Bad Bite Symptoms

Bad bite (Malocclusion) is a problem in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together in biting or chewing. The condition may also be referred to as an irregular bite, crossbite, or overbite. It is ironic that one of the most common dental disorders is also the most neglected.  The way the teeth fit together when the jaw closes and chews is of profound importance to the long-term health of your teeth.

If surfaces of the teeth interfere with how the jaw moves, the teeth can be get loose or the enamel can be worn away.  The muscles that move the jaw are very powerful and can do major damage to the teeth when the biting surfaces don’t fit together properly.The power of the jaw muscles may surprise you.  Some people can exert over 900 pounds of compressive force with their jaw muscles so you can imagine how much damage such force can do when you close into a single tooth and then work it from side to side.

Clinical Warning Signs

The problem can be compounded because if teeth interfere with muscle patterns, the jaw muscles will attempt to “erase” the part of the tooth that interferes by grinding against it all the more.  This can lead to even more severe wear or it may crack off a cusp or split the tooth.  Or it may loosen the tooth or cause it to move out of alignment.  The excessive muscle activity often results in pain in the muscle itself.  All of the jaw muscles can become sore including the temporal muscles that are the source of many so called tension headaches.

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 (shown in the image above) at the side of your head can become 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 uneven bite is at least contributing to the problem.

Some excessive muscle activity may be caused by emotional stress.  But with some special exceptions, damage done by stress induced grinding and clenching can be minimized to a manageable level by equalizing the biting surfaces that are in conflict with jaw movements.

Symptoms and Signs of bad Bite

Pain & Discomfort

If biting hard causes pain or discomfort in the jaw joint, (you may feel it just in front of your ear), you can suspect a possible relationship between your bite and a TMJ problem.  It may be associated with a structural disorder in your TMJ, but more often the pain is coming from certain muscles that move your jaw joints to accommodate a bite that is not in harmony with your TMJs.  Your dentist should be able to diagnose the exact source of the pain.

 Severe Wear

Look for severe wear on your teeth, as this is another sign that your bite is not in harmony.  If you have worn all the enamel off the biting edges of your teeth, you will see a darker colored surface.  This is dentin and it will wear down seven times faster than the much harder enamel that you’ve already worn through.  So ask your dentist to evaluate what is causing so much wear.  This wear can be especially damaging when it is on your front teeth, so if you notice these teeth have worn down to dentin, have your bite checked, don’t wait till all the enamel is gone. If this wear continues, the nerves will be exposed and the teeth can become abscessed. Correcting your bite may stop or at least slow down the wear process.


Sometimes the muscle forces that work the tooth sideways stimulates bone around the root to build up and become stronger.  When that happens, the tooth actually bends in its socket and this creates a microscopic chipping away close to the gum line to form a deep groove in the tooth.  This is called an abfraction.  These deep grooves at the gum line are often mistaken for toothbrush abrasion but scientists have shown us that they are actually the results of bending which creates the cracks.  These grooves can lead to much sensitivity in those teeth because the opening into the tooth exposes nerves which can be exquisitely sensitive.  Correction of the bite to remove excessive lateral forces on the teeth in most instances either eliminates the sensitivity completely or reduces it to a much more acceptable level.

Cosmetic and Aesthetic Problems
If your teeth disappear behind your lips, then you have an incorrect bite. It can also appear like your lower face collapses. Teeth also act as lips support if you feel that your lips are not being supported well, making them look thin and lacking in fullness.

It is important that your bite gets corrected soon. Correcting your bite can ensure you a more comfortable and functional bite, confidence, and prevention of further teeth problems in the future.If you notice any of these, it is important that you talk to Dr.Miski and see what we can do about it.