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Expanded Views of TMD


Expanded views of TMD

header-images-expanded-view-tmjDentistry is rapidly entering an age of advanced diagnostics due to the availability of the technology that allows us to see past the teeth.

This has allowed us to make our dental treatment more predictable and has helped us to understand past problems with treatment such as orthodontic relapse and grinding of the teeth that can cause long term failure of more complex dental treatment plans we are left with to perform.

We are becoming doctors of the mouth as opposed to tooth mechanics. It is you-the practicing dentist-that sees the most of all!

These expanded views have resulted in dentistry collaborating with medicine in treatment of complex patients that have craniofacial pain, migraine headaches and obstructive sleep apnea to name a few. Indeed, these issues impact every area of medicine and our society as a whole. It is very important for dentists to start thinking beyond the teeth and go back to our basic anatomy-yes, revisit the impact occlusion has on the brain and body.

As wet fingered dentists that care deeply about our patients to the point where we have spent many hours learning complex concepts and clinically helping our patients, it is time to put our results down on paper. It is through peer reviewed research that the mainstream of discovery and practice is shared in medicine and dentistry.

If you can measure it, it is fact

tmd-motion-measuringThis simple statement is very powerful today in a world of technology where we are discovering more about the impact of teeth on the wellbeing of the entire human.

The preventative and curative implications of these expanded views will move dentistry into a more simplified approach to optimizing the health and wellbeing of the individuals that make up our society. It will simplify the practice of dentistry and make treatments safer for our patients with a more preventative approach that optimizes the basic genetic, anatomical and physiological make up of the patient.

To do this, we need a sound knowledge of anatomy and physiology and the measureable science that shapes our views of the human body.

Three examples of expanded views are as follows:

[toggle state=”on” style=”solid” title=”1. The dental bite affects the posture, physiology and wellbeing of the individual“]
Many dentists have been measuring data using kinesiologic equipment and finding their patients feel better. This measurable data can be co-related to subjective symptoms felt and documented by the patient. This information will always be considered anecdotal unless the data is gathered and processed, then published in a peer-reviewed journal.

ICCMO is gathering that data in our 3000 study. Everyone who is using measurable evidence to create a dental orthotic and documenting their patients subjective progress needs to participate in this study. There are hundreds of dentists helping thousands of patients worldwide right now using this technique. You need to submit your results to this study so the expanded view of the dental bite related to general health of the patient can be scientifically documented.

[toggle state=”off” style=”solid” title=”2. The bite affects blood flow to the brain“]

In research recently accepted for publication to The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice, a collaborative effort between dentistry and neurology is demonstrated in a very powerful observational study that is opening up an expanded view of how the jaw position (supported by the teeth) affected the measurement of blood flow to the brain. Perhaps we will get some answers to our question on why the physiologic rest position of the jaw works to help people with headaches and other neurological problems.


[toggle state=”off” style=”solid” title=”3. The bone volume of the maxilla can be increased in adults“]

In a study recently published in the JIOS, it was shown that the bone volume of adults (average age 38 years) was increased by 1.8 cubic cm! This evidence was obtain using CBCT which is a relatively new technology that has had a huge impact on dentistry. There are case studies rapidly coming out in many publications and conferences demonstrating patients who have had their maxillary bone volume increased that have

  1.  had improvement in their craniofacial pain
  2.  had a large, surgical orthodontic treatment plan reduced to a simple, excellent result non-surgically and without extracting teeth
  3.  and-most amazing of all- their obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis reversed/lessened as measured by a sleep study WITHOUT a dental device or CPAP insitu.

tammarie-heitWe are only at the beginning of an Odyssey in dentistry that demonstrates how important the teeth are and will change the whole way we think and learn about teeth. It is very exciting and a great time to be a dentist. Get involved with ICCMO and play with your peers that love their career.

Written by: Dr. Tammarie Heit DDS of Scotia Square Dentistry

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