October 31, 2011


This is a piece of dental equipment that I cannot believe every dentist is not required to own.  It is a very accurate sensor that fits inside the mouth and is used to make a movie of how you put your teeth together.  It was invented in the 1980’s for dentistry, but never caught on because it is too complicated for most dental practices.  Today it has expanded into manufacturing and is used for everything from calibrating robots, and to check tire tread designs, just to name a few.

Many of a patients dental problems stem from a poor bite.  Malocclusion can be cause from crooked teeth, post-orthodontic treatment, extractions, trauma and iatrogenic dentistry.  Iatrogenic dentistry means something the dentist did to the mouth.  The malocclusion of the patient’s teeth may have started off as a factor of their own genetics, but may have quickly escalated by the addition of high or low fillings, crowns, bridges or dentures.

Unfortunately, dental students are still learning in school primitive techniques for detecting these malocclusions such as biting on bite paper and asking the patient where they think they are touching first. Recent studies have proven that this technique is not adequate to determine where a malocclusion exists inside a patient mouth.

This is were the TekScan games into play.  It is a sensor that fits between the teeth and makes a movie of how the teeth come together.  When using bite paper and asks a patient to bite down hard you pick up not only the first place they touch their teeth together, but also the last.  There is no way to distinguish from the dots scribed onto the teeth from the bite paper where they touched first or last or in what order the teeth actually came together.  This knowledge is essential for diagnosing and treatment malocclusion.

Since malocclusion is a main contributor of chipped teeth, grinding, bruxing, broken restorations and myofacial pain syndrome it would benefit both the patient and treating doctor to know how to find out which teeth are involved in the malocclusion and adjust them appropriately.

The doctors at Cape Dental Care use the TekScan to treat all types of malocclusion and can find the slight malaligned tooth that may be causing dental discomfort.  This is another example of our office using advanced technology to assist our patient achieve proper dental health.