Treatment Options for Occlusal Disease
Occlusal disease is when there is abnormal wear and tear on the teeth due to a misalignment of the teeth. Many times it can go undiagnosed and is often overlooked because tooth wear occurs naturally as part of the aging process. Many have called occlusal disease a “silent oral disease” because it is missed many times. If left untreated, it can cause serious and irreversible damage to the teeth and gums as well as the jaw muscles and other bone structure.
Symptoms of Occlusal Disease
If you have one or more of these signs or symptoms, speak with your dentist and ask them to examine you.
- Teeth that are worn, cracked or chipped
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold (or both)
- Teeth that seem to move or loosen
- Pain in the jaw or muscles of the jaw area
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Recessive gums
- Bone loss around the teeth
- Pain in the jaw or teeth when you chew
- Facial pain or headaches
- Notches in the teeth at or below the gum line (caused by increased pressure of a misaligned bit)
What are the treatment options for occlusal disease?
Most of the time when you visit the dentist they will check for occlusal disease by examining your bite and your teeth. If the evaluation reveals the presence of occlusal disease, the dentist can make an official diagnosis. There are some options when it comes to treating this dental problem. They may suggest a procedure called “tooth equilibration.” This is a gentle procedure which helps to realign the teeth. Depending on the nature of the disease, they may just adjust or re-contour specific teeth to relieve stress on other teeth or the jaw. In cases where it is progressed or severe, they may have to reshape or restore several teeth to help bring the teeth and mouth back into proper balance.
Importance of a Healthy Bite
Why is it so important to have a healthy, properly aligned bite? There are many reasons why you need a healthy bite. First and foremost, you want to protect your teeth and a misaligned bite can cause abnormal wear and tear. Other problems caused by a misaligned bite include:
- Difficulty with biting or chewing
- Improper breathing
- Losing baby teeth too soon or too late
- Misplaced, blocked or crowded teeth
- Shifting jaws that protrude, are recessed or make popping sounds
- Difficulty speaking properly
- Biting the inside of the cheeks
- Facial disproportion
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Not being able to close your lips properly or comfortably
These are a few of the problems that can arise when someone has occlusal disease. It can cause or lead to broken, weakened or chipped teeth. Remember that a good bite is an essential part of the digestive process and proper chewing helps the body digest the foods you need for healthy living. It’s very important to be seen by a dental professional if you suspect your bite is misaligned or “off” in any way.