant hyperactivity. A bad bite is a common trigger for many tension headaches arising from these muscles. Correction of the bite disharmony usually eliminates or greatly reduces the intensity of such headaches. If firmly clenching your teeth together intensifies the headache pain, it is almost a certainty that an unbalanced bite is at least contributing to the problem.
Occlusal equilibration is a therapy that is used when the cause of TMJ pain is due to an unbalanced bite. It involves the conservative recontouring of the teeth where the improper biting contacts or interferences are located to create a balanced bite. The result is that the jaw can close smoothly and properly into its position in the temporomandibular socket, which in turn relieves pain.
This may sound like extensive work or even a painful procedure, but it can actually be a very conservative, pain-free and effective method to balance the bite.