Occlusal Loading

The occlusal load refers to the amount of force applied by the jaw when closing to a dental implant. Occlusal loading is essentially the process by which the force is applied, e.g. biting or chewing. Because the teeth and jaws can create a great amount of force between them, it’s critical that dental implant hardware be designed to withstand a high occlusal load. Many periodontists will use specialized tools to measure a patient’s occlusal load prior to selecting implant hardware, such as pressure sheets, strain gauges, and piezo-electric sensors. Bite force, or occlusal loading, can also be measured using masticatory computational models. By using three-dimensional occlusal load measurements, dental health professionals can enrich the assessment of a patient’s masticatory performance. In patients with bruxism, or the unconscious habit of grinding the teeth at night, the occlusal load may be much higher than in patients without bruxism. Periodontists should account for any conditions which may cause excess grinding of the teeth, including anxiety and drug use.