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Quick Tip: Using the T-Scan for Equilibrations

Some of you already have the T-Scan in your practice from Tekscan. It's a computerized bite sensor that you can use in initial exams to show patients some of their malocclusion. And one of my favorite uses in our practice is to use it as part of our equilibration.

We complete the equilibration the same way that we teach you in the hands-on courses at The Academy. We go through the entire equilibration using our bimanual manipulation with our assistant holding the articulating paper. And as we get to the end of our equilibration, the T-Scan has been a fantastic tool for us to really take the equilibration to the next level.

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Quick Tip-Using the T-Scan for equilibrations
T-Scan Pre-Treatment scan

You use it the same way that you do the articulating paper. As the operator, you're still going to be using your bimanual manipulation on the patient. And your dental assistant will hold the handle and the bite sensor for the T-Scan and place that in the patient's mouth. And we will then record what tooth is coming into contact first. It records the timing as well as the intensity of the contacts in the mouth.

So we use that, and it really shines a spotlight on the place in the mouth where we may have an articulating paper mark but it's not clear just from the articulating paper that a particular contact may be a little premature or may be a little more intense than the contacts on the adjacent teeth. So it's a great way to shine a spotlight on exactly where you need to really fine-tune that equilibration to the highest level that you can.

And one of the most handy things that I've noticed, one of the most valuable aspects of T-Scan, is its use with implants.

You can mark in the computer when you're entering the patient which teeth are implants, which teeth are abutments, and several other different things like missing teeth.

We want the timing of the implant occlusal contact to be slightly after the timing of natural teeth since implants don't have a periodontal ligament. And the T-Scan is a great way to determine that - because that's obviously something we can't determine with articulating paper - the timing of the contact.

So when you have an implant contact that's coming in a little too early, you'll get a little red stop sign that will show you on the screen. And it gives you a warning that that timing on the implant on the occlusal contact is a little too soon. So we can go in and refine that contact until we finish the equilibration and we don't have any red stop signs on any of our implants.

I think that's been one of the many valuable things about using the T-Scan for equilibrations in our practice. I hope this has been helpful for you today.

How to Schedule an Occlusal Equilibration Appointment

Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund is a senior faculty member. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994 and lectures on esthetic dentistry. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country.