More Smiles Dental Spa Dentistry Blog | James A. Moreau, Jr., D.D.S.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back to Dentistry - K7 Scans, My Firsthand Account

Back in the office at full strength this week, I had Dr. Moreau hook me up to the K7 unit out of curiosity to see how it would read my jaw joint vibrations and track the open/close patterns of my lower jaw. While the photo at right may cause you to flinch a little, the only thing that was actually hurting here was my earrings. I should have taken them off first. The headgear sits comfortably balanced on the bridge of my nose and strapped around my head. The wires lead to electrodes that will pulse my muscles into relaxation with electrical stimulation and then measure the movements of my muscles, tension and fatigue. Pretty amazing science! (And, no, I am not asleep. I was reading a book while Dr. Moreau was interpreting the computer data.)

We already knew that I have an overbite, which means that when I bite on my back teeth, my front teeth completely close down over my lowers so you don't see the lowers at all. While I don't have the headaches and loud clicking and popping noises in my jaw joint that are frequently associated with his, I am a clencher and can tell that my front teeth (anteriors) are beginning to wear on each other since they touch well before my back teeth touch. We have been discussing my options for opening my vertical occlusion, but I suspected that my lack of obvious symptoms was masking the true urgency of my situation.

Experiencing the K7 for the first time as a patient, I was almost stunned by the insight rendered by a computer program relying on electrical impulses, electro-magnetic technology, and precision synchronicity. It truly goes beyond subjective and provides indisputable scientific proof of how the teeth, jaw joints and muscles work together for good or bad.
With electrodes strategically placed on the relevant muscles, I could watch on a computer monitor as the K7 accurately tracked the movements of my muscles under various circumstances and then translated that data into graphs that looked like a lie-detector test in 4 different colors.
Among other things, it confirmed that we will need to open the vertical dimension of my bite by probably about 4 mm instead of the 1 mm we previously suspected. And to tell you the truth, that feels about right to me. That's where my jaw feels most relaxed and comfortable and the fact that I tend to let my jaw rest there most of the time when I'm not talking or eating has probably saved me from more serious symptoms which will inevitably begin to manifest themselves in the future if left untreated.
So what now? We will repeat the scans and TENS me into a comfortable, relaxed bite. Then we'll make an orthotic for me to wear for several months to verify that we have the correct bite modeled and decide on the best way to stabilize that bite in a more vertical and permanent way, probably using a combination of onlays and orthodontics. So, stay tuned...
I'm excited that we have this technology at MoreSmiles...the very first in St. Tammany Parish for sure, and one of only a handful in the whole state. I know that we will be able to help more patients resolve TMJ disorders, get rid of headaches and neck aches, eliminate excessive wear of teeth, prevent breaking and chipping of natural teeth and restorations, and precisely complete full mouth restorations in a bite that will not only function properly and comfortably but will last a long time.

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posted by MoreSmiles at 9:45 AM


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