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TMJ - Occlusion
Best Occlusion Dentist
General Dentist - TMJ - Neuromuscular - Orthodontist
Which Dentist or Specialist is Better?
Occlusal BasicsThe general topic area of bite dynamics is studied by all dentists, including specialists, and of course, Orthodontists.
Nearly everyone who has had nearly any kind of restorative treatment knows about the "bite test" that commonly uses the carbon paper that we bite down on (there are several facsimilies) so our dentist can make sure the filling or restoration isn't too high.
Patients undergoing more complex treatments that might include implants, crowns, overlays, onlays, porcelain crown jackets, hybrid veneer products, bridgework, partials... etc., will have similar evaluations for bite analysis. Alignment of teeth and jaws are in the orthodontic domain
Common symptoms can include jaw pain, tmj - tmd pain, ear discomfort, ear noises, jaw popping and clicking, inability to bite on molars, headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain. In severe cases, significant neuromuscular dental disorders associated with bad bites can even affect posture.
Agents of Change: Bite ProblemsIt is amazing how easy our bite can become disrupted. A dysfunctioning bite can be a developmental issue due to genetics, cumulative effects of poor treatment choices (e.g., too many extractions), delayed retreatment needs (crown or filling replacements) and early orthodontic malalignment issues that weren't treated during our developmental years.
The seemingly simple or routine treatment of a filling, root canal (with crown), single implant and/or restoration can create bite problems that can be almost untreatable by some dentists.
As with many procedures in dentistry, there are dentists who excel at comprehending occlusal dynamics just as some cosmetic dentists are true wizards with veneer dentistry or complex full mouth reconstruction.
Good versus OutstandingPatients commonly do a little reseearch, perhaps a little networking to find a dentist or a few dentists who excel at doing beautiful crown and bridge work, creating hollywood style veneer makeovers and making dentures that don't look like dentures.
Especially in the area of Cosmetic Dentistry, many people are becoming aware that not all dentists are equal in skill, experience and have identical access to technologies.
Occlusal Physics - The Experts
It is rare that many of these occlusal experts (by virtue of talent.. not training alone) will have patients who acquire an occlusal disorder as a result of treatment. Rather, the bulk of their patient load will typically not have occlusal problems, except for those whose primary treatment goal is to treat an ongoing bite dysfunction (not orthodontics).
A sizeable portion of their practice activity will be focused on treating occlusal disorders.
Some of the advanced practices will even have specialized equipment that is specific to diagnosing and treating a wide range of occlusal abnormalities.
How to Find a Good OneThe "occlusion wizards" are hard to find. Luckily, there are a few organizations that focus on occlusal disorders and attract TMJ Dentists and Neuromuscular Dentists as members. Some of the organizations are:
Homework RequiredDue diligence in reviewing a dentist's credentials should be exercised. Asking questions about equipment, technologies used, treatment choices, before and after pictures, testimonials and case examples of patients who had significant bad occlusion histories.
Like many accomplished cosmetic dentists, a dentist who excels in occlusion correction can be expected to have substantial evidence of expertise.
Anyone having difficulty finding a dentist for diagnosing and/or treating a neuromuscular - occlusal disorder can contact the webmaster for assistance.