When any of our patients finish their orthodontic treatment, we emphasize the absolute need to complete their treatment by perfecting the bite. This consists of a treatment known as equilibration. Equilibration is what it sounds like. It’s a procedure of equalizing the intensity of contacts between opposing teeth and precisely placing the point of that contact where it belongs on each tooth to minimize the forces on that tooth. It consists of very subtle, painless reshaping of the cusps of the teeth where necessary to place the points of contact precisely on the cusp tips and fossas (depressions) of the posterior teeth in order to eliminate improper contacts (or interferences) in the bite, which are triggers for bruxism (clenching and/or grinding your teeth).
Any orthodontist with a good knowledge of Occlusion knows that it is impossible to so precisely move a tooth with braces and wires that you can place the points of contact exactly where the belong. The reason for this is that tiny, individual variations in tooth anatomy, little bumps and bulges that vary from tooth to tooth, will inevitably cause imperfections, sometimes severe in nature, with the placement of contact points on each tooth. If the placement of that point of contact is off just a fraction of a millimeter on the inclines of a tooth cusp, instead of the cusp tip and fossa, then any contact on that tooth will twist (or torque) the tooth in the socket. It is precisely this torque on the tooth that is the stimulus (or the “ON” switch) for bruxism.
By equilibrating the bite into a corrected, natural physiologic occlusion, we can eliminate the triggers that cause bruxism as well as its consequences of worn, flattened, loosened, chipped, broken traumatized or devitalized (dead) teeth, sore aching or spastic muscles as well as the associated headache and neck pain that accompanies bruxism.