Dental occlusion is the relationship between the top and bottom teeth. Occlusion is also known as the bite. The teeth should fit together, with the top row protruding slightly over the bottom row when the jaw is closed and in a relaxed position. If the occlusion is not right the teeth will be misaligned, and this can apply additional pressure to the jaw bone. It can cause problems in the gums, jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw (occlusal problems).
Symptoms of occlusal problems
Few people from Toxteth or anywhere in the country have perfectly aligned teeth and occlusal problems are common. Some people adjust to the misalignment and do not suffer from symptoms, but there are signs to look out for (some people experience symptoms when they are suffering from stress or anxiety, for example):
• Worn teeth
• Heightened sensitivity
• Toothache which seems to have no specific cause
• Cracked or damaged teeth and broken crowns or fillings
• Stiffness in the jaw (most common in the mornings)
How can occlusal problems be treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of the problem and the nature of the symptoms. If the teeth are poorly positioned and this is contributing to misalignment and problems with the bite, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist. Orthodontists are specialists that deal with abnormally positioned teeth. Treatments aim to straighten the teeth, usually involving wearing braces or a removable orthodontic device for a period of time.
If symptoms are caused by clenching or grinding teeth (known as bruxism), your dentist may advise you to wear a protective mouth guard or splint during the night to prevent contact between the teeth.
Tags: dental occlusion