An occlusion is basically the noun form of the word “occlusal,” which we already know is a term describing your bite. An occlusion is the way your bite is uniquely designed, how your teeth come down on each other and fit into specific grooves to properly chew.

However, an occlusion does not merely describe how the teeth fit together because — what have we learned? — the chewing system involves the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joints… your jaw joints), jaw bones, muscles, ligaments, and all other soft tissues in your mouth. With the ideal occlusion, every one of these elements works with the others to create comfort, harmony, and efficiency in your chewing. If any of these elements is not functioning to its best potential, however, even the smallest hindrance can cause pain, injury, disease, and other problems. This is called a malocclusion and will be covered in tomorrow’s post.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

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