Dentistry is a science that has been affected so much by advancing technology. Dental patients no longer want to spend the rest of their lives with damaged or missing teeth. On the other hand, Dentists wish to give their best for the general well-being of their patients. Thankfully, a lot of innovations have come through to make all this possible. Among the much advancement, we see today in dentistry is t-scans that is useful in determining a patient’s occlusion.
Accessing a dental patient's occlusion has always been important for dentists, as it helps determine the biting force and timing of the patient's teeth. These two are essential in the evaluation of how successful a particular dental procedure has been. It also helps ensure a patient's comfort after a dental procedure and also improves their general well-being. If you are in Northridge, CA, and would like to benefit from this advanced technology, get in touch with us at Northridge Dentist.
Understanding Dental Occlusion
The term occlusion is used in dentistry to refer to the contact between teeth. It is the relationship between the upper teeth (maxillary) and the lower teeth (Mandibular) and how they come into contact, just like when you are chewing or resting. There are mainly two types of occlusions:
- Static occlusion: It is the contact between the upper and lower teeth when a person’s haw is stationary and closed
- Dynamic occlusion: It is the contact between teeth when a person’s jaw is moving, as when he/she is chewing
Occlusion is affected by the entire masticatory system, which involves the periodontium, skeletal components (TMJ), and the neuromusculature. Thus, the contact between the upper and lower teeth should not be the only thing a dentist considers in determining a person's occlusion, but the entire system.
Occlusion begins as soon as a baby starts developing its first teeth, mostly around six months. When the first teeth grow, the aim is for them to occlude with each other. The first teeth are naturally shaped by the teeth, lips, and cheeks as they develop. Normal development occurs when the first upper and lower teeth naturally and correctly occlude and align. It can be observed at about two years when the milk teeth are still developing. They are said to be fully and wholly developed when the baby is around age 3. Almost a year later, the baby's jaw continues to grow, to create more space for the teeth and the permanent that will develop later in life.
A fully grown jaw is significant as it creates enough room for the teeth to space. Well-spaced teeth can occlude well and will prevent crowding of the permanent teeth, which in itself is a major dental issue.
Every person's aim as far as occlusion is concerned is to enjoy an ideal bite, whereby all their upper teeth are in perfect contact with the lower teeth. It means that the person’s masticatory system will be functioning efficiently and that he/she will have no symptoms. However, experts say that there is no general ideal occlusion for everyone. Every person has their perfect occlusion based on occlusal configuration, but in harmony, the teeth configuration is enjoying with the rest of the stomatognathic system.
However, people who come for dental checkups with such issues as unexplained dental pain, fractures, mobility, tooth wear, and drifting will require a full examination to determine their dental occlusion. Other people who need an occlusal analysis are considering going through a complicated dental restorative procedure. For the latter, the dentist will want to know if there are any occlusal changes the patient will require before undergoing the procedure. A majority of people are those who suffer significant symptoms with a slight discrepancy in their occlusion. Some of these symptoms will be acute orofacial pain and issues with the TMJ. That is why determining a dental patient's occlusion is essential for every dentist.
What is T-Scan?
Over the years, dentists have been using traditional methods to examine their client's occlusion routinely. However, advancing technology has brought out new and effective methods proven even more accurate and useful in many applications. T-scan is the latest invention of these technologies. Experienced dentists are now using T-scans to measure their client’s occlusal force and determine how balanced their teeth are.
T-scans are not only effective but also easy to use. Dental patients are only required to bite down on a super-thin automatic sensor while a computer analyzes their teeth and collects data. This technological advancement is gaining in popularity because it is very convenient and comfortable for patients. Patients undergoing dental treatments can also have their occlusal examined without the fear of experiencing any trauma. Additionally, this kind of examination helps dentists improve her diagnosis, reduce the amount of time spent on treatment, and increase the quality of their services.
Before dentists started using T-scans, there are articulating papers that were used to measure occlusion. Articulating papers are not as effective as T-scan in comparison because they only help determine a patient's teeth. On the other hand, T-scans determine the teeth' location and identify both the patient's bite's timing and force. The latter are the most important parameters used in deciding occlusion and whether a patient is having a dental problem.
Modern dentists are taking advantage of T-scans' effectiveness to save on time and money and improve their service delivery. It is a state-of-the-art innovation and digital technology that could help them identify premature dental contacts, high forces, and how occlusal surfaces interrelate. This is information that dentists cannot capture with the traditional methods of measuring occlusion, including articulating paper.
The effectiveness of T-scans is proof that technological advancements are here to shape the face of digital dentistry. Today, dental clinics that embrace digital technology are far more effective in their treatment than those that still rely on traditional dental care methods. The fact that most dental patients nowadays are seeking services they can fully trust — makes digital dentistry even more attractive. Patients would want to engage a dentist whose services they can trust as quick, easy, and effective.
As mentioned earlier, a person’s chewing system comprises various parts that are intricately related. They include the teeth, jaw joints, and muscles, among others. All these parts are designed such that they must work harmoniously for proper functioning and maintenance of healthy teeth. When any of these parts malfunction, then a problem is bound to occur. Most problems that dentists treat are those that have resulted from disharmony in the chewing system. When the chewing system is in harmony, a person is less likely to experience pain in their teeth. Muscles are also very relaxed, the joints are stable, and the teeth are operating in a protected environment. It happens when a person has a good bite.
On the other hand, when a person has a bad bite, all dental issues could be experienced. These problems could affect the teeth, muscles, bones, joints, and nerves. Teeth issues resulting from a bad bite could, for instance, be mild or severe tooth pain, loose tooth, tooth loss, tooth sensitivity, melting or abfraction of tooth surfaces, chipped, crowding, or misalignment of teeth. A general headache, muscle spasm, and sore or tired jaw muscles could also be related to a bad bite. That is why dentists need to have their patient's occlusion checked first before a diagnosis is made.
T-Scans Features and Benefits
The advancing technology has brought about significant innovations that have come with many benefits, especially in dentistry. T-scans are not an exception. Some of the great benefits dentists and their patients get to enjoy include:
Improved Efficiency in the Dental Office
Everyone wants to save time, whether in business or person. T-scans work efficiently for the benefit of both the dentist and his/her patients. A lot happens in a dental office that a dentist is not able to handle in a day. T-scans help save a dentist's time in that he/she can make a faster diagnosis for all the patients coming into the office in a day. It also reduces repeat patients, thus saving a patient's time and money. Instead of going through several tests to diagnose a single problem, a single scan can detect the exact problem a patient is experiencing. When that happens, the dentist can treat without worrying that the problem may reoccur in the future.
T-scans not only check a patient's occlusion but also register and store data on a computer. Computer data is accessible to anyone that is authorized to receive it. It can also be stored for access in the future. Results that have been registered and stored in real-time are more effective and can be relied upon to make future decisions regarding a patient's treatment. The patient may not have to go through more tests and diagnosis to treat a problem whose genesis can be traced back to occlusion. Again, patients are sure that the computer's data is accurate, and the results are correct.
Computers are making work a lot easier for most professionals, including dentists. You do not have to do the hard work when computers can quickly and effectively simplify your work. T-scans only collect information from a patient's mouth on how his/her chewing system is functioning. Since the system is comprised of several parts that work harmoniously together, information regarding their functionality is collected during diagnosis. The data collected is finally integrated, and the results are announced in a simple-to-understand manner. It helps both the dentist and his/her patient understand what is going on inside the mouth and what needs to be done to improve functionality.
Easy for Patients to Understand
The last thing a patient needs is to be diagnosed and treated for a problem they cannot understand. Dentists have to go through the trouble of educating patients what the test results mean and the kind of treatment that will effectively make the problem go away. Sometimes a dentist's explanation is not enough to convince their patient that the mode of treatment he/she is choosing is useful. It is no longer necessary if the dentist has incorporated T-scans in his/her practice. The information produced by the scan is straightforward to understand for the patients as well. The computer generates visual data that is not only simple to read but easy to accept by patients.
The Unbeatable Digital Workflow
Going digital comes with a lot of benefits for dentists, which include unbeatable workflow. Professionals no longer want to go back to papers or a time when it took them a lot of time to find and go through a patient’s file to understand their treatment history. Now, everything is on computers. A single click of a button will bring up all the information you have regarding a particular client. Your patients can go for some time and come back without worrying that their data will be lost. It saves both the dentist and his/her patients' time since they no longer have to go back to the beginning to understand the genesis of a dental issue the patient is experiencing.
How Do T-Scans Fit into a Dentist’s Practice?
T-scans are a must-have for every dentist and a must-try for anyone visiting a dental office today. Here are ways in which they can fit into any dental office:
Treatment of TMD/TMJ and Headaches
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and their devastating side effects are the most complex issues in dentistry. The pain and suffering patients have to endure is a lot. T-scans have come as a great savior for dentists as they help make them well-prepared and confident to treat and cure TMD.
A T-scan will help a dentist identify interferences in the biting sequence of the patient. Once these are removed, the patient can enjoy great relief from headaches, myofascial pain, and earaches. T-scans can also be linked with an EMG system to help further analyze muscle function related to TMJ.
Dentists are also able to educate their patients on occlusal imbalances that could be causing them pain. Once patients understand their problem, they can commit to the treatment the dentist is proposing quickly. It not only saves time for both patient and dentist but also ensures that the problem is permanently solved.
Preservation of Implants
Implants are usually not as strong as natural teeth. Therefore, they may not be able to take the brunt force of a strong bite. T-scans had come at a time when dentists did not know how best they can preserve implants to, at least, serve patients for a longer time. With a T-scan, dentists can time and measure the relative force of a patient’s bite to determine when and how pressure distribution per tooth is.
From the data received in the computer, a dentist can tell if an implant can sustain a larger percentage of occlusal force or it is hitting early in the bite pattern. With that information, the dentist can know what to do, such as protecting the implant from the damaging forces before another problem surfaces.
T-scans and Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is all about creating restorations that are beautiful and long-lasting. Getting a balanced occlusal is crucial as it helps achieve the perfect smile the patient is seeking. Again, an excellent occlusal balance in both restorative and orthodontic procedures helps improve the functionality. Modern dentists can now use digital data derived from T-scans to identify any high and early forces that could threaten natural teeth and ceramics' longevity and functionality.
Patients seeking cosmetic dentistry services also want to ensure that the suggested treatment method will work for them. This is what helps the dentist gain their commitment to treatment. Patients can see the visual representation of their occlusion. Their dentist can explain to them how he/she will manage the destructive forces throughout treatment to avoid breakages and fractures.
Analysis and Adjustment of Occlusion
Many dental issues go unnoticed because dentists are unable to determine the exact occlusion of a patient. Now that T-scans are here, dentists will be able to properly analyze occlusions, and make the necessary adjustments to resolve most dental problems their patients experience. The time dentists used guesswork to determine occlusion is gone. Now, there is proof of occlusal pictures and detailed information that is easy to interpret. It is precisely what is needed in the diagnosis and treatment of occlusion disorders.
Again, a diagnosis that could take so much time can now be made in minutes. Patients no longer have to go through several days of testing to determine what is ailing them. Adjustments can also be made quickly to avoid calling up the patients again for follow-up treatments.
T-scans and Disclusion Time Reduction Therapy(DTR)
DTR is a special procedure for dental treatment that requires the use of T-scans and EMG links to evaluate how occlusion affects muscle activity. The therapy aims to identify contacts that could be overly engaging when a patient is chewing or biting down. When this happens, some muscles become hyperactive, break, and cause symptoms such as those experienced by TMD patients.
Today, dentists who have already incorporated digital dentistry can evaluate the time the patients’ posterior teeth take to disengage, and how that affects muscle activity. The good thing is that this can be done in real-time, without taking much of the patient’s time.
T-Scans in Orthotic/Splint Therapy
T-scans are also being used to address occlusion issues in splint therapy. Orthotic devices and splint therapy are very common in treating occlusal disorders, which are usually very hard to diagnose. T-scans are now making these diagnoses easy and quick. Today, dentists have a chance of analyzing their patient's occlusion before and during splint therapy, and also after the treatment. The digital data generated by the scans can help the dentist identify areas that require adjustment to ensure that the patient enjoys comfort after therapy.
To effectively ease a dentist’s work, T-scans come as a complete system, with several features that work in unison to bring out the desired results. The system has three main components:
- The handpiece- It plugs into a USB port to capture and transfer data from the sensor to the user interface. It also records and reviews all scans. The handpiece uses a standard rate to capture data and create high resolution and accurate presentations of every occlusion device.
- Sensor- It is designed to provide a high resolution, plus repeatable accuracy that dentists can entirely rely on for exceptional results. The sensor is reusable for a single patient. It can be sterilized and stored for the patient's future visits.
- Software- the device uses new and improved software, making it easy for dentists to analyze and treat the occlusion. The software saves a lot of time since dentists can view all data received in real-time as it is captured.
Find Dentist Near Me
The use of advanced technology has made the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems very easy. That is why many dentists today embrace digital technology to make their work easier and improve the quality of their services. Dental patients can enjoy the benefits of advanced technology, especially with T-scans in order to determine occlusion. Therefore, if you or your loved one is looking for a dentist who can offer accurate diagnosis and treatment of Northridge, CA, call us at 818-875-0216. At Northridge Dentist, we find pride in providing quality dental solutions by incorporating advanced technology.
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