5 Signs and Symptoms of Occlusal Disease

Occlusal disease is a topic that is just starting to gain some traction in the dental and medical community. This is a disease that can be hard to understand.

In order to understand it more clearly, we will first take the definition of occlusion from the American Dental Association: "Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) teeth." This means that occlusal disease is a set of symptoms or problems that happen during or because of biting, chewing or contact between the upper and lower teeth.

Symptoms of occlusal disease

1. Facial pain

When affected by occlusal disease, your teeth are a different shape than what they should be for good chewing technique. So without thinking, you might be chewing in an unnatural or irregular way. This would cause the muscles of your face to strain and cause general muscle pain in your face. You might also experience joint pain in your jaw.

2. Headaches

This is a symptom that many people do not mention to their dentist. However, it is involved in almost every kind of dental disease and you should mention headaches at every visit. Headaches are often caused by tired muscles or grinding that can be associated with occlusal diseases.

3. Tired facial muscles

Occlusal disease causes a restructuring of the teeth and it can become more difficult to chew your food effectively. This means that you might be chewing for longer and longer, which will make your jaw muscles tired.

4. Tooth sensitivity

Constant wear-and-tear can shave off the enamel of your teeth and expose the inner pulp to the elements. This will make your teeth much more sensitive to temperature and the elements.

5. Vibrations (Fremitus)

A fremitus is usually caused by occlusal trauma, or when two occlusive teeth are smashing together harder than they should be. Your dentist can touch the side of your mouth and feel these vibrations.

Causes of occlusal disease

To further help understand how occlusal disease can occur, the following are some of the causes of this condition:

Dental attrition

Attrition is wear resulting from tooth-on-tooth contact. You chew a lot in your lifetime, and eventually, the enamel starts to wear down. This is a normal part of the aging process and is also a common issue for people with bruxism (teeth grinding).

Abrasion

This is the loss of enamel from using your teeth for things other than eating. For example, using your teeth to remove bottle tops, hold pins or to bite your nails.

Toothpaste abrasion

This is a version of abrasion that involves brushing too hard. Try to use a gentle brushing motion on your teeth to avoid damaging them.

Erosion

Erosion is when your teeth wear away from acidic substances that are not caused by bacteria. This usually includes carbonated drinks and acidic fruit juices.

Are you experiencing some of these symptoms?

Talk to your dentist as soon as possible. You may need some cosmetic dental or orthodontic work to fix the damage and return your bite to normal. If you have any questions, our professional office staff is happy to speak with you.

Request an appointment here: https://whiteflintfamilydental.com or call White Flint Family Dental at (301) 273-1085 for an appointment in our Rockville office.

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