What is Occlusal Disease?

excessive tooth ware from occlusal disease | Coshocton Dentistry

What is Occlusal Disease?

Occlusal disease is when you have abnormal wear on the teeth. Many people who have this disease attribute the wear and tear to natural aging; however, this is actually not normal and quite destructive to your oral health.

Symptoms of Occlusal Disease

Occlusal disease can often go unnoticed as not all people who have the disease suffer from all of the symptoms. As we age we do have natural functional wear.  Occlusal disease occurs most commonly as a habit called bruxism.  This is a habit that is subconscious, meaning you aren’t aware it even happens.  We also know that these habits are cyclical.  People can grind for several days heavily and then not have signs of wear for a couple of months.  Unfortunately, most patients that have this pattern will clench and grind their entire life.   An occlusal guard is routinely recommended for these cases.

Symptoms Include:

  • Teeth that are worn, cracked or chipped
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold (or both)
  • Pain in the jaw or muscles of the jaw area
  • Can be loud grating noises or silent forceful clenching contact
  • Pain in the jaw or teeth when you chew
  • Facial pain or chronic headaches

Treatment for Occlusal Disease

The cause of bruxism is unknown. When a patient shows signs of occlusal disease, we will recommend they wear an occlusal guard. This is an appliance that will limit clenching, grinding, and help keep your teeth properly aligned to reduce the wearing process.


Oftentimes a referral to your physician can help with stress reduction medications or treatments.
Dietary restrictions of caffeine from coffee, sodas or chocolate have been shown to help
People can also have the “short” teeth rebuilt to a better more functional position to help with the neuromuscular response to a changing bite.


Prevention, Prevention, Prevention.  It is best to catch occlusal disease early as to avoid excessive pain, high costs of extensive treatments, and further issues such as tooth loss.


If you have any of the symptoms listed above or think you may have occlusal disease, contact us at Coshocton today!

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