A Beginner's Guide To Occlusal Equilibration

Many people don't realize what a large part chewing habits play in the overall health of your teeth. Uneven chewing stress can lead to chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged teeth. If you would like to learn more about how to avoid such issues, read on. This article will provide an overview of the corrective process known as occlusal equilibration.

The Basics

Ideally, your jaw and teeth should be oriented such that, when you eat, an even chewing force is distributed among all of your teeth. Depending on its severity, an uneven chewing force can lead to problems such as:

  • jaw muscle fatigue
  • grinding, clicking, or popping noises from the jaw joints
  • dental restorations such as fillings and inlays coming loose
  • hairline cracks in tooth enamel

Occlusal equilibration is a technique in which a dentist makes small changes to the structure of your teeth in order to promote an even, well-distributed chewing force.

The Procedure

The first phase of the occlusal equilibration process involves determining your jaw's stable position, which is formally known as the centric relation position. In this position, the jaw muscles are completely at rest. You dentist will find this position through a technique known as bimanual manipulation. In simple terms, this means that your dentist will manually move your jaw around until they are able to determine the ideal position.

Next, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth using a bite registration material. This soft material will serve as the mold for a permanent model made out of dental plaster. With this model, your dentist will be able to determine the adjustments that need to be made in order to produce a consistently even contact between your upper and lower teeth.

During the adjustment phase, your dentist will remove minute portions of enamel from the surfaces of certain teeth. In the event that a larger amount of tooth structure needs to be removed, it may be necessary to install an onlay or crown over the tooth in question. Likewise, severe cases of dental malocclusion--that is, teeth that don't come together properly--are sometimes treated with the use of orthodontic devices that help to reposition the jaw.

Precipitating Factors

The need for occlusal equilibration often goes undetected until some complicating problem arises. For instance, uneven bite force may lead to a persistent toothache. Alternately, you may have noticed that one or more of your teeth seem to vibrate when chewing--a condition known as fremitus. Either of these symptoms may indicate the need for an occlusal equilibration.

For more information, contact Renovo Endodontic Studio or a similar location.