Worn teeth don’t happen overnight. Many people may not even be aware that they grind their teeth, and because the wear seems slow at first, they don’t realize the devastating effects it can lead to. Tooth wear from grinding is one of those subtle disease processes that can sneak up on you and many people won’t think much of it until it’s way too late or extremely expensive to restore.
What makes tooth wear and grinding such a massive issue is that it is actually very challenging to treat. Many dentists are challenged by treating complex cases, and when tooth grinding is allowed to continue until your teeth are severely worn down, it’s referred to as “Mutilated Dentition”. The irreparable damage that results from grinding and wear that’s gone untreated for long periods of time is compounded by lack of proper diagnosis, inability to treatment plan all the steps required for full rehabilitation and, most importantly, communication with the patient.
A proper diagnosis and treatment of these types of cases can be challenging, especially if tooth wear has been allowed to continue for years. Patients with complex bite issues or severe wear or break-down looking to restore their teeth involve more extensive work-up and diagnostic protocols. This is because of the complexity and challenges each individual case brings.
In order to ensure that treatment provides a beautiful and healthy restorative outcome, as well as a predictable plan for each individual step of the process, we involve a detailed diagnosis process as follows:
1. Initial Exam
The fist step to a successful restorative case is a full and comprehensive exam, which includes photos, x-rays, measurements, occlusal analysis, tooth vitality testing, periodontal assessment, and cancer screen. In addition, we may refer you to have a CBCT scan if TMJ is in question.
2. Neuromuscular Analysis
For patients who suffer from TMJ related issues, headaches, migraines, muscle pain around their head and neck, or those with severe wear or jaw misalignment, this step is invaluable and supports Dr. Bis to come up with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in order to stabilize and resolve these issues along with restoring your teeth.
Photos are taken and analyzed in order to allow Dr. Agatha Bis to evaluate and resolve any soft tissue (gums) challenges, tooth shape and size, tooth position and angulation, as well as your particular desires for shade and aesthetics.
4. Occlusal Forces Bite Scan
A sensor known as the TScan is a tool used to restore quality of life in patients whose bite contributes to pain, discomfort, jaw misalignment, bite issues, or over-adjusted dental work. TScan provides a dynamic occlusal (bite) measurement, revealing the level, timing, and percentage of force on individual teeth, as well as the occlusal stability of the overall bite. A TScan allows a visual recording, over time, that shows exactly where the teeth are touching, how bite forces are distributed, and where tooth contact is lacking, which is key to establishing a balanced, healthy, comfortable occlusion (bite).
5. Patient Communication
One of the biggest challenges among most dentists is the inability to communicate the problem, the urgency, the consequences of no treatment, and the reasons behind treatment recommendations to the patient. Many patients leave their dentist office only knowing the cost of treatment but don’t have any clue as to why they should do something about their issue sooner than later, as well as the full consequences of leaving it as is.
This is probably one of my biggest frustrations when speaking with other dentists. Most of them focus on telling their patients how they are going to do what they are going to do to them rather than why they are doing it and why it needs to happen sooner than later. Without communicating that, by the time our patients realize what needs to happen, the cost, the time, the energy, and the resources needed to restore their mouth back to health is massive.