Dental occlusion is the way in which your teeth relate to each other. To achieve an ideal occlusion it is necessary to establish a correct relationship between the jaws, and a dental positioning that allows the maintenance of all the oral functions – chewing, speaking, swallowing and aesthetics.
Dental malocclusion can lead to the alteration of one or all of these functions, as well as, in some cases, to Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction in the broad sense is an affection resulting from abnormal functioning of the masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), associated structures or both in the bucco-facial or cervical region.
It can cause head or neck pain, joint noises (clicks), ringing or fullness in the ear, blockage when opening or closing the mouth, limited mouth opening, wear on the teeth and chewing difficulties. It can modify the psychosomatic characteristics of the individual, reducing their quality of life.
Occlusion is the functional relationship between the components of the masticatory system. This system includes the teeth, the gums, the neuromuscular system, the temporomandibular joints and the craniofacial skeleton.
For this reason, occlusion is an essential specialty of dental medicine, responsible for treating or preventing the balance of the stomatognathic system, restoring or maintaining its oral health as well as its general health.
In any individual, over time, the components responsible for occlusion evolve; the craniofacial bones, the teeth themselves and the supporting periodontal and gum tissue adapt according to internal stimuli and external factors.
Occlusion is therefore the result of the dynamic and changing relationships between the different elements of the stomatognathic system.
The following factors are present in an ideal dental occlusion:
In the correct type of dental occlusion it is observed that the teeth of the upper arch contact the teeth of the lower arch.
The incisors of the upper arch are superimposed on the lower incisors;
They should cover them to a maximum of one third of the clinical crown of the lower teeth.
As with the incisors, the edge of the upper canine must also overlap by one third between the lower canine and premolar on both the right and left sides
The upper molars should make contact with the distal half of the lower molar and mesial half of the next molar.
The upper molars should overlap the lower molars by one cusp.
To check whether the occlusion in movement is correct, the contacts in the lateral movements of all the teeth are checked. On the other hand, the teeth of the upper and lower arches must be well aligned, without crowding teeth.
Any irregularity that prevents proper occlusal function is known as malocclusion and requires treatment to correct the bite.