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This patient history exam blog is the second installment of Dr. Brady’s new ‘Occlusion or Delusion’ series. In each post, she gives an honest perspective on re-thinking how you deal with occlusion in your dental practice. Half of the posts will be here on the CMS blog and the other half will be featured on the Gold Dust Dental Lab blog. You can read the first post here. Enjoy!

The comprehensive patient history exam is essential to occlusion.The Comprehensive Patient History Exam: Why it Matters

I’ve talked before about the importance of a comprehensive patient history exam. It seems obvious: Get their history so that you can better understand how to treat them.

This investment of attention and detail-oriented questioning is often under-emphasized. It’s important to consider why we complete this type of exam in the first place and what benefit it has to occlusion cases.

How Dentists Think About Occlusion

A lot of dentists approach occlusion and patients who might benefit from it with the perspective of:

“I won’t mess with you, if you don’t mess with me.”

This isn’t helpful to anyone because it assumes that a patient won’t be satisfied with treatment and/or that the dentist isn’t capable of completing proper treatment.

Dentists who do rely on occlusion may do so only because they consider treating TMD patients a specialty:

“I do occlusion because I do TMD.”

It's important to learn to re-think occlusion and patient history exams.But what about the middle ground? Let’s create a third category of occlusion:

“I don’t have to be a TMD specialist to do occlusion or ignore it completely. Occlusion is part of everything I do every time I pick up a hand piece.”

How does this tie into the comprehensive exam? This philosophy should create the conditions under which we carry out the exam. We know we are providing value and we have a good reason for doing so. Because of this, we’re much more thorough and accurate.

What are your thoughts on the comprehensive patient history exam? Let us know in the comments!