In this edition of Increasing Case Acceptance, I want to talk about patients with missing teeth. We all have them. We all have patients in our practice that are missing a molar, and time goes by as the patients wonder whether they should do anything about it. And as you observe the patient over the years, the teeth start shifting in. The upper tooth or the lower tooth start shifting in the space and things start getting off.
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So here again, when we are the keepers of the practice it is our responsibility to hold in our mind what optimal oral health is. And part of optimal oral health is having a balanced occlusion, to be able to manage the forces as best as possible. Another very good tool to help with this from a technological standpoint is the T-Scan. We put the T-Scan between the teeth, the patient bites, and it measures force. And you can see from the bars what is coming in first and how much force is on each tooth. It becomes very apparent to a patient when they're missing teeth, that when the teeth aren't there there's no force there at all. And often on either side of the space, you're going to see the majority of the load.
So, have a conversation with patients about this. Help them understand that they are going to have a certain amount of force that is inherent with the muscle activity that they have. The more teeth that they can have naturally or teeth that are missing that can be replaced, the more healthy their mouth is going to be and the more they're going to be able to manage that force through their life. And if they're trying to keep their teeth in health and function for a lifetime, managing forces becomes a huge part of it. So, implement some of those strategies. Talk big picture with your patients. Reiterate thatyou're after optimal oral health and managing force is a big part of it. I think if you do, you're going to have a lot more patients interested in closing those spaces that you see day in and out-- day in and day out as you check hygiene. So, good luck with that.