Updated on April 22, 2024
4 min read

Bite Blocks for Braces

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What are Bite Blocks for Braces?

Bite blocks, also known as ramps or turbos, are tiny devices sometimes used to support orthodontic treatment with braces. 

Dentists may recommend braces to align teeth. Braces consist of brackets that are fixed to the teeth and connected with an archwire. Braces apply gentle pressure to the teeth, helping them move into the desired position.

You may need bite turbos on the back or front teeth to achieve good results from braces. They help by preventing the upper and lower teeth from touching, thereby keeping you from breaking your brackets when biting down. 

Altering how you bite alleviates pressure on the brackets. The result is faster and more effective teeth alignment and a healthy smile.1

How are Bite Blocks Made?

Bite blocks are custom-made to fit your mouth and have various styles. They can be removable or fixed to the teeth. Sometimes, they’re spring-loaded to increase the pressure on the teeth.

Removable bite blocks are usually made of soft materials like silicone, gel, or acrylic and come in different colors. Fixed bite blocks are made of glass ionomer cement, bonding resin, or metal.2

Potential Side Effects of Bite Blocks

As with any orthodontic treatment, bite turbos can cause some side effects, especially at first. Here are some of the most common issues:

Chewing Problems

Bite turbos change how your jaw muscles work. You’ll need time to get used to the new position and learn to eat properly.4

While adjusting, it’s best to eat softer foods that require less chewing. It’s also helpful to cut food into pieces and take smaller bites. After about a week, you’ll adapt as your jaw muscles become accustomed to the new position.

Speech Difficulties

Bite blocks may change the way your tongue moves when you speak. You may find it hard to pronounce certain vowel sounds and words. This problem is more common with bite turbos attached to the inside (lingual) surface of the teeth.

As with chewing, you’ll eventually adjust as your jaw and tongue muscles adapt to the bite block. It may help to practice speaking when you’re alone. But if speech impairments persist, you might need to work with a speech and language pathologist.


Braces and bite turbos can be uncomfortable at first. Your mouth may also become dry and sore as your tongue adjusts to the new shape. But again, this should improve with time.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can ease discomfort. But if you experience any pain or swelling, contact your dentist immediately. They’ll adjust the bite block if necessary.

Lost or Worn Blocks

Bite blocks can become fragile, come off, or wear down over time. Without fully functioning bite blocks, you risk damaging your braces and teeth.

If you notice a block is missing or damaged, contact your orthodontist immediately so they can assess your mouth and replace the bite block.

Biting on One Block

During treatment, your bite shifts, and your teeth may touch only one block. Even though it may feel strange, it’s normal and expected.

Providing you’re not in pain, your dentist may not need to do anything about the problem. But ask them for advice if biting on one block is causing other issues.

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Who Needs Bite Blocks?

Orthodontists may recommend bite blocks for an overbite (deep bite), underbite, or otherwise misaligned teeth. They can also help with overcrowded teeth and mouth breathing.

If you clench or grind your teeth, a dentist may recommend bite turbos. Bite turbos help fix the alignment of your bite. If you have a misaligned bite, every time you chew or clench your teeth, you put excessive pressure on your jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Bite turbos help relieve the pressure on both your TMJ and teeth. 

Usually, bite blocks are used together with conventional dental braces to help realign your bite. However, sometimes orthodontists use them by themselves. For example, in children, bite blocks can help correct a crossbite.3


Bite blocks are temporary devices that realign the jaw and teeth while wearing braces. They work by gently separating your upper and lower teeth, improving your bite alignment and speeding up treatment time. 
Although bite turbos can feel uncomfortable, they shouldn’t cause any pain. However, you may have some issues chewing food and speaking at first. Call your orthodontist for advice and replacement if a bite block gets damaged or comes off.

Last updated on April 22, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 22, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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