Nearly 40 years ago, I started my career as a dental hygienist for Drs. Pete Dawson and Pete Roach. Now, I currently practice in the office of Dr. Kim Daxon, previously owned by Dr. Dawson and Dr. Pete Roach. To ensure that the doctor’s time with the patient is maximized, I make sure that I look for several things in every hygiene appointment. Having an understanding of complete dentistry is the viewing and understanding the masticatory system (Tempromanidbular joints, muscles, teeth and periodontal structures)as a whole and treating any issues.
Cone beam CT technology is really starting to increase in its utilization within our profession, and it's been steadily increasing over the last decade as the ability to have a CT scan unit in our office is becoming more affordable and more predictable. One of the more common question we get is when should we be utilizing a CT scan?
What things do we look at in the initial exam to determine TMJ health and maybe what do we look at periodically to also assess joint health?
I think the beauty of this whole process is that the complete examination (taught by The Dawson Academy) and the way it is laid out gives us the ability to thoroughly examine our patients and to determine a couple of things.
The Golden Proportion of dentistry is a mathematical analysis tool for assessing the widths and the dominance of the maxillary anterior teeth. It is done from a frontal photographic view of the patient.
Evaluating the E position is part of our 2D checklist when we're going through to really determine where the length of the incisor ledge is.
So what script do we need if we order an MRI on our patient? Now, it used to be, several years ago, that actually MRI was kind of the gold standard for us to look inside the joint. That is not really the case anymore.
So facebows are essential and a key point in dental treatment. We want to capture the facebow records for two very important reasons. By relating the maxillary arch to the condyles, we get a couple of very key pieces of information.
So one of the questions that I've asked myself, is are my patients understanding what I'm saying when they don't get to see what I see? And I feel like this is something that we all fall into: we love to talk and try to educate, but the patient's not having the same visual as we do. So how do we overcome that?
We have a lot of tools at our disposal to help us to be able to communicate. And one of those pieces of communication that is existential in getting treatment plan acceptance is photography.