Occlusal trauma is the damage to teeth when an excessive force is acted upon them and they do not align properly.
|Secondary occlusal trauma on X-ray film displays two lone-standing mandibular teeth, the lower left first premolar and canine. As the remnants of a once full complement of 16 lower teeth, these two teeth have been alone in opposing the forces associated with mastication for some time, as can be evidenced by the widened PDL surrounding the premolar. Because this trauma is occurring on teeth that have 30-50% bone loss, this would be classified as secondary.|
|Specialty||Dentistry, ENT surgery|
When the jaws close, for instance during chewing or at rest, the relationship between the opposing teeth is referred to as occlusion. When trauma, disease or dental treatment alters occlusion by changing the biting surface of any of the teeth, the teeth will come together differently, and their occlusion will change. When that change has a negative effect on how the teeth occlude, this may cause tenderness, pain, and damage to or movement of the teeth. This is called traumatic occlusion.
Signs and symptoms
- Widening of the periodontal ligament, or PDL (also serves as a very common radiographic feature)
- Bone resorption
- Cementum loss and tears
Primary vs. secondary
There are two types of occlusal trauma, primary and secondary.
Primary occlusal trauma occurs when greater than normal occlusal forces are placed on teeth, as in the case of parafunctional habits, such as bruxism or various chewing or biting habits, including but not limited to those involving fingernails and pencils or pens.
- Frequency and
Primary occlusal trauma will occur when there is a normal periodontal attachment apparatus and, thus, no periodontal disease.
Secondary occlusal trauma occurs when normal or excessive occlusal forces are placed on teeth with compromised periodontal attachment, thus contributing harm to an already damaged system. As stated, secondary occlusal trauma occurs when there is a compromised periodontal attachment and, thus, a pre-existing periodontal condition.
Cause and treatment
Teeth are constantly subject to both horizontal and vertical occlusal forces. With the center of rotation of the tooth acting as a fulcrum, the surface of bone adjacent to the pressured side of the tooth will undergo resorption and disappear, while the surface of bone adjacent to the tensioned side of the tooth will undergo apposition and increase in volume.
In both primary and secondary occlusal trauma, tooth mobility might develop over time, with it occurring earlier and being more prevalent in secondary occlusal trauma. To treat mobility due to primary occlusal trauma, the cause of the trauma must be eliminated. Likewise for teeth subject to secondary occlusal trauma, though these teeth may also require splinting together to the adjacent teeth so as to eliminate their mobility.
In primary occlusal trauma, the cause of the mobility was the excessive force being applied to a tooth with a normal attachment apparatus, otherwise known as a periodontally-uninvolved tooth. The approach should be to eliminate the cause of the pain and mobility by determining the causes and removing them; the mobile tooth or teeth will soon cease exhibiting mobility. This could involve removing a high spot on a recently restored tooth, or even a high spot on a non-recently restored tooth that perhaps moved into hyperocclusion. It could also involve altering one's parafunctional habits, such as refraining from chewing on pens or biting one's fingernails. For a bruxer, treatment of the patient's primary occlusal trauma could involve selective grinding of certain interarch tooth contacts or perhaps employing a nightguard to protect the teeth from the greater than normal occlusal forces of the patient's parafunctional habit. For someone who is missing enough teeth in non-strategic positions so that the remaining teeth are forced to endure a greater per square inch occlusal force, treatment might include restoration with either a removable prosthesis or implant-supported crown or bridge.
In secondary occlusal trauma, simply removing the "high spots" or selective grinding of the teeth will not eliminate the problem, because the teeth are already periodontally involved. After splinting the teeth to eliminate the mobility, the cause of the mobility (in other words, the loss of clinical attachment and bone) must be managed; this is achieved through surgical periodontal procedures such as soft tissue and bone grafts, as well as restoration of edentulous areas. As with primary occlusal trauma, treatment may include either a removable prosthesis or implant-supported crown or bridge.
- Bibb, CA: Occlusal Evaluation and Therapy in the Management of Periodontal Disease. In Newman, MG; Takei, HH; Carranza, FA; editors: Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002. pages 698-701.
- Hinrichs, JE: Occlusal The Role of Dental Calculus and Other Predisposing Factors. In Newman, MG; Takei, HH; Carranza, FA; editors: Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002. page 192.
- traumatogenic occlusion - definition of traumatogenic occlusion in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia
- Carranza, FA: Bone Loss and Patterns of Bone Destructions. In Newman, MG; Takei, HH; Carranza, FA; editors: Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002. page 362.
- Trauma from Occlusion Handout, Dr. Michael Deasy, Department of Periodontics, NJDS 2007. page 5
- Trauma from Occlusion Handout, Dr. Michael Deasy, Department of Periodontics, NJDS 2007. page 12
- Dave Rupprecht, "Trauma from Occlusion: a Review", Naval Postgraduate Dental School National Naval Dental Center, January 2004, Vol 26, No. 1
- Trauma from Occlusion Handout, Dr. Michael Deasy, Department of Periodontics, NJDS 2007. page 7
- Wentz et al. J Perio, 1958
- Trauma from Occlusion Handout, Dr. Michael Deasy, Department of Periodontics, NJDS 2007. page 14
- Carranza, FA; Bernard, GW: The Tooth-Supporting Structures. In Newman, MG; Takei, HH; Carranza, FA; editors: Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002. page 53.
- Trauma from Occlusion Handout, Dr. Michael Deasy, Department of Periodontics, NJDS 2007. page 4