Occlusal Disease

This is a term that very few dental patients have ever heard of before. That is surprising since the vast majority of people have this occlusal dental disease at least to some degree.

Occulusal pathology can cause destruction of some or all of the components of our masticatory (chewing) systmes. These components are the teeth, the supporting bone, the gums, the TM joint, and the muscles. In many cases it is left undetected and untreated, occlusal disease can become quite disfiguring to the teeth and debilitating to our masticatory systems.

Occlusal pathology is very complex subject, occlusal disease of the teeth is characterized by excessive or abnormally accelerated tooth wear. It is caused by deflective interfering contacts on back teeth or in other words, back teeth hitting in a glancing manner. Back teeth have cusps and fosses. The cusp is the point, and the fossas while the two joints are fully seated in their sockets.

This is very rarely found naturally and most patients that have this ideal bite relationship have had it produced by a dentist. The process that achieves this non-destructive and comfortable bite relationship is called an equilibration. These fortunate patients that had an equilibration have virtually had the cause of occlusal pathology removed. This ideal relationship has the effect of directing the forces of chewing down the long axis of the tooth. These vertical forces are what the tooth, the connection ligament, and supporting bone are best able to bear.

If all the teeth are bearing an equal load down their long axis at the same time the two (2) TM joints are fully seated and braced in their respective sockets, then the system has had all the forces of chewing and other functions equally and evenly dispersed throughout the masticatory system. This is the least stressful and least destructive bite relationship for your teeth, bone, joints, muscles, and yes, your new dental work.

The Five signs that have occlusal disease are the following:

1) Jaw Pain, Clicking, Locking

2) Muscle-Tension Headaches

3) Severe wear and/or chipping of your natural teeth

4) Loose and/or shifting teeth

5) Gum recession and/or grooves on exposed root surfaces