Occlusal adjustment in the treatment of primary traumatic injury

Raulino Naves Borges, Bárbara Morais Arantes, Denise Ferreira Vieira, Orlando Aguirre Guedes, Carlos Estrela


A major concern in dentistry is the correct distribution of occlusal forces to promote balance among the elements of the stomatognathic system. Occlusal trauma may develop in situations where the magnitude of the load exerted by occlusion exceeds the ability of the periodontium surrounding the involved teeth to resist and distribute the resulting forces without moving. A 41-year-old female patient was referred to the Occlusion and Orofacial Pain Research Center at the School of Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil, with headache, temporomandibular joint pain, toothache, and bone resorption on the distal aspect of tooth #33. During clinical examination, a 2-mm difference between centric relation and habitual occlusion was detected, with interference between teeth #28 and #38, causing anterior projection of the mandible to the right. Probing depth of the lower canine was within normal limits, with a positive pulp vitality test. We concluded that pain and (grade II) mobility in tooth #33 were caused by interference of third molars, which exerted a distal pressure on the lower canine, characterizing primary occlusal trauma. Occlusal adjustment by selective grinding was then indicated to eliminate premature contact. Ten sessions were required to obtain optimal occlusion. Three months after treatment, follow-up radiograph showed newly formed bone tissue between teeth #33 and #34, with absence of mobility and symptoms. The case reported here indicates that occlusal adjustment is recommended for the treatment of periodontal injuries caused by traumatic occlusion. The treatment allows the achievement of an optimal occlusion by directing occlusal forces to the long axis of the teeth.

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