An investigation of overeruption of posterior teeth with partial occlusal contact

J Oral Rehabil. 2007 Apr;34(4):246-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2007.01686.x.


The need and demand for replacement of missing posterior teeth may increase as the UK population is predicted to be at least partially dentate for life. Replacement with either fixed or removable prostheses may be indicated, and the tooth positional changes of adjacent or opposing teeth may require consideration. The objectives of this study are to: (1) Investigate the extent of overeruption associated with partially opposed posterior teeth; (2) Determine if overeruption is associated with tipping of the partially opposed tooth and examine the extent of tip. Ninety-one patients with either partially or completely unopposed posterior teeth were included in the study. For each group the extent of overeruption of the tooth was measured. Differences in the extent of overeruption and tipping were analysed. Correlations between the presence of partial tooth contact and the extent of overeruption and degree of tipping of the unopposed tooth were analysed. There was no significant difference in the extent of overeruption between the unopposed and partially opposed groups. The partially opposed teeth displayed a greater degree of tipping than the unopposed group. There was no significant correlation between the extent of overeruption and the degree of tipping, nor between the extent of overeruption and the presence of partial tooth contact. There was, a significant correlation between the degree of tooth tip and the presence of partial tooth contact. (1) Partial tooth contact does not appear to prevent or reduce overeruption; (2) Partially opposed teeth show an increased degree of tip relative to teeth with complete lack of occlusal contact. The findings suggest that partial tooth contact should not be relied on clinically to maintain vertical tooth position.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bicuspid / pathology
  • Humans
  • Jaw, Edentulous, Partially
  • Malocclusion / pathology*
  • Maxilla
  • Molar / pathology
  • Tooth Eruption / physiology*