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Occlusion

The meaning of the difference between the classical and contemporary approach to the topic of orthodontic treatment (distinction between a bite and an occlusion) can be found in the "Orthodontics" tab. There are also helpful tips on how orthodontics information is located on our website.

To emphasize the difference between the static (bite) and dynamic (occlusion) systems, I would like to remind you that taking into account the function of the temporomandibular joints and muscles of the masticatory organ in diagnostics and orthodontic treatment is of great importance for the final success.

Due to the fact that the subject of occlusion is relatively new (also among dentists), I would like to provide you with basic information on this subject, so that you can assess for yourself whether occlusion consultation is recommended in your case. It is possible that you are concerned with problems that nobody has ever found solutions to, and whose sources should be looked for in occlusion disorders.

If some of the following issues apply to you:

- pain, discomfort, crackling, discomfort in the temporomandibular joints, spontaneous or during chewing,

- trouble opening the mouth wide (the biological standard says that everyone should be able to open their mouth at the width of three fingers, index middle and ring finger positioned vertically)

- prolonged chewing or biting of hard foods causes temporomandibular joint discomfort or muscle pain

- frequent and persistent headaches

 -pain or tension in the neck or back

- buzzing, ringing in the ears, periods of weakness or hearing loss

- problems sleeping, concentration of attention and memory

- snoring, which may occur with sleep apnea (considered a life-threatening condition),

and in addition you will find (or your dentist will) the following symptoms:

- anterior or lateral teeth wear

- tooth displacement or tilting (also in the vicinity of missing teeth)

- loosening of the teeth and bare root (especially without gingivitis)

- soreness when biting, especially without signs of tooth decay or large dental fillings

 

then please read the further information carefully and consider occlusive consultation.

It should be emphasized that these general symptoms may also accompany other health problems and it may be necessary to consult other specialists such as: ENT specialist (hearing or breathing disorders), physiotherapist,  (posture disorders and muscle tension pain), neurologist (headache), psychiatrist or psychotherapist (especially during periods of chronic stress - psychosomatic factor), speech therapist (problems with articulation) and dentist (toothache or periodontal problems).

The most important thing for our body is its proper functioning. The correlation between the function and structure (morphology) of organs and tissues is very close. The temporomandibular joint is associated with important functions such as food intake (biting, chewing, swallowing) and speech (articulation, communication) and stress management (releasing emotional tension, "clenching teeth"). Therefore, some specialists believe that this is the most important joint in the whole body because its complete immobilization basically makes life impossible.

It is also the only two-floor joint in our body because between the bones forming it there is a fibrous articular disc dividing it into the lower floor (rotational movement) and the upper floor (extending movement). The articular disc is necessary for the proper functioning of the joint (chewing, speech) and for protecting the bone surface (very high muscle strength). Its displacement or damage can lead to permanent and most often irreversible damage to the condyle of the jaw. The confirmation of the impact of disc's actions (functions) on the structure (morphology) is indicated by the fact that a human being has no articular disc at birth. It is formed from the upper lateral pterygoid tendon in connection with the development of chewing and articulation. Occurrence of occlusive disorders related to the structure and function of the masticatory organ is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors (associated with the influence of various elements on the development of the body).

Factors affecting the development of the masticatory organ (or modifying its structure) include: the method of feeding during infancy, the way of laying the head during sleep in children (pillow height), the introduction of solid foods (avoiding hard food), caring for oral hygiene (prevention of dental caries and gum disease), parafunctions (thumb sucking, lip pulling or biting, mouth breathing, sleeping with open mouth, biting objects e.g. crayons, pens, nail biting, prolonged chewing gum), incorrect working position, physical inactivity , disturbed proportion of working time, sleep and rest, unhealthy lifestyle (diet, addictions and consequently developing metabolic syndrome X), untreated malocclusion.

As a result of the development of the occlusive problem, narrowing of airway  often occurs (a receding mandible or deep bite reduce the space for the tongue, which  narrows the airway cross-section when receding), which reduces oxygenation of the body (this may be accompanied by snoring and sleep apnea). Such situation activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the secretion of adrenaline to stimulate the muscular system and accelerate breathing. Unfortunately, other muscle groups, including chewing muscles, are also stimulated. This leads to night clenching of teeth (centric bruxism) or gnashing (eccentric bruxism). This may result in tooth wear, root exposure, bone hyperplasia at the roots of the teeth (exostosis), muscle tension pain and muscle hypertrophy, temporomandibular joint damage , movement restriction and other symptoms (listed at the beginning of this tab), which in turn aggravates the occlusive problem ("vicious circle" mechanism).

Due to the broad connection between occlusion disorder and the functioning of the whole body, some doctors recognize orthodontics as a branch of medicine and not just dentistry. Therefore, a holistic approach (which we apply in our surgery) is very important and it is justified to take into consideration  the patient's living and working conditions, forms of relaxation, physical activity, addictions (chewing gum, smoking cigarettes) and a proper diet as well as the impact of chronic stress in the process of diagnosis and treatment.

To sum up, it should be emphasized that the direct reason for occlusion disorders is incorrect (excessive, asymmetrical) operation of chewing muscles due to the direction of their action (up and back). Factors that facilitate the occurrence of occlusion disorders are: malocclusion, parafunctions (see above), missing teeth or abrasions (just like the tire tread, which protects against slipping so the correct contact between the matched upper and lower teeth  prevents the posterior mandible movement caused by the masseter and temporal muscles  ). As a trivia one can mention the fact that the animals do not have problems with the temporomandibular joints. Scissor bite on the fangs protects them from this. As a result of human speech development, the scissor bite has disappeared.

The development of research into occlusion has led, among other things, to the development of various techniques for determining the correct arrangement in the temporomandibular joint (the relationship between the jaw and mandible) (Dawson's manoeuvre, Cois deprogrammer and many others). The variety of techniques demonstrates the lack of unequivocal advantages of any of them. In orthodontics, the most convincing because of the paramount importance of proper function seems to be the technique of functional balance taking into account not only the relationship between bones and the articular disc but also the work of muscles (physiotherapeutic aspect). The procedure used in our surgery involves establishing the correct relationship in the joint after muscle relaxation (Aqualizer deprogrammer and physiotherapy procedures). For the treatment of occlusive disorders, a special type of occlusal splint is constructed (in the active balance system), which also allows treatment with fixed braces. Occlusal splint cures occlusion disorder. To obtain a lasting effect by means of orthodontic treatment and/or prosthetics the alignment of teeth should be changed so that the balance obtained using the splint is maintained on the patient's own teeth. To this end, we cooperate with many experienced specialists in various fields of dentistry ("Cooperation with specialists" tab).

For more information, I encourage you to read the other tabs on our website.