Occlusal Disease Can Kill Your Smile
Despite modern technology and the advances with screening processes, one of the most common and debilitating diseases left untreated by dentists is occlusal disease. Most of us have never even heard this term before. So what is occlusal disease?
Occlusal is a dental term describing the alignment of your upper and lower teeth when you close your jaw. Occlusal disease means that the alignment is poor and that your bite is off. This disease is often undetected or overlooked, people will dismiss the symptoms as just natural aging or wearing of teeth. However, left untreated, occlusal disease can result in major dental issues. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:
Temperature and Biting Sensitivity
Occasional tenderness to ice cold water is somewhat normal. Tenderness while simply brushing or rinsing is a more evident sign that your teeth are out of balance, especially when you don’t have cavities or broken teeth.
Abfractions are small cracks or notches near the gumline. These were once thought to be caused by brushing too aggressively at the gumline with hard bristles and gritty pastes, but now we know that abfractions are a symptom of occlusal disease.
This is a medical term used to describe loose teeth. All teeth have a small amount of mobility so what we can chew without damaging our teeth. Teeth also become naturally looser so it can be hard to determine when your teeth become unnaturally mobile without consulting a dentist.
If you are brushing and flossing everyday, don’t smoke, and routinely get your teeth cleaned as suggested and still have unexplained bone loss, the underlying problem may not be your habits. Bone forming cells need a certain balance in the pressure that triggers their action in your jaw. Too little pressure and they migrate elsewhere. Too much and they get stressed out.
Abnormal Wear and Tear
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. The muscles in your face and head generate around 600 pounds of force as you close your jaw. If your teeth are not all hitting at the same time due to your bite being off, it can cause a lot of damage, including potential damage to your jaw joints. The damage not only applies to to the teeth that hit first, but also to all of the others involved in the aftermath.
As you can see, it is important that all of your teeth hit together evenly and at the same time. A “bad bite” caused by occlusal disease can lead to excessive or unnaturally fast tooth wear. Flattening of teeth that are normally pointed, such as your canine teeth, could also mean that you are grinding your teeth and is another a symptom or sign. Other signs of abnormal wear and tear on the teeth include shifting, rotating, separating, chipping and cracking. Occlusal exams are key in stopping the disease and repairing the damage. Here at Daxon Dentistry we perform these exams during every hygiene visit and in all new patient exams.
Part of having a healthy smile is directly related to how your upper and lower jaw work with each other. Leading resources like Dentistry Today and experts like Dr. Daxon understand that without a stable bite, even the most beautiful teeth will break down.
Good dentists always check for signs of occlusal disease. Great dentists take it a step further by providing education and treatment options to their patients. We are proud to offer our patients a special bite analysis that can pinpoint the problem areas and allow for a step-by-step resolution.