Dental Health: Occlusal Disease

Often overlooked or misunderstood, this is a primary factor which causes patients to need additional dental treatment. Occlusion is the term for how the upper and lower teeth meet together and function over one another while chewing, eating, clenching, or grinding. Occlusal disease is the process of damaging the teeth, gums, muscles of the head and neck, or the TMJ (jaw joint) due to the way the teeth come together.

What are the symptoms of Occlusal Disease?

1) Tooth wear and faceting
2) Cracks in enamel
3) Fracture of portions of the tooth
4) Exposure of the inner layer of the tooth called the dentin
5) Recession of the gum tissues
6) Recession of the bone supporting the teeth.
7) Hyperactivity of the muscles controlling jaw movement
8) Pain in the muscles of the head and neck
9) TMJ noise or discomfort during function
10) Tooth loosening and mobility

In many cases a patient will call a dental office and say they broke a tooth. Most times the patient will state that the tooth was broken while eating normal or even soft foods. The tooth will need to be crowned to be fixed. But why did the tooth break in the first place? This is the question that Dr. Mengedoth asks in this situation.

If this question is answered, then whatever dental restoration the doctor places will have a longer and more predictable life span. Addressing the underlying cause of why the tooth broke will allow a much higher success rate in fixing the broken tooth, as well as helping to prevent other broken tooth emergencies. Many times the underlying problem is actually occlusal disease, and this is what visiting a comprehensive care dental office will allow the patient to understand.

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