As doctors in the field of dental medicine, we have a responsibility to our patients to advocate for their best dental health and understand their dental needs thoroughly. There are three disciplines in dentistry that have a uniquely powerful relationship that every general dentist should have a fundamental understanding on.
Tenured POS Instructor, Dr. Richard Richter, provides insight on this “Ultimate Triad”. He writes how Orthodontics, Dental Sleep Medicine, and TMD therapy can work together to promote the best treatment results. With his decades of experience, he explains how to assess all three disciplines together successfully and why every dentist needs to understand their relationship and how to manage them.
When a patient presents to our office to straighten his or her teeth, we must do more than just look to straighten rotated teeth. We must do more than merely identify the malocclusion.
When doing your orthodontic evaluation, don’t just classify your patients’ malocclusion, also attempt to determine the cause of the malocclusion.
I have seen many patients over the years who want orthodontics and come to me with a history of previous treatments. Sometimes the cause of the malocclusion is an airway disorder which promoted muscle habits with dysphagia.
It is vital to understand not only the types of malocclusions, but also the concept that a malocclusion can be a secondary result of a more serious breathing issue.
DENTAL SLEEP MEDICINE
Dental Sleep Medicine is a field which has been gaining momentum for over 20 years. Most recently, it has become a treatment offered by many dental providers, setting their services apart from the local competition. As it is with any new skill implemented in your practice, it is imperative that you receive thorough training. As doctors, we must take responsibility for understanding the ramifications of oral appliance therapy for sleep related breathing disorders.
We must be able to answer questions such as:
How does it impact the occlusion?
How does it impact the TMJ’s and its related pain syndromes?
How do we measure the success of this treatment?
Can we help protect these patients from the many serious medical disorders associated with sleep apnea?
Can we ultimately be part of saving someone’s life through successful oral appliance therapy?
It is vital to understand that malocclusion, disease, and muscle habits may cause TMD related pain. A thorough understanding of the many different etiologies associated with these syndromes will help you to navigate through the process of diagnosis and treatment planning.
Understand the difference between treating the symptoms and treating the cause. Taking the time to identify this is vital to helping your patients and sometimes saving their lives.
We hope these tips and increased understanding of the dental triad can help you to better assess and treat your patients. If you want even more insight on how these three disciplines can be used to help your patients, you can learn more at Dr. Richter's next class:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Richard Richter is a tenured instructor for Progressive Orthodontic Seminars who teaches in both the Traditional Orthodontics and Aligner+ programs. He is a detailed clinician who seeks to offer his patients the highest level of care by integrating three areas of dentistry that he is most passionate about: Orthodontics, Dental Sleep Medicine, and TMD treatment.
After seeing the tremendous relief that he was able to provide to his patients, Dr. Richter was inspired to create course: The Ultimate Triad: Ortho, Sleep Apnea, and TMD Treatment. This seminar teaches diagnostic approaches, treatment options, and practical and easy steps to start helping your patients immediately.