Occlusal problems or bite problems occur when the teeth do not fit together as they close together. If the teeth do not hit or mesh together correctly, one or more
of the following can happen:
- The teeth will get loose (like rocking a fence post in the ground).
This can cause the loss of the tooth directly or indirectly by making the tooth
more susceptible to gum disease and bone loss in the presence of periodontal
- The teeth will eventually break, especially if they have large fillings that
weaken them. Mercury/silver filling material expands over time and actually
causes fractures of otherwise healthy and normal tooth structure.
- The teeth will wear down (sometimes clear to the gum) or may cause damage
to the jaw joints (TMJ) and cause head pain or headaches.
- Continued excess forces on teeth can cause chronic inflammation of the
pulp (nerve) tissue. This can be present itself as sensitive teeth,
either a single tooth or an entire mouth may be affected. The accumulated
trauma to the teeth can cause the nerve tissue to die. The necrotic
(dead) nerve tissue is then like gangrene and can spread into the bone around
the end of the tooth. The only treatment available at this point is
extraction or root canal therapy.
Treatment of Occlusal Problems
Treating bite problems is specific to the individual. Occlusal problems may be solved as simply as shaving off some enamel from a single sensitive tooth to relieve excess pressure. Other patient may require full mouth reconstructive dentistry or orthodontics or a combination of the two. Initial treatment consists of the fabrication of a orthotic, a plastic mouthpiece worn 24 hours a day. Since the plastic of the mouthpiece is softer than the enamel of the teeth, the orthotic will wear and not your teeth.