The digital dentist – understanding occlusion

Dr Alif Moosajee (Aka The Smiling Dentist) tackles the topic of occlusion and why he thinks an understanding is crucial for digital dentistryDr Alif Moosajee (Aka The Smiling Dentist) tackles the topic of occlusion and why he thinks an understanding is crucial for digital dentistry.

Occlusion is a really important but unfortunately badly understood topic in dentistry.

The topic has a reputation for being badly taught (especially at undergraduate level). I remember the sum total of my experience as an undergraduate was one afternoon talking about ‘Posselt’s envelope of motion’ and really not having the foggiest idea of what the relevance of it was!

When I graduated I wasn’t very confident in my ability. So I was keen to seek out a number of courses when I was early on in my career.

I was so lucky that I happened to be on the Worcester VT dental scheme. I had a chap called Graham Stokes who was my VT Supervisor (or ‘Friday guy’ as we used to call him). He was absolutely brilliant and really helped us to understand the importance of communication and occlusion over that year. These are two of the things that I think have helped me most in my career.

Nod to the educators

The next year I was fortunate enough to have the Paul Tipton restorative course recommended to me. I did this year-long course in my first year as an associate.
It was a brilliant course. I remember the first three days of that course where a fantastic grounding in occlusion.

The insights that I learnt on that course changed the way that I practised dentistry. This is because it changed me from somebody who looks at single teeth in isolation to someone who can understand why teeth, quadrants, arches and whole mouths can fail, when the machine that we call the mouth, stops working in a harmonious way.

The next year I did the Roy Higson occlusion course. This further helped me to understand occlusion and how occlusal disease can cause other problems like headaches rather than just to wear and breakdown within the mouth.

I really wanted to create this video as a nod to the educators who helped me to understand it better. But also as a guide for any dentist to help them to understand this topic better too.


As for the digital link this month: well putting the digital into dentistry only works if the dentistry is done well in the first place! For that, understanding occlusion is a must in my opinion.

Catch previous digital dentist columns:

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