When your teeth and jaws aren’t perfectly positioned in relation to each other, it’s known as malocclusion. In this article, we discuss all the situations in which you may need occlusal bite adjustment and what you can expect from the occlusal adjustment complete procedure.
Why is Occlusal Bite Adjustment Needed?
Occlusal bite adjustment may be necessary for the following reasons:
- To remove interferences that may occur after certain dental treatments like fillings, crowns, bridges, or tooth extractions.
- It may be necessary if you have a tooth that fractures repeatedly.
- Sometimes, it’s necessary before undergoing major prosthetic changes in your teeth structures.
- Malocclusion is a condition that prevents your jaws from sliding into their original location correctly. As a result of this, the muscles in your jaws and neck are never relaxed, which can result in headaches, toothaches, and neck pains. In some cases, people also develop bruxism and teeth grinding symptoms because of malocclusion, which, in turn, can lead to receding gums and loss of enamel. In this case, occlusal bite adjustment becomes necessary.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a condition in which your jaws click when you move them because they aren’t able to relax. If you suffer from this condition, you may need occlusal bite adjustment.
- Bite adjustment after Invisalign, crown placement, root canal, or fillings may also be necessary.
Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Occlusal Adjustment
When you schedule an appointment with your dentist, they will first check for signs of malocclusion. The following are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- The jaws don’t close evenly on both sides.
- Popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing your jaws, which is also a sign of temporomandibular joint condition.
- Fractured tooth.
- Wearing away of the enamel.
- Signs of bruxism such as chipped teeth, headaches, neck pains, etc.
If you display signs of malocclusion, the dentist will take an impression of your bite on a thin piece of paper to see which areas of your teeth make contact. This will give them a blueprint to curate a treatment plan and decide how much of the tooth needs to be removed to fix the interferences.
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Occlusal Adjustment Complete Procedure
The following steps are involved in the occlusal adjustment complete procedure:
- The patient reclines and brings their teeth together to identify which side of their teeth is making contact first.
- The dentist confirms the site of the first contact with a shim stock and also identifies it with a double-sided articulating paper.
- The dentist uses fine diamond or carbide burs to reshape the side that’s making contact. They will be reshaped either as a cusp tip or a flat surface, depending on the location of the contact.
- The dentist continues adjusting teeth until the maximum number of teeth come together evenly. The dentist will also ensure only light and minimal contact between the anterior teeth.
- The dentist again takes an impression of the anterior and posterior teeth to determine if they’re in the correct position. Contact between posterior teeth should be a lot more than that between the anterior teeth.
Other Types of Occlusal Adjustments
Tooth shaping, as described above, is usually done if your bite is uneven. However, there are other types of occlusal adjustment treatments available as well.
Misaligned teeth can also be fixed with retainers, Invisalign braces, etc. These braces attach to the teeth and gently apply pressure on them over an extended period to move them in the desired location. In this case, the patients have to wear braces for a year or more and it’s also a very inconvenient and uncomfortable process.
Teeth grinding and bruxism can worsen your malocclusion. As such, you can wear oral devices called splints to prevent bruxism and stop your malocclusion from worsening. These are generally only worn at night and they’re fairly comfortable.
In some cases, the patient’s mouth may have to be reconstructed either partially or completely. In this case, you may need new fillings, tooth reshaping, and restorative procedures in the form of new implants, crowns, bridges, etc. This entire procedure would be done over the course of several months — while it takes a long time, most patients are extremely happy with the final results.
Frequently Asked Questions about Occlusal Adjustment
What kind of treatment provided by the cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist can provide a large number of different treatments such as dental implants, occlusal adjustment, dental crowns and bridges, fillings, veneers, etc.
Is there a way to repair ground teeth?
Once your enamel wears off, it’s not possible for them to come back. As such, the best way to repair ground teeth is to get dental crowns that can cover the ground tooth completely.
How much does enameloplasty cost?
Enameloplasty is a procedure in which the dentist will remove parts of your tooth’s enamel to change its shape. This procedure may cost between $50 and $300.
How to treat teeth grinding?
If you’re suffering from teeth grinding, you can wear a night guard or mouth guard that gives you a soft cushion that prevents the bruxism from damaging your teeth.
How does a dentist treat a cavity between molars?
If there’s a cavity between molars, the dentist will have to identify its location, drill down on the teeth to remove the decay, clean the cavity, and then fill it with materials like porcelain, ceramic, or base metal amalgam.