Occlusal (Bite) Adjustment
This procedure makes corrections to the bite associated with loose, shifting teeth or teeth that are biting
too hard. Balancing and evenly distributing the biting and chewing forces on a tooth reduces the looseness and relieves excessive pressures on the supporting gum and bone structures.
This painless procedure makes corrections to the bite by means of a
dental drill using a fine stone, not at all like the one for drilling out cavities
We often use the T-Scan Computer-Based Occlusal Analysis to evaluate
if extensive adjustment is needed. We record 100 progressive bite registrations per minute over a 4 to 8 sec time frame as we have you bite
and hold, bite and slide left, bite and slide right and finally bite and slide your teeth forward. Click here for more information on T-Scan.
A fine red/blue mylar film is usually placed between the teeth to mark
where the teeth are touching; the incorrect markings are then ground off by a fine finishing bur and repolishing with rubber points with impregnated diamond paste.
What are some of the SIGNS that may justify an occlusal adjustment:
- Loose or shifting teeth: sometimes one sign is increased
spacing between the upper front teeth. Occasionally, you may feel that your teeth do not hit correctly.
- Grinding or clenching of your teeth: this habit (usually stress
-related) can cause an unevenly distributed and excessive biting force on several of your teeth and subsequently on the bone support which holds the teeth in your jaw.
- Headache may sometimes accompany the grinding or clenching
of your teeth. The headache in most of these cases will occur in the temporal regions of your head (lateral to the eyes.
- PAIN: One or more teeth may hurt upon eating or biting down
normally. This is usually caused by the eruption of a tooth beyond the normal plane of the bite, such that only one or two teeth contact prematurely.
- Sensitivity to temperature (sometimes hot, but mostly cold).
Again this is due to the premature contact between one or more teeth. With the knowledge that one can bite with a force of up to 200 pounds per square inch, the nerve within the tooth gets
irritated and hypersensitive.
What are some additional modes of therapy along with an occlusal adjustment:
- Construction or fabrication of a Hawley Bite Plane . This is
especially indicated when teeth are very loose and to resolve headaches associated with grinding of the teeth.
- Splinting: If one or more teeth are very loose such that functioning
(chewing) becomes difficult, the loose teeth can be "tied" to the adjacent stronger teeth by means of a splint. A material called
Ribbond (which is a Kevlar material) is placed just underneath the surfaces of the teeth that are to be splinted and subsequently sealed with a composite filling material. This technique is not
considered permanent in that over time it can detach, but it is often cost-effective until an alternate solution can be found.
- Medication: Muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory medications can
be used if the jaw muscles are tight, esp. during the night or when wakening up from sleep.