Citation Information :
Estelle C, Jean-Philippe R, Anne G, Anne P, Jean-Daniel O. Dental Occlusion: Proposal for a Classification to Guide Occlusal Analysis and Optimize Research Protocols. J Contemp Dent Pract 2021; 22 (7):840-849.
Aim: Dental occlusion often rhymes with confusion, discrediting many research protocols. The profession seems to be in “major chaos about occlusion.” This may be due to the lack of a precise classification of occlusal dysfunctions. We suggest using a classification based on the separation of three occlusal functions, with the identification of precise, objective clinical diagnostic criteria. This article aims to define a precise classification of occlusal functions, in order to be able to establish a positive diagnosis of occlusal disorders. This occlusal analysis method could then be used in the daily practice of dentists and orthodontists, with a view to align epidemiological studies that focus on occlusion, in order to obtain results capable of comparison in different studies.
Materials and methods: A analysis of the literature in PubMed database published between the early 1970s and the present day identified many confusing definitions of occlusal disorders. In this paper, we propose the separation of occlusal functions into three subcategories: Stabilizing, centering, and guiding functions, defining three different subcategories of occlusal disorder.
Results: Occlusal function allows the definition of three kinds of malocclusion: Stabilizing dysfunction, centering dysfunction, and guiding dysfunction. The individualization of clear subcategories could allow the study of the more pertinent impacts of pathogenic malocclusion.
Conclusion: This classification of occlusal functions or dysfunctions allows lines to be drawn between different occlusal situations that are frequently confused, such as a loss of posterior occlusal support and loss of occlusal vertical dimension, infra-occlusion and loss of posterior support, short or reduced dental arch, reversed and scissor occlusion, sagittally and transversely deflected mandible, posterior occlusal interference and balancing contact, as well as natural and iatrogenic malocclusion.
Clinical significance: An occlusal analysis that makes use of the three occlusal functions, “stabilizing, centering, guiding,” could offer diagnostic standardization. It may also allow the avoidance of incorrect interpretations. Therefore, this occlusal function classification may be relevant to many fields, for instance, for epidemiological studies of occlusion and the periodontium, TMD and occlusion, or TMD and orthodontic treatment.
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