This is a painless procedure to do a slight reshaping of the biting surfaces of the teeth in order to correct the alignment of the bite, and develop a correct and comfortable relationship between the teeth, jaw muscles, and temporal mandibular joints (TMJ).

In a perfect “bite,” when you close your mouth, your top teeth should evenly touch your bottom teeth, and should do it at the same time and with equal pressure.  If some teeth touch harder than others, your bite may be malocclusioned and needing an occlusal adjustment to correct the bite and provide normal chewing ability, and prevent a multitude of dental disorders such as.

  • Chipping and fracturing of teeth
  • Premature wearing of teeth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Too many teeth
  • Mild tooth pain progressing to severe pain and need for a root canal
  • Teeth sensitive to heat and cold
  • Teeth becoming crowded and cracked
  • Worsening of periodontal disease
  • Bone recession
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems
  • Teeth grinding or clenching, often at night while sleeping, which puts pressure on teeth, damages enamel and causes bite problems
  • Clicking noise when opening and closing your jaw
  • Speech problems
  • Trauma
  • Nerve or muscle disorders or damage
  • Damage to dental implants or dentures

In addition to symptoms and causes that you may directly relate to your mouth, gums or teeth, you may also suffer:

  • Headaches — You may not associate it with your bite problem.  They may not seem serious unless they are migraines which can easily become debilitating.
  • Jaws that constantly feel like they are tired.
  • Muscle spasms in your neck or face.
  • Your face may be sensitive to touch and/or temperature.
  • Self-consciousness — The condition and appearance of your teeth may keep you from smiling.

An occlusal adjustment treats the problem that is causing the misaligned bite. The specific treatment depends on the cause and symptoms of the bite problem.

  1. Reshaping the biting surfaces of the teeth: This involves drilling and filing the misshapen or uneven and rough surfaces of the tooth. This may involve reshaping one tooth or many teeth. Your dentist will check your bite until the teeth have been reshaped and come together correctly when you bite down.
  2. Reconstruction: The dentist will repair broken and cracked teeth and fill cavities. In some cases, old fillings may need to be removed and replaced with new ones. You may need one or more crowns or your dentist may use bonding agents for repairing damaged teeth. The purpose is to do everything that needs to be done to restore your teeth and your bite to a healthy status.
  3. Splints or night guards: Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth so they can be custom made to fit in your mouth and perform what needs to be done to align your teeth.  Usually a splint is worn all the time, while a night guard is only worn during sleep to keep teeth in alignment and to prevent grinding or clenching, although some may also be worn during the daytime. Guards are also used for those suffering from TMJ problems and pain.
  4. Orthodontic treatment with braces and retainers: This realigns and repositions the teeth

It may take more than one adjustment to get the desired results, but no matter what treatment you follow, you will need regular visits to your dentist to monitor your bite and initiate any needed treatment before a problem worsens.  Your teeth continue to move as you age even though the movement is so slight you will not notice it.

There have been many new technology advancements in dentistry in the last decade or two that now allow dentists to accurately identify the areas, which need adjustments, by utilizing a computer scan of the mouth, which records hundreds of bite registrations per minute, and notes even the slightest irregularity. That data allows the dentist to make only the adjustments that are absolutely necessary, which ensures a well aligned bite and minimal tooth wear.

If you are interested in occlusal adjustment in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.