At Coro Orthodontics we create beautiful smiles… but there is more to it than just a smile. The way that our teeth and jaws “function” together is very important for our overall health and harmony
Having nicely aligned teeth provides a beautiful smile, which in turn promotes self-confidence and a positive self-image. We express our feelings and emotions with our smile, which is immensely important in our social interactions and communication. But just as important as a nice smile is the proper function of the bite (occlusion).
Our teeth and jaws (Masticatory Organ) play an important role in our overall health. Our body is a very complex “machine” with a myriad of organs and tissues that must function conjointly and in harmony for ideal health.
Obviously, one of the main purposes of the “masticatory organ” is chewing our food. Our digestion begins when we can properly chew our food in an efficient manner. This begins with a good functional occlusion.
A good functional occlusion protects and promotes the health of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These complex joints connect our jaw to our skull and can pose countless dysfunctional problems. Ear and headaches along with neck pain and clicking sounds in the joints are common. Unlike other joints in our body the TMJs are not “load bearing” and merely act as “guides” to jaw movement. It is imperative for the teeth to provide proper vertical support for these joints, thus avoiding compression that leads to dislocation and degenerative changes in them.
The masticatory organ also plays a vital role in our emotional well being as a stress relieving mechanism. Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us clench and grind (bruxi) during sleep. Numerous studies confirm that this action helps to lower stress levels and helps maintain normal blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. Without a proper functional occlusion, damage to the teeth the bone and supporting structures and the TMJs can occur.
Narrow dental arches and improper jaw position can also disturb our sleep due to improper tongue posture that affects our airway and can lead to more serious problems like sleep apnea. An improper occlusion can cause an alteration in jaw position that can influence our overall body posture as our body compensates for an improper jaw and head posture.
More importantly, a beautiful smile is not always a functional bite, but a functional bite is always a beautiful smile.