What a Bite Plate Is & How It Can Help
Untreated jaw alignment issues can lead to discomfort, difficulty chewing, and other oral health problems. To help prevent those things, there are several different kinds of orthodontic appliances that are designed to correct the alignment of a patient’s teeth and jaw. One of the most effective ones is a bite plate.
By understanding what a bite plate is and exactly how it can help in some cases, you’ll have a better idea of whether this treatment option is right for you or a loved one. In this article, we’ve broken down what a bite plate is, its purpose and function, as well as the benefits one can provide to those who need them.
What is a Bite Plate?
A bite plate is a specialized dental appliance that is used to help patients manage their bite in certain cases. It is a small, customized device that is placed in the mouth and fits over or behind the upper or lower teeth to help align the teeth and jaw in a specific way. This appliance can effectively be used in children, teens, and adults.
Bite plates are typically made from different materials depending on the specific needs of the patient. (See more on this below.)
Types of Bite Plates
Several different types of bite plates are used in orthodontic treatment. One of the most common is the anterior bite plate, which is used to correct overbites and underbites. This type of bite plate is worn on the front teeth. Another type of bite plate is the posterior bite plate, which is used to correct issues with the molars. This type of bite plate is worn on the back teeth.
And both of these types of bite plates can come either as a removable appliance, which can be taken out to clean it and brush your teeth, or a fixed appliance. A fixed bite plate is soldered in place and worn all the time, only to be removed by your orthodontist at the end of treatment.
The materials used to make bite plates can vary depending on the specific needs of the patient. Some bite plates are made from a clear acrylic, which is easy to mold and shape and often look similar to clear aligners. This material is most often used for anterior bite plates.
Other bite plates are made from metal, which is more durable and long-lasting. Usually, posterior bite plates will be made of metal. Though, some bite plates are even made from a combination of both metal and acrylic.
Dental Issues That Are Effectively Corrected with a Bite Plate
A bite plate can be effective in properly aligning the jaw and correcting various dental issues. Some of the most common scenarios that may require the use of a bite plate include:
- Overbite or Underbite: An overbite or underbite is when the upper or lower jaw extends farther than the other. Though a very common orthodontic problem, this misalignment can cause discomfort, difficulty biting or chewing, and even speech difficulties. A bite plate can help slowly move the protruding jaw into the correct position over time.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder: TMJ disorders, like TMD, cause the jaw joint to become painful and inflamed. This can cause discomfort, headaches, and even neck pain. A bite plate can help reduce pressure on the jaw joint and alleviate symptoms.
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): If you grind your teeth at night, it can cause excessive wear and tear on your teeth, lead to jaw pain, and significantly disrupt your sleep. A bite plate can help protect your teeth and reduce stress on the jaw.
How Bite Plates Help Patients
Bite plates are custom-made to fit each patient’s mouth and are used to treat a variety of conditions related to the teeth and jaw. But, you may be wondering, what does a bite plate do exactly? Here are several of the numerous benefits that they can provide:
Using Gentle Pressure to Correct Misaligned Teeth
Bite plates are commonly used to correct misaligned teeth. By exerting pressure on specific teeth or areas of the jaw, they can gradually move teeth into their properly aligned positions. This can improve the overall appearance of the teeth and also make them easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Relieving Jaw Pain and Tension
Jaw pain, tension, and headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including teeth grinding, clenching, and joint disorders. Bite plates can help alleviate these symptoms by providing a cushion between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the amount of pressure on the jaw.
In some cases, a specially designed bite plate may be used to reposition and align the jaw, relieving tension and pain caused by TMJ disorders.
Preventing Tooth Damage from Grinding and Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism, can cause significant damage to the teeth over time. Bite plates can help prevent this damage by providing a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the amount of wear and tear caused by grinding and clenching.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your orthodontist about whether a bite plate may be right for you.
A Bite Plate = An Effective Method to Achieve Proper Jaw Alignment
Overall, a bite plate is an effective tool that can be used to help patients who are dealing with jaw misalignment and those who suffer from various dental issues such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and TMJ disorders.
By using a bite plate, patients can enjoy properly aligned jaw/teeth and significantly alleviate their symptoms and prevent further damage.
It is important to note that a bite plate is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified dentist or orthodontist. With proper use and care, a bite plate can be an effective tool in improving your dental health and overall quality of life.
If you have questions about a bite plate, if it may be right for you, and/or are looking for a top orthodontist in Springfield, we can help! Contact our team here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.