How Do We Know What We Create Will Last: Optimizing Occlusion
Occlusion is one of the most important, and perhaps one of the most underappreciated, concepts in dentistry.
In a dental setting, occlusion refers to the contact between teeth or, simply, a patient’s bite. More specifically, occlusion is the way maxillary and mandibular teeth come together during mastication and at rest. Many factors influence occlusion, including, but not limited to, genetics, trauma, disease, and personal habits.
When occlusion is normal, teeth not only function optimally but also display the best esthetics. Proper occlusion can likewise help prevent disease and improve overall well-being. However, when bite misalignment, or malocclusion, occurs, patients are open to a host of problems. Among the issues caused by malocclusion are loosening, chipping, cracking, and fracture of teeth, gumline recession, bruxism, headaches, jaw pain, and dental restoration damage. Not only do these problems interrupt normal oral functions such as chewing and speech, but they can also result in undesirable esthetics and provide pathways to disease.
Cosmetic dental restorations such as veneers and bridges can work wonders when it comes to delivering highly esthetic outcomes. But American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) Member and course instructor, Dr. Nada Albatish, reminds dentists to remember the importance of function during diagnosis and treatment planning. Dr. Albatish owns and operates All Smiles Dental Centre, a multidisciplinary practice near Toronto, Canada, where she specializes in complex and rehabilitative dentistry. In her own words, “function is what creates some of the biggest successes and failures in dentistry.”
As a result, being mindful of occlusion is essential to creating esthetic and functional outcomes that will give patients the comfort and confidence they deserve.
Whether restoring a single tooth or an entire quadrant, mitigating occlusal risk is key to cosmetic and restorative success. In her AACD Virtual Campus course, "Ten Common Occlusion Traps", Dr. Albatish lays out the most frequent occlusal challenges dentists encounter, and reasonable, actionable solutions for each. Over the course’s 11 lessons, Dr. Albatish shows you how to optimize occlusal forces to deliver predictable, long-lasting dentistry and help patients remain healthy, comfortable, and satisfied for years to come.
The first lesson of “Ten Common Occlusion Traps” is available here. If you enjoy this lesson, please visit the AACD website and become a member to access the remaining lessons and earn CE for viewing the course. As a member, you can explore the wealth of resources the Virtual Campus has to offer including courses, whitepapers, and on-demand content from AACD Scientific Sessions, with new content added every month.