Brief History of Occlusion

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A Comprehensive Overview: The Evolutionary Journey of Occlusion in Dentistry

Occlusion, the manner in which the upper and lower teeth come together, has long been a complex and debated topic in dentistry. Its understanding has advanced largely due to removable prosthetics. Unlike tooth-borne dentistry, where treatments are performed a tooth or two at a time without a long-term occlusal plan, removable prosthetic cases often involve full mouth rehabilitations, bringing forth novel insights into occlusion.

A century ago, dentists struggled with cross-arch stability in complete denture cases. To address this, flat plane occlusion was introduced, where teeth connect on both sides uniformly. This concept, known as bilateral balanced occlusion, was an essential step, but it did not encompass the entire complexity of occlusion.

In the 1930s, the notions now associated with gnathology emerged, acknowledging the vital role of the teeth's contours. This understanding led to innovations like PK Thomas waxups and the integration of natural morphology into occlusal schemes. While these advances contributed to improved comfort and efficiency, they still fell short of unraveling the complete mystery of occlusion.

Two decades later, the focus shifted from teeth to the relationship of the jaw. Although the concept of Centric Relation facilitated repeatable record-taking, it was not a one-size-fits-all solution. Over the years, the definition underwent multiple revisions, without ever truly satisfying the complex requirements of individual patients. What was lacking was a recognition that the patients treated were more than mere anatomical structures.

In the early 1970s, groundbreaking research led to the utilization of technologies like Ultra Low Frequency TENS (ULF-TENS) to analyze the muscles of mastication. Dental pioneers such as Dr. Barney Jankelson and John Radke recognized that focusing on muscles might lead to more successful outcomes. This approach, focusing on the muscles' neutral state, laid the foundation for a new era in occlusion.

Historically, occlusion concentrated on micro-occlusion or individual tooth relationships. The introduction of Centric Relation expanded this view to include jaw relationships, but it still fell short of a holistic understanding. The Physiologic approach, however, represents a significant leap forward. By incorporating not only teeth but also bones, muscles, and soft tissues, it enables a comprehensive and sophisticated evaluation.

The Physiologic dentist, such as Dr. Dmitry Gorbatov at Gorbatov Dentistry, considers both micro and macro-occlusion, treating the jaw-to-jaw relationship as a crucial part of patient diagnosis. This state-of-the-art method surpasses traditional approaches, allowing for the effective treatment of previously untreatable conditions, including common ailments such as migraines and headaches.

If you're seeking a nuanced and world-class dental experience, look no further than our elegant dental facility located on Ocean Drive, oceanfront in Hollywood. We are committed to offering top-tier dental care, focused on your well-being and comfort. Feel free to schedule an appointment, and let us guide you toward a healthier, more vibrant smile at Gorbatov Dentistry.

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