Occlusal dysfunction is something our patients are not often familiar with. It comes with headaches, facial pain, migraines and even TMJ symptoms. All of these issues affect the way your teeth fit together and how you respond to trauma. Patients of all ages may suffer from occlusal disease.
Often, patients just think they have a migraine or headache problem when they are suffering from occlusal dysfunction. This issue is usually caused by a trauma or an ill-functioning bite over a long period of time. It can also originate from sleep apnea or become exaggerated due to sleep disturbance.
Many experts believe occlusal disease is the top cause of tooth loss and the biggest cause of crowns and fillings breaking. It’s a very serious issue and may cause unnatural wear or damage to your teeth. Often, the damage it causes may require expensive repairs and it’s not limited to just your teeth.
What Is Occlusal Disease?
Occlusal disease is used to describe the signs shown from grinding or clenching your teeth habitually. Some of the signs observed include:
- Rough or sharp chipping on the edges of the teeth
- Small fracture lines throughout the teeth
- Cracks within teeth or fillings
- Fractures without any traumatic injury
- Advanced wear through the protective enamel layer
- Notches found at the gumline of teeth
- Gum recession or tooth sensitivity
- Muscle pain and headaches
It’s important to note that chewing very cold foods or hard foods may damage your teeth but will not show the same signs as occlusal disease.
If you show signs of occlusal disease, you are at a greater risk of losing or damaging your teeth. However, our dentist will be able to offer preventative treatments to help you avoid much larger dental expenses if you do lose teeth due to occlusal disease.
What Types of Treatment Are Available for Occlusal Disease?
The treatment options for occlusal disease depend on the cause. It can be caused by many different factors. The two main causes include premature tooth wear from bruxism and an unbalanced bite. Even if you grind your teeth habitually, if you have a balanced bite it will cause less damage compared to an uneven bite.
The most basic way to protect your teeth from damage is by wearing a mouth guard. If you suffer from occlusal disease, Dr. Gerald Regni, Jr. will discuss your treatment options with you.
Treatment will begin with a screening for the signs of occlusal disease in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If the disease is present, a full evaluation of your bite may be the next step. This helps to fully diagnose how bad the disease has become.
Most dentists will recommend the use of splint therapy. This is a removable bite or retainer appliance used to help aid in the diagnosis process. It helps to first address the severity of the condition.
Minor occlusal disease may be easily treated with tooth equilibration, which helps to realign the teeth for a better bite. Other cases may require a more precise treatment to help eliminate TMJ and jaw stress. The most complex cases will require reshaping of multiple teeth to restore a proper balance in the bite.
Is There a Cure for Occlusal Disease?
Just like periodontal disease, there isn’t a cure for occlusal disease. However, it can be treated and controlled so that you don’t have to suffer from the pain and the long-term damage it causes when left untreated.
Should You Be Evaluated for Occlusal Disease?
Before undergoing any type of cosmetic dentistry, it’s important to have a full evaluation for occlusal disease done. This will help to ensure you achieve the results you desire from your cosmetic treatment. An unbalanced bite has the ability to destroy beautiful veneers and many other types of cosmetic dentistry.
If you are interested in improving your smile, make sure you phone 215-351-9399 for an appointment and speak with Dr. Gerald Regni, Jr. about an evaluation for occlusal disease first.