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Malocclusion (or “an improper bite”) occurs when the teeth are too crowded or simply misaligned. This condition prevents the jaws from meeting squarely. Malocclusion is typically most apparent in younger patients between the ages of 6 and 12, when the permanent teeth are coming in.

If malocclusion isn’t treated properly, this condition leads to a greater risk of cavities and gum disease. An improper bite can also affect the development of the jaws, and it can put protruding teeth at risk for chipping and fracturing. An improper bite can affect a person’s ability to eat and speak, and it can also make the teeth wear faster and unevenly.

The good news is that when you visit a highly skilled dentist like Dr. Nicholas, your improper bite can be corrected through a number of methods, depending upon your particular circumstances. But in each case, Dr. Nicholas’s objective is to eliminate the disharmony of the occlusal or biting surfaces. And sometimes this can be achieved simply through a slight adjustment of your natural teeth.

Adjusting the natural teeth is frequently achieved through grinding small areas of the enamel. This often results in a more aesthetic appearance, as well. Since tooth enamel is quite thick on the biting surfaces, this procedure is completely safe and does not damage the tooth whatsoever.

If the natural teeth have an appreciable amount of wear or defects from tooth decay — or perhaps from previous restorations — a complete oral rehabilitation may be necessary in order to sufficiently address the bite problem.

But it is absolutely essential that you choose a competent and experienced dentist, like Dr. Nicholas, who has extensive prosthodontic training for bite correction to ensure that the final result of your treatment will indeed solve your bite problems.

In conclusion, you should know that if severe malocclusion is left untreated, it may very well lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, which often includes facial pain and other afflictions that can affect your overall quality of life.

So, if you think you might suffer from having an improper bite, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Anne Nicholas at the Palm Desert Center for Advanced Periodontics, Cosmetic, Sedation and Implant Dentistry. She can be reached by phone at 760-851-0314 or at her office in Palm Desert, California.