What is Dental Occlusion?

DentalDental Occlusion

Dental occlusion may or may not be a term you've heard before. A dental occlusion just refers to the relationship between your teeth when they come together. A more common way of referring to what a dental occlusion is is simply calling it your “bite.” However, your occlusion includes more than just the way your teeth come together when your teeth close. Occlusion is the relationship your upper (maxillary) and lower (mandibular) teeth have with one another.

This relationship includes how they come together when you are taking a bite of something, chewing, swallowing or when your teeth are at rest.  Your upper and lower teeth are not the only factors in determining your occlusion. Your teeth, joints, muscles and your jawbones must all come into exact alignment with one another in order to have a healthy bite and an occlusion that performs at its best.

Dental occlusion is one of the most important subjects in dentistry. However, it is also one of the most debated subjects as well and there is a lot of heat surrounding this topic. Advanced training after dental school on the subject of occlusion is not common and there is much controversy when it comes to things like TMJ syndrome, TMJ position, orofacial pain and malocclusion.

Dental occlusion and malocclusion

A malocclusion is the result of a dysfunctional occlusion. Malocclusion, more commonly referred directly to as a “bad bite,” is determined when the jawbones and teeth are mismatched/misaligned. In Latin, the term “occlusion” actually means “bite,” and “mal” means “bad.” Therefore, malocclusion is directly interpreted as the phrase “bad bite.”

Malocclusions are often broken down into type. These types consist of terms you may be more familiar with, such as “open bite,” “crossbite,” “overbite,” underbite,” and more. The evaluation of the functionality of you occlusion will help establish the level of ease and/or difficulty you experience through life in regards to your teeth, jaw, head and neck.

If you have a malocclusion, you will most likely experience signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms can include headaches, jaw joint pain, muscle pain in your head and neck, tooth sensitivity, tooth loss and tooth breakage.  You may also suffer from excessive wear due to previous root canals.

Know the status of your own dental occlusion

It is good to know if you are one who suffers from malocclusion as this can directly affect certain aspects of your life. A malocclusion can create a variety of issues and directly interfere with speech, chewing and over time can lead to serious dental health problems. When you have a malocclusion, it can lead to tooth crowding and misalignment which can make it more difficult to clean your teeth. These issues can also make it harder to avoid things like tooth decay, gum disease and other problems that may arise.

The functionality of your occlusion will determine a lot of your dental health throughout your life and is best to address any issues that already exist, or arise, sooner than later to keep negative advancement to a minimum. Since dental occlusion does contain some controversy over the subject, you may want to get a second and even third opinion before making any big decisions.

How can you really use this information?

For more information or to schedule a dental appointment with Charvet Dental Center,request an appointment in our Metairie dental office here: https://www.drcharvet.com. Or call us at (504) 208-4751.

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