Preventing occlusal disease is a the dentists’ concerns

What part do patient play to prevent it?

Loss and damage of teeth occur from four factors: decay (cavities), periodontal (gum) disease, occlusal (bite) disease, and trauma. Most of you are acquainted with signs, symptoms and treatment for gum diseases and cavities, probably from personal experience. Trauma is pretty much obvious. However, this disease does not always present itself so obviously. Wear, sensitivity, cracks, loose teeth, breaking teeth, notches in teeth at the gumline, sore muscles, painful jaw joints, and headaches can all be the effects of occlusal disease. In its early stages, an obvious injury, like a broken tooth, often hides the underlying cause. One of the first indications I often see are flat front teeth or notching at the gumline of back teeth.

Once you develop skills in recognizing the signs of occlusal disease and providing appropriate treatment to halt and often times reverse its effects, the signs jump out at you during a dental examination. Recognizing the disease as early as possible increases the probability that you will have young teeth at an elderly age. Much of the extensive repair work that I accomplish may very well have been avoided if the signs of occlusal disease were recognized and addressed at an early stage.

Many times the treatment begins with a "bite splint." This is a hard acrylic appliance that is fabricated to fit snugly over your teeth. This is usually worn only when you are sleeping (with the exception of some severe and painfully acute situations) because the forces you can apply while sleeping are four to five times stronger than while you are awake. Wearing the bite splint is first utilized to stabilize your bite and relax the muscles of the jaw. While wearing the splint, many of the signs and symptoms of occlusal disease will diminish or disappear. After the muscles of the jaws are relaxed, the bite can be accurately evaluated and treatment outlined.

Keeping your teeth in maximum comfort, function and esthetics for your entire lifetime is our objective when working with you. Seeing and addressing the signs and symptoms of the disease processes that work against that goal depends on what we know and discover. By paying particular attention to occlusal disease we can keep the forces of the bite working for your health and not against it.

©2013 HarmonyDentalArt. All rights reserved