We all know the goldilocks fairy tale. And although getting things just perfect, not too hot and not too cold was a metaphore about the dangers of getting things just right, sometimes in life, perfection is a truly noble and important goal.
In our practice, we strive for perfection in all the places that matter: good sealed restoration margins so there is little chance of new decay, beautiful smiles which are perfect in their ability to support the face and lips, while looking like one was born extremely lucky to have the perfect smile, life-like colors of our restorations so that no one knows they weren’t man made. But no item is as important as the perfect bite.
Patients often apologize for being picky while we fine tune their bite or occlusion. Just today a young college student who just had a 10 fillings done the day before while he was home for a break, said “sorry I’m so picky” at his post op visit as we carefully perfected his bite. Sure, it might seem strange to a patient that first it feels high on the right and then on the left, then the very back right, then. The front left. But it doesn’t seem too picky for to us.
This seems perfectly normal to us because we understand the complexity of the occlusal system, or system of muscles, teeth and bite. It is easy to simplify the idea that the system works like a hinge, always repeating the same bite. The reality is that the muscles and joint are mobile so the jaw can close differently each time, just like our tennis swing can follow a different path each time. Thus, in many ways, the perfect bite is a moving target. Therefore very hard to get right.
Yet, there is an ideal way to make this bite repeatable, stable and perfect. It involves stabilizing the joint in the most stable condylar position, or in the socket… where I just like to call home. It’s the posture that is most ideal because it can’t slip further into the socket.
When adjusting the bite to this joint position, it can remain stable and repeatable for years. This has the benefits of your tooth contacts being even, thus not overloading any teeth or causing, wear, cracks, gum recession, and gum line tooth loss. It can also keep the joint healthier for life. And amazingly, when the bite is goldilocks perfect, with the perfect jaw posture and the perfect tooth contacts, the muscles are less active. Less active muscles cause less wrinkling of the facial skin than over active muscles dealing with a bad jaw posture.
So, in this version of goldilocks, just right matters. The perfect bite will keep you healthy and aging gracefully.