|This painless procedure makes
corrections to the bite by means of a dental drill using a fine stone, not at all like the
one for drilling out cavities. A fine red silk ribbon is usually placed between the
teeth to mark where the teeth are touching; the incorrect markings are then ground off by
What are some of the SIGNS that
may justify an occlusal adjustment:
- Loose or shifting teeth: sometimes one sign is increased
spacing between the upper front teeth. Occassionally, you may feel that your teeth do not
- Grinding or clenching of your teeth: this habit (usually
stress-related) can cause an unevenly distributed and excessive biting force on several of
your teeth and subsequently on the bone support which holds the teeth in your jaw.
- Headache may sometimes
accompany the grinding or clenching of your teeth. The headache in most of these
cases will occur in the temporal regions of your head (lateral to the eyes.
- PAIN: One or more teeth may hurt
upon eating or biting down normally. This is usually caused by the eruption of a
tooth beyond the normal plane of the bite, such that only one or two teeth contact
- Sensitivity to temperature (hot, but mostly cold). Again
this is due to the premature contact between one or more teeth. With the knowledge
that one can bite with a force of up to 200 pounds per square inch, the nerve within
the tooth gets irritated and hyper-sensitive.
What are some additional modes of therapy along
with an occclusal adjustment:
- Construction or fabrication of a Hawley Bite Plane .
This is especially indicated when teeth are very loose and to resolve headaches
associated with grinding of the teeth.
- Splinting: If one or more teeth are very loose such that
functioning (chewing) becomes difficult, the loose teeth can be "tied" to the
adjacent stronger teeth by means of a splint. A material called Ribbond (which
is a Kevlar material) is placed just underneath the surfaces of the teeth that are to be
splinted and subsequently sealed with a composite filling material. This technique
is not considered permanent in that over time it can detach, but it is often
cost-effective until an alternate solution can be found.
- Medication: Muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory
medications can be used if the jaw muscles are tight, esp. during the night or when
|Richard Mao, D.M.D.
Practice Limited to Periodontics
|402 Severn Bldg.
8600 La Salle Rd.
Towson, Md. 21286
|707 N.Hickory Ave.
Bel Air, Md. 21014