What is Occlusion and Why Does It Matter?


Dental Model O'Fallon ILHave you ever heard your dentist use the term “occlusion” or “malocclusion” during one of your appointments? If you are not familiar with this word, it essentially refers to your bite, or the way your top teeth fit on your bottom teeth when you close your mouth. Most commonly, malocclusion (or a “bad bite) is discussed alongside orthodontic treatment options.

Why Does Occlusion Matter?

The truth is, the way your top and bottom teeth fit together can have a major impact on your overall dental health. In fact, the following dental issues are associated with a misaligned bite:

  • Broken, cracked or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth or shifting teeth
  • Damage to dental restorations (crowns, bridges, etc)
  • Receding gums
  • Jaw Pain
  • Headaches

How Can I Avoid a Bad Bite?

Unfortunately, malocclusion can be caused by several factors, and most of them are not within your control. There are times when patients are born with a bad bite, while others experience misalignment after an accident or when a tooth goes missing. It is even common for your teeth grinding habit to gradually produce misalignment over time. Malocclusion may involve an under bite, over bite or cross bite.

The good news is that there are treatment options to restore proper occlusion to your smile. Depending on the severity and cause of your misalignment, you may benefit from an orthodontic appliance, nighttime mouthguard or other treatment.

Don’t Neglect Symptoms of Malocclusion

The most important thing you can do is call your dentist at the first sign of malocclusion, as the earlier it is detected, the quicker and more conservatively your bite can be treated. At Soft Touch Dentistry, we proudly offer clear and fast orthodontic treatment options as well as a complete menu of services in general dental care. If you suffer from pain when you clench your teeth together, worn down teeth or jaw discomfort, please call our office today so that we can evaluate your bite.

Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050