Do braces hold the key to solving your dental woes? You might think braces are a one-size-fits-all orthodontic treatment, but are such expectations realistic? Contrary to popular belief, braces cannot always straighten teeth on their own. On the contrary, they can sometimes substitute a problem with another. That’s where bite turbos (also called bite blocks or bite ramps) come into play. So, what are bite turbos, and how can they help you find your flawless smile again?
What are Bite Turbos?
Small brackets called bite turbos or bite ramps are used to treat misaligned bites. Typically, they are used in conjunction with braces and are attached directly to the teeth. A bite turbo prevents the wearer from biting down completely once installed. Correctly using these products also prevents excessive wear and tear on the teeth.
The several types of bite turbos are usually attached to the upper front teeth, although sometimes they can also be attached to the back molars:
- Triangular or L-shaped brackets are typically attached to the top teeth.
- 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 find it difficult to adjust to bite blocks initially (e.g., by causing speech issues). The placement of the tongue on the top teeth may make you lisp at first, but practice can help overcome this issue. In most cases, orthodontic patients can speak clearly within a week.
Although small, bite turbos can cause slight discomfort and pain, which usually goes away after a few days. The best way to manage this temporary soreness is with over-the-counter pain medications.
How Does Wearing Bite Turbos Help Our Teeth?
In orthodontics, bite turbos are used to correct misaligned bites. In addition, deep bites (also known as overbites) are often treated with bite turbos. It is also possible for dentists to prescribe them to correct crossbites and underbites.
If you need braces but have an overbite, braces may cause your upper teeth to place additional pressure on your lower teeth. In the long run, this contact can wear down upper and lower teeth and damage lower braces. Bite turbos keep your braces in place by preventing you from biting down completely.
Pressure is applied to your teeth when you bite down on the bite turbo, helping to correct your bite. If untreated, improper jaw alignment can exert gradual pressure and cause braces or teeth to move further out of alignment.
In other medical contexts, bite blocks are used to hold the mouth open during surgery. However, they are very different from bite turbos, as they are neither permanent nor glued to teeth.
How Long Do Bite Turbos Stay On?
Depending on the patient, bite blocks need to be worn for a different amount of time. In most cases, bite blocks must stay in place for about six to nine months. Then, if an orthodontist determines that jaw alignment problems have been corrected, they can remove the bite blocks.
Because bite turbos are glued to the teeth, only orthodontists can remove them. In other words, avoid removing bite turbos yourself. Instead, contact an orthodontist immediately if your bite turbos break.
My Bite Turbos Fell Off: What Do I Do?
Bite turbos rarely fall off. The best solution for broken bite turbos, however, is to contact an orthodontist immediately. Non-orthodontists cannot replace bite turbos, and you should not attempt to glue them back on.
Your orthodontist will likely choose to replace the broken bite blocks. However, if the misalignment has been fixed, they may choose not to replace the turbos.
How to Eat With a Bite Turbo
A bite turbo attached to the front teeth prevents the back teeth from meeting and the bite from closing completely. Front teeth will not come into contact with them when attached to the back teeth. Patients may have difficulty chewing and biting as a result.
Patients should eat soft foods to prevent bite turbos from breaking. Chew and swallow slowly and carefully if you have trouble eating. You can also help yourself by cutting your food into small, bite-sized pieces. Lastly, some dentists recommend eating around someone who can help if you choke on a bite turbo. Patients typically become accustomed to eating with bite turbos after the first week of wearing them.
What to Eat With Bite Turbos
While bite turbos are in place, dentists recommend eating soft foods, which are easier to chew and less likely to break off a bite block.
Your bite blocks may break more easily if you eat certain foods, especially when they are hard or crunchy. For example, crunchy foods such as carrots or other fresh vegetables are more likely to break a bite block. The same is true when it comes to chewing meat. It is safe for patients with bite turbos to eat meat and vegetables if they are cut into tiny pieces or cooked until soft. It is essential to follow the same dietary guidelines when wearing bite turbos as you would when wearing braces.
Ready to Start Your Orthodontic Treatment in Hollywood, MD? Try Patuxent Orthodontics!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if bite turbos are the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of bite turbos or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a free consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, 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 and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!
- Stanborough, Rebecca Joy. “Bite Blocks for Braces: What They Are and How They Work.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 26 Jan. 2021, www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/bite-block-braces#outlook. Accessed 25 Jan. 2023.