Most of the time, when we think of having alignment issues with our teeth, we think about traditional braces and clear aligners. However, other teeth alignment issues require an entirely different approach. For instance, when the contact points of your teeth do not sit properly, this causes muscle contraction in the mouth and jaw and also causes bite-related issues. This is typically called malocclusion, and one of the most effective ways to correct it is not with braces but with an occlusal adjustment.
An occlusal adjustment is a procedure that improves the contact points and patterns of your teeth and changes and corrects the muscle response in the mouth when talking or chewing.
When the strike points of the teeth are off significantly, it can make it difficult to talk and chew properly and put unnecessary strain on the masticatory muscles of the mouth. Over time this can result in several issues with oral health.
The procedure, also called a bite adjustment or occlusal equilibration, involves correcting how the teeth make contact with one another. This is usually done by grinding down selective surfaces of specific teeth to where the resting position of the teeth is correct, and there are no issues when opening or closing the mouth to chew or talk.
In some cases, this may only involve a bit of grinding on the front-facing teeth to smooth them out. In other cases, it may involve significant resurfacing of several teeth to get the desired results. In other cases, some teeth may need to be entirely reshaped to correct the contact issue and position the teeth properly.
The most obvious reason to get an occlusal adjustment is if you have already been diagnosed with a condition such as malocclusion. However, suppose you experience symptoms such as tightening of the muscles in the mouth when you chew or talk. If you have a severe difference in where your teeth connect that feels unnatural, or you’re worried about the overall alignment, then you may need an occlusal adjustment.
Talking with your dentist about your overall oral health and any pain or discomfort you may be feeling is important. If there are alignment issues, your dentist can point them out, and if they are not the kind that requires braces, then you may be a candidate for this type of treatment instead.