Ideally, teeth should fit together in the place that the jaw closes. Before teeth even erupt, the jaw closes as it rotates in its socket when the muscles pull together. As teeth erupt they meet based on this closure path and the body’s anatomy. Bites can become uneven from a lot of things including missing teeth that are not replaced, faulty restorations, wisdom tooth eruption into a confined space, and bad biting habits such as pen chewing or pipe smoking.
In many people, an uneven bite may go completely unnoticed and have no signs or symptoms. In some, the unevenness triggers bruxism, which is tooth grinding. This can lead to dental, muscular and/or joint problems. Dentally, it causes accelerated wear of the teeth as well as chipping, loosening, shifting or cracking of the teeth. Grinding can also lead to muscle spasm which shows up as headaches, earaches, ringing of the ears, and dizziness. Sometimes it can even cause facial numbing. If it leads to joint breakdown it can be severely debilitating.
Diagnosed early TMJ problems can be easily treated and prevent a multitude of issues.