Occlusal overload

Occlusal overload refers to when the amount of “bite force,” or occlusal force, is greater than the teeth can withstand. Often, the term occlusal overload is used in conjunction with other dental implant terminology, however, it can also be used in discussions of bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where the patient unconsciously bites down, clenches, or grinds their teeth, usually at night, which increases their occlusal force exponentially. When discussing implant dentistry, occlusal overload can significantly increase the risk of implant rejection. Occlusal force should be measured by the treating periodontist carefully before selecting the size, shape, material, and surface texture of dental implant hardware. The amount of occlusal force that the implant can withstand must be less than the actual occlusal force of the patient’s jaw. If not, occlusal overload occurs, which can permanently damage the prosthetic crown or potentially even the implant hardware underneath. The patient’s gum and bone tissue can also become injured.