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What is Occlusal Disease?

When a person’s teeth are in proper alignment, the entire chewing system (teeth, muscles, temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, tissues and the jawbone) works in harmony to withstand the forces from actions like chewing, clenching and grinding. However, when the bite is imbalanced and forces aren’t evenly distributed, as with occlusal disease, there are serious oral health consequences and it can be uncomfortable and, at times, debilitating.
Occlusal disease is a condition where the teeth come together in a way that causes the destruction of the teeth and surrounding bone and tissues, which has a huge impact not only the esthetics of your smile but also its function. It’s actually just as damaging as tooth decay and periodontal disease, yet much less understood. If not treated, occlusal disease may lead to excessive premature wear of the teeth, significant sensitivity, impaired chewing, TMJ and facial muscle pain, inflammatory periodontitis, the need for frequent restorative procedures and, in the worst cases, tooth loss.
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The Signs of
Occlusal Disease
Occlusal disease is sometimes called a “silent” oral disease because people tend to chalk up the wear and damage to natural aging since it occurs slowly over time and it frequently goes undiagnosed.
The seven signs of occlusal disease are:
  1. Gum recession
  2. Abfractions (loss of tooth structure just below the gum line)
  3. Wear facets on the teeth
  4. Fracture lines on the teeth
  5. Broken restorations
  6. Fractured teeth
  7. Tooth mobility
What is Invisalign
Occlusal Disease Patient
Occlusal Disease

Treating occlusal disease starts with an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, not all dentists have expertise in the area and occasionally attribute the symptoms to other conditions, which leads to patients undergoing ineffective, unnecessary procedures. Dr. Gutierrez and Dr. Devoti have the training and experience to perform a comprehensive occlusal analysis through a clinical examination, impressions and other records. We always look for signs of occlusal disease prior to major restorative or cosmetic work because it will damage your restorations and dramatically reduce their lifespan. If we determine you have occlusal disease, we can use a variety of methods to manage it and prevent any further destruction.

At MDCS, we start with a conservative approach, such as creating a custom nightguard or reshaping the bite through a gentle procedure known as occlusal equilibration. For more serious occlusal disease, extensive restorative treatment or Invisalign treatment may be indicated, either alone or in conjunction with other options. Our team will explain your diagnosis and treatment options in detail so that you can make informed decisions.

Did You Know Icon
There are seven main signs and symptoms of occlusal disease.
As much as 87% of the population may have some degree of occlusal disease.
The initial screening for occlusal disease adds no more than three to five minutes to a regular dental exam.
Learn more about occlusal disease and how we can help balance your bite.