Are braces the Holy Grail of dental issues? You might be tempted to think of braces as a one-size-fits-all orthodontic treatment. But is that a realistic expectation? On the contrary, braces cannot always straighten teeth on their own. Sometimes, they can actually substitute a problem with another — that’s where bite turbos (also known as bite blocks or bite ramps) come in. So what are bite turbos, and how can they help you rediscover your flawless smile?
What Are Bite Turbos?
Bite turbos or bite ramps are small brackets designed to treat misaligned bites. They are attached directly to the teeth and are typically used in conjunction with braces. Once installed, bite turbos prevent the wearer from biting down completely. They also protect the teeth from excessive wear and tear when used correctly.
Bite turbos can take several different forms. They are usually attached to the upper front teeth, but they can also be attached to the back molars in some cases:
- When attached to the top teeth, they typically look like triangular or L-shaped brackets.
- When they are placed in the back of the mouth, they look more like pads that rest on the chewing surface of the molars.
Some patients may initially have trouble getting used to bite blocks (e.g., speech issues). They may cause patients to lisp at first, but practicing proper tongue placement on the top teeth can help overcome this problem. Orthodontists estimate that patients typically figure out how to speak clearly within a week.
Though bite turbos are small, they can cause slight discomfort and pain, typically going away a few days after treatment. Over-the-counter pain medications are the best option to manage this temporary soreness.
How Does Wearing Bite Turbos Help Our Teeth?
In orthodontic contexts, bite turbos are designed to correct misaligned bites. They are often used to treat overbites (also known as deep bites). Dentists might also prescribe them to correct crossbites or underbites.
If you need braces but have an overbite, braces can cause your top teeth to exert additional pressure on your lower teeth. Over time, this contact can damage lower braces and wear down upper and lower teeth. Since bite turbos prevent you from biting down fully, they keep your braces intact.
Biting down on a bite turbo also places specific pressure on your teeth, which can help correct your bite. However, if improper jaw alignment does not receive treatment, it can exert gradual pressure and push braces or teeth further out of alignment.
In other medical contexts, devices used to hold the mouth open during surgery are known as bite blocks. However, they are very different from the bite turbos — they are not permanent and are not glued to the teeth.
How Long Do Bite Turbos Stay On?
The exact length of time bite blocks need to stay on varies from patient to patient. However, it is common for bite blocks to stay in place for about six to nine months. They can afterward be removed when an orthodontist determines that jaw alignment problems are corrected.
Since they are glued to the teeth, bite turbos are only removable by orthodontists. Therefore, you should not attempt to remove bite turbos on your own. Instead, contact an orthodontist immediately if your bite turbos break.
My Bite Turbos Fell Off: What Do I Do?
It’s unusual for a bite turbo to fall off. If bite turbos break, however, the best solution is to contact an orthodontist quickly. Non-orthodontists cannot replace bite turbos, nor should you try to glue them back to your teeth.
Your orthodontist will likely replace the broken bite blocks. However, if the misalignment that prompted the installation of the turbos has been corrected, your orthodontist may opt not to replace them.
How To Eat With a Bite Turbo
Wearing bite turbos attached to the front teeth prevents complete closure of the bite and keeps the back teeth from meeting. When attached to the back teeth, they can stop the front teeth from coming into contact. As a result, patients may experience chewing issues and have trouble biting.
Soft food is best for patients with bite turbos. If you have trouble eating, concentrate on chewing and swallowing slowly and carefully. Cutting your food into small, bite-sized pieces can also help. Finally, some dentists recommend eating around someone who can help if you accidentally swallow a bite turbo and begin to choke.
Orthodontists estimate that patients typically grow accustomed to eating with bite turbos after the first week of wearing them. Eating with bite blocks can be frustrating initially, but patients learn to navigate the novelty of bite turbos after a bit of practice.
What To Eat With Bite Turbos
Dentists recommend eating soft foods, which are easier to chew and less likely to break off a bite block, while bite turbos are in place. If you choose hard or crunchy foods, you might damage your bite turbos while you chew.
Certain foods can make your bite blocks more likely to break and should be avoided. For example, crisp foods like carrots or other fresh vegetables can make breakage more likely. The same is true for kinds of meat that require lots of chewing. Patients with bite turbos can safely eat meat and vegetables when cut into tiny pieces or cooked until they have reached a soft consistency. When wearing bite turbos, you should observe the same kinds of dietary rules that you would for braces.
Ready To Start Your Orthodontic Treatment in Loudoun County? Try Loudoun Orthodontics!
Contact Loudoun Orthodontics for a free consultation if you think that you are a candidate for bite turbos! Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of bite turbos or simply have questions about the treatment process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303. You can also send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today. Our dental practice, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly services not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Lansdowne, or Sterling, and are looking for exceptional dental care, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health, as well as follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!