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Key to Occlusion

Kate, Dental Technology | Originally Published: 5/10/2018

The Key to Occlusion has to do with how the Maxillary 1st Molar and the Mandibular 1st Molar come together.

The Key to Occlusion has to do with how the Maxillary 1stMolar and the Mandibular 1stMolar come together.

In ideal occlusion, the Mesio-Buccal cusp of the Maxillary 1stMolar occludes in the Developmental Groove of the Mandibular 1stMolar. This is known as Class I occlusion.

 

An illustration of the Key to Occlusion

 

However, not all occlusion is ideal. There are a couple of types of malocclusion: 

  • Class II: Retrognathic Occlusion (Distal Occlusion)
  • Class III: Prognathic Occlusion (Mesial Occlusion)
How different occlusion patterns effect the bite and facial structure.

 

Distal occlusion is when the Mesio-Buccal cusp of the Maxillary 1stMolar occludes mesial to the Developmental Groove of the Mandibular 1stMolar. This is due to the mandible being seated too far back (“retro-”) changing the occlusion (“-gnathic”). 

Mesial occlusion is when the Mesio-Buccal cusp of the Maxillary 1stMolar occludes distal to the Developmental Groove of the Mandibular 1stMolar. This is due to the mandible being seated too far forward (“pro-”) changing the occlusion (“-gnathic”). 

One of the reasons the first molars are considered the “key” is because the first molars can start to appear around the first birthday. How these molars come in and occlude are instrumental to how one’s bite develops over time.

The key to occlusion is important when it comes to how teeth wear over time. Natural teeth are less inclined to damage when properly aligned (a large part of why orthodontics is so popular!). In malocclusion, if not fixed by orthodontic treatment, the malocclusion needs to be considered when designing a restoration, so the same or more damage is not caused. 

Being able to establish correct occlusion is not only healthy for a person, but extremely important for a dental technologist to understand how to properly restore healthy occlusion and do his/her job properly!

About The Author

Kate is a Senior Dental Prosthodontics Technology student. She is currently working towards earning her A.S. degree. Kate discovered this field while working for a dentist in Beverly Hills. In her free time, she likes to cook, bake, travel, be outdoors, draw, knit, and things of the sort.

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