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Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Occlusal refers to the surfaces of opposing premolar and molar teeth that make contact for chewing.

Detailed Information:
A variety of problems can arise when occlusal surfaces are misaligned, and although dentists are equipped with a number of procedures designed to adjust the bite and restore proper function, some situations require specialists in orthodontics, prosthodontics, and/or oral facial surgery.

Some of the reasons jaws do not occlude or meet are: Developmental defects, orthodontics, numerous fillings or bridges over a period of years, oral surgery, trauma, a poor bite and bruxism (grinding and clenching of the teeth). Occlusal difficulties can also develop when teeth are lost, crowned and bridged. Occlusal problems may result in pain, extraordinary wear on tooth surfaces and fillings, and temporomandibular dysfunction (TMJD) among other problems.

Occlusal equilibration is the mechanical adjustment of teeth, dentures, fillings or other appliances to a position which allows the lower jaw to function on a natural hinge in relation to the upper jaw.

Last updated: 12-May-05

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