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What can you learn from the screening history?

dental screening historyThe Concept of “Complete Dentistry” is based on the principles taught by Dr. Peter Dawson, which entail the complete understanding of the masticatory system.  The joints (TMJ), muscles (Mastication), and teeth (Occlusion) all work together in harmony.  Many of our patients often experience discord within their masticatory system.  When this occurs, we usually expect to see signs of instability.  The complete examination is the key to gathering or co-diagnosing conditions pertaining to the masticatory system.  As part of the co-diagnosis, a screening history can be very beneficial in formulating the right diagnosis.

There are two opportunities to complete a screening history.  The first is prior to the complete examination during the new patient interview.  The second opportunity is during the actual complete examination.  The right questions will open the dialogue for clues that will help assess the present condition(s), and whether a problem may be related to the TMJ and/or Muscles.

As part of the examination, the Dawson Academy recommends the following questions as part of the screening process:

  1. Have you ever had or been diagnosed with a problem with either jaw joint?

  2. Does your jaw joint click, pop, or make noise when you open or close?

  3. Do you have pain or tenderness in your jaw joints when you open, close, or chew?

  4. Has your jaw ever locked open or closed?

  5. Do you have frequent headaches? If so, how often?

These questions are designed to assist in the screening history so that it may provide direction to your examination.  The answer to these questions will often focus on the source of the problem.  The answers to questions 1 and 2 are usually related to the TMJ, while questions 3 and 4 are related to either TMJ or MUSCLE.  Question 5 usually relates to MUSCLE.  Asking these questions can also provide clues to whether the present problem is unchanged or has deteriorated.  For example, a screening history of a joint that stopped clicking/or popping does not necessarily mean the condition has improved; in fact it may have gotten worse.   In this case, further examination of the TMJ would be required to diagnose the condition of the joint.

Never underestimate the importance of a thorough screening history.  It provides valuable information that can help serve the patient and provide a better, more accurate diagnosis.  A complete examination is never complete without a proper screening history.  

Dr. Khanna grew up in Toronto, Canada where he attended the University of Toronto and completed his Bachelor of Science degree (1989). He then continued post graduate school at the University of Detroit Mercy – School of Dentistry and earned his D.D.S. degree (1993). Dr. Khanna then completed a General Practice Residency at the University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York (1994). After being an associate dentist for several years, Dr. Khanna opened his practice (March 2000) in beautiful downtown Geneva, Illinois. Since then, Dr. Khanna has been extensively involved in continuing education, and recently completed training at the prestigious Dawson Academy (St. Petersburg, FL). Dr. Khanna has dedicated his practice to excellence in comprehensive restorative and esthetic dentistry. Dr. Khanna’s philosophy involves treating every patient in the four aspects of complete dentistry. This includes achieving harmony between jaw joints, muscles, supporting tissues, and teeth. Dr. Khanna is licensed to provide patients with conscious or moderate sedation for all dental procedures. He completed training at the University of Illinois-School of Dentistry [Chicago] in 2003 where he was trained by the head of the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery department for 9 months. Since then Dr. Khanna has been providing sedation to patients for all dental procedures. If you or someone you know is interested in dental sedation, please contact our office for more information. Dr. Khanna is dedicated to his wife Jeanie and his two children, Raj, and Maxime.