Angela was like many patients we see in my office. She had pain, chronic pain that would not go away despite numerous visits to the dentist, and nothing on the x-rays showed up to explain it. A decade ago, I would have done root canal treatment on her teeth in order to eliminate her pain. But today, we have a new way to test, diagnose, and treat certain types of pain, and help our patients faster and easier than ever before… without resorting to invasive or complicated treatment.
In dentistry, one of the biggest challenges we, as dentists, have always had is the “pain patient”. Where is the pain truly coming from? The patient feels something, but they can’t pinpoint it, and it’s different from what we are observing using the traditional methods of marking the bite using articulating paper). So this gets really tricky in not only how to diagnose but also how to treat.
But a really smart piece of dental technology, called the TScan, is now a part of my daily life in my dental practice. The TScan, which is a sensor that I use routinely on many of my patients, is a tool that gives me a digital picture of my patient’s occlusion, aka the bite. But it’s so much more than that. When my patient bites down on the sensor, and I have them go through specific motions of chewing and biting down, this amazing piece of technology not only tells me precisely where the issue is, but it also measures the force of the bite in every movement, colour-coding and easily displaying where, when and how the problem area is impacted by the general bite.
TScan gives me a digital picture of the occlusion the patient has. In every possible direction. This allows me to not only diagnose and treat pain areas that I could not determine before, but it also helps me balance my patient’s bite left to right and front to back so that we can create bilateral balance of equal forces, with equal distribution so that we can eliminate pain, migraines, jaw issues, and tooth-specific pain that has not been diagnosed before.
No other method has even been able to do this in dentistry. This simple yet highly innovative tool has been one of my favourite investments I have made in my practice in 25 years. And for those of you who know me, there have been many. But the TScan is one of my top favourites simply because it helps me diagnose and figure out issues quickly, and displays the information in a very easy to follow visual so that I can share what I see with my patient. It’s so simple: red/pink is too much force, and blue is good amount of force. And yes, there is so much more to it, but if I can show you how a simple tiny spot on one of your teeth lights up in red, causing you insane amounts of pain, and I can quickly adjust it and remove it with precision, I am thinking we’ve got a winner here.
And the best part, some of the most long-term and debilitating chronic conditions I’ve seen among some of my patients are actually pretty simple to solve… assuming I have the right dental technology.