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What is occlusion? Part 1


Some dentists choose to ignore the subject of occlusion, while others propose a set of doctrinal rules. It is of little wonder therefore that it can become a source of confusion and even controversy. This series of two papers aims, firstly, to answer the very simple question of ‘what is occlusion?'. It will put occlusion into the context of the articulatory system because that is the bio-mechanical environment where the majority of dentists do their work. The concept of jaw relation will also be discussed but within the context of this locomotive system. Ideal occlusion will be described but only after answering the question: for whom or what might an occlusion be considered ideal? Although, in the book of which this is the first chapter, he presents what has worked for him during many years as a general dental practitioner, university lecturer and specialist in restorative dentistry, he has tried not to be didactic because he feels that, in a profession, there are no right answers, only the right questions.

Key points

  • The study of occlusion may benefit from more common sense and less dogma.

  • Occlusion is most easily considered within the context of the articulatory system.

  • Dental occlusion and the maxillo-mandibular jaw relationship are best judged against the benchmark of the individual patient's tolerance of them.

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The BDJ Editorial Team would like to thank the author of this chapter for granting us permission to republish their chapter within our journal. This chapter was first originally published in Stephen Davies, A Guide to Good Occlusal Practice, BDJ Clinician's Guides, The second half of this chapter will be republished in an upcoming issue of the BDJ.

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Correspondence to Stephen Davies.

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Davies, S. What is occlusion? Part 1. Br Dent J 236, 447–452 (2024).

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