Occlusal Diseases


Occlusal disease is a destructive process that can result from a bite in which the teeth are not properly aligned. Forces are applied to the teeth every time they meet.  When the teeth are properly aligned, teeth, muscles, which work the jaw and the jaw joint, are designed to withstand these forces. But when bite discrepancies are present, this imbalance can cause problems with the teeth, muscles, jaw joint or a combination of all three. This disease process is the number one most common dental disorder, and at the same time, is the most undiagnosed dental disorder.

Implant, cosmetic, and general dentist Dr. Erik Mendelsohn warns of some possible symptoms of occlusal disease:

  1. Wear on the biting surface of teeth. Teeth are covered with enamel which is the hardest surface in the body. Once the enamel is worn through the dentin, which is the next tooth layer and softer than enamel, is exposed and wears away faster. This can often be seen when the front teeth wear and look smaller in appearance or back teeth wear and become flat.
  2. Teeth can become loose and move.
  3. Teeth can become sensitive oftentimes to thermal changes such as hot and cold.
  4. Teeth can become sore to biting.
  5. Teeth are more susceptible to fracture.
  6. The muscles, which work the jaws, can become sore and painful. Headaches are a common complaint.
  7. The jaws joints themselves can become symptomatic. Noise such as popping and clicking during eating or jaw movement is common and in some cases pain in the joint is observed.

warningIf occlusal disease is not treated, your TMJteeth grindingteeth clenching, and tooth wear may slowly get worse over time.

If occlusal disease is not treated the problems may slowly get worse over time. Ultimately the teeth wear out prematurely and may be lost. Muscle and jaw problems can continue to cause discomfort. If treatment is delayed, damage becomes more severe and solutions more expensive.

Treatment can include mild reshaping of the teeth to stabilize the bite, restorations of worn teeth, orthodontic treatment (Invisalign or Six Month Smiles) to better align the teeth or a combination of all three. Dr. Erik Mendelsohn may also recommend a dental NTI device to help with nighttime tooth grinding.

If occlusal disease is diagnosed early, progression of the damage can be avoided and treatment can be much simpler.

The key to preventing occlusal disease begins with a thorough examination and diagnosis. Fortunately, this examination is part of a usual and customary dental exam at Serenity Smile Designs: Cosmetic, Implant, & General Dentistry. With early intervention, more complicated problems can be avoided.

Contact us at Egg Harbor Township Office Phone Number (609) 646-1989 for more information about occlusal diseases and what steps you can take to prevent them. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Call us: (609) 646-1989