A bite block, a ramp or turbo, is a dental appliance typically used with braces to align teeth. Braces are metal bands that wrap around the back teeth through an attached wire that brackets each tooth. Bite blocks are a method to prevent the upper and lower teeth from touching, often used to correct an over-bite or under-bite.
Here is a full look at how bite blocks work and what to expect if you are recommended.
What Are Bite Blocks?
Bite blocks are made of plastic or rubber but can be made of glass, concrete, metal, or acrylic. They may be pink, blue, red, silver, or natural tooth colour. They can be spring-loaded but they aren’t always. Bite blocks are available from many dentistry suppliers, allowing professionals to order and receive the supplies.
What Bite Blocks Do
A bite block creates space between the upper and lower teeth. They correct over-bite and under-bite issues while guiding teeth into the right position. They are also recommended if there is crowding or a deep bite.
Bite blocks are often L-shaped or triangular and are placed on the tongue side of the front teeth or sometimes flat and mounded to attach to the top surface of the back molars.
When Bite Blocks Can Be Worn
Bite blocks can be worn during the day and at night. During the day, they are typically worn for short periods, such as during work or driving. At night, bite blocks are worn for longer periods, such as overnight, for sleep. There are no rules on how long bite blocks can be applied, so long as they follow the dentist’s recommendation.
Benefits Of Bite Blocks
If a dentist recommends bite blocks, it’s usually because teeth come into contact with each other. This slows down the teeth straightening and puts them at risk of damage.
Bite blocks navigate around these risks and problems, ensuring your existing treatment is not compromised. In addition to bite blocks’ primary purpose, they also reduce stress and tension in the jaw muscles.
Why Bite Blocks Are Used
Bite blocks do several critical things in combination with braces. They help keep the tongue from getting in the way as an orthodontist puts on braces. They help prevent injury to the lips from brackets and wires. They also minimize the likelihood of a patient biting their cheek or lip while their mouth adjusts to the hardware in their mouth.
Bite Blocks Should Not Hurt
When used correctly, bite blocks do not hurt. They may be uncomfortable initially, but they shouldn’t cause pain. However, bite blocks must be placed properly before starting any procedure to install braces.
Bite Blocks Can Be Fixed Or Removable
Removable bite blocks are easy to remove and replace. They are worn for a set amount of time each day, and that’s it. They can be removed during meals and activities. Fixed bite blocks are permanently affixed, providing constant support for your teeth. They are essential for more severe bite correction treatments.
Clean Bite Blocks After Every Use
If you’re using removable bite blocks, rinse them with water after every use, removing saliva and debris from the surface. Use a mild soap and water solution to scrub them overnight. After scrubbing, rinse them thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel. Though rare, any cracks or damage to a bite block require immediate replacement.
How Long Do You Wear Bite Blocks For?
Bite blocks are temporary in design. They are typically worn for no longer than 6-9 months. That said, a patient’s treatment time may differ, requiring less or more time to wear them. It depends heavily on how quickly your teeth move into a healthier alignment.
How Bite Blocks Are Removed
After bite blocks have served their purpose in your treatment plan, your dentist removes them. This only follows an assessment to confirm the intended work. This is generally a fast, gentle removal procedure that causes no discomfort.
Downsides Of Bite Blocks
Bite blocks have disadvantages as a patient adjusts. They can cause difficulty speaking and chewing problems as the teeth cannot come together, they can be slightly uncomfortable when first worn, and it may feel strange having them in. That said, it’s for the better.
How Do You Eat With Bite Blocks?
Bite blocks can be removed to eat more comfortably during meals. For fixed bite blocks, however, it’s best to avoid overly dense, sticky, or chewy foods. As with braces, you do not want those foods to get into your bite blocks, interfere with their performance, and accumulate bad bacteria in the mouth.