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The Benefits of Using a Range of Motion Ruler

One of the keys to creating an effective and complete treatment plan is to diagnose the condition of the joint. And one of the important things to consider with the joint is what is the range of the motion of that joint?

Because the temporomandibular joint, just like any other joint in the body, should have a normal range of motion.

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And if we aren't able to achieve that normal range of motion, that should be telling us something of the condition of the joint whether it's muscle-based or an internal derangement of the joint.

So range of motion rulers are really simple to use.

We want to be able to measure the patient's maximum opening and adding in the amount of overbite to that. And we should see that fall within 40 to 60 millimeters.

We should be able to protrude the mandible 8 to 10 millimeters and we should be able to go excursively 8 to 10 millimeters as well.

If you aren't getting those numbers, it should be an indication for you to slow down and to figure out what's going on into that joint before you move forward with any treatment.

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Picture of Dr. Leonard Hess

Leonard A. Hess, DDS is the Clinical Director at The Dawson Academy and joined the faculty in 2009. He owns Union County Center for Comprehensive Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, and practices full time in addition to teaching continuing education courses. He is a member of the editorial board for Inside Dentistry and has had over 17 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. He is also a member of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, AACD, ADA, AES, and NCDS. Dr. Hess began teaching continuing education courses in 2005 on topics including occlusion, smile design, treatment planning, preparation design, and practice integration of Complete Care Dentistry. He’s taught full-day continuing education courses at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s national meeting, The Greater New York Dental Meeting, AACD National Meeting, Pacific Dental Conference, Ontario Dental Association meeting, and The Yankee Dental Conference. Dr. Hess has taught courses in Japan, Germany, Poland, China, and Canada.