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Primary Occlusal Trauma

Primary occlusal trauma of the dentition manifests as chipped and crazed teeth with normal periodontal structures.

Chipped, crazed front (anterior) teeth reflect the primary occlusal trauma forces the patient has brought to bear on them.

When a patient exerts abnormally heavy biting forces on the teeth, stress cracks, chips and wear (attrition) may result. This is known as primary occlusal trauma. Primary occlusal trauma implies there has been no loss of the periodontal attachment (gingival attachment fibers, periodontal ligament, or bone), and the teeth themselves are damaged by the excessive forces on them.

This condition is related to secondary occlusal trauma, in that both produce changes in the patient’s bite relationship (occlusion). However, secondary occlusal trauma occurs when there has been some degree of periodontal attachment loss, and even normal biting forces that were once tolerated by the gums, periodontal ligaments and bone are now too excessive for those structures to withstand. The result is loosening, tipping and movement of the teeth.

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Author: Thomas J. Greany, D.D.S. / Editor: Ken Lambrecht

This page was last updated on March 6, 2018.

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