Dentistry |2 min read

Occlusion or Delusion: Thoughts on Visualization and Paying Attention to the Temporomandibular Joint

The more we can start to see a patient and their individual anatomy as unique, the easier it will be for us to diagnosis and treat the issues with their particular temporomandibular joint in occlusion cases. 

Occlusion Loose Threads – On “Re-Thinking”

Occlusion is all about understanding the power of real world techniques. This post is a meditation on the loose threads in our diagnostic occlusion toolboxes that can end up making a huge difference in the quality of our care.

Most importantly, it’s about this concept of “re-thinking” that I’ve brought up in previous “Occlusion or Delusion” posts.

So much of growing in the dental profession involves measuring learned techniques against and alongside the real world to see what actually works for living, breathing patients.

The Power of Anatomic Visualization of the Temporomandibular Joint

Visualization of the temporomandibular joint is useful for treating occlusion cases. Very few patients have read the occlusion textbook and come into your practice with all of the textbook symptoms.

Why does this matter? 

Because it means we’re not working under perfect conditions where all of our assumptions and the patient’s symptoms will line up. This makes occlusion diagnosis and treatment tricky.

One way to start thinking past the “textbook” aspects of occlusion is to begin to rely on the power of visualization and seeing how the temporomandibular joint actually functions in a human being.

Practice visualizing occlusion cases three-dimensionally. Take a moment today to visualize the three-dimensional anatomy of the temporomandibular joint.

Capture it mentally and puzzle through it so that when you come up against tricky occlusion cases, you have an instinctual understanding of how all of the potential problems and symptoms actually function in a patient’s anatomy.

This can be an immense help in the short and long run when you consider occlusion.

How do you compare treating occlusion cases in the real world with the outcomes presented in clinical literature? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!