Occlusion or Delusion: Do You Know These Three Pieces of the Patient Health Puzzle?

There are three integral pieces to the patient health puzzle.

There are three pieces to the puzzle of patient health that determine how we move forward with occlusion.

Patients come to us looking for answers to their health questions.

by Dr. Lee Ann Brady

Patients come to us looking for answers, hoping that we will be the all-knowing person who finally reveals the source of their frustrations.

Establishing Expectations

There's a lot of pressure to perfectly determine the source of their health issues.

In a previous “Occlusion or Delusion” post, I wrote about why this can be a problematic situation for both the patient and the dentist. It places a lot of pressure on the dentist, when in truth, there may be no simple or easy reason for the patient’s pain or discomfort.

Once you’ve established a reasonable level of expectations with your patient, you can move on to the investigation part of the occlusion process.

3 Pieces of the Patient Health Occlusion Puzzle

There are three integral pieces to the patient health puzzle.

Figuring out how you can best help your patient begins with fitting together the pieces of the patient health puzzle. You have to suss out the seemingly minor clues that together lead to the root of the issue:

  1. Joints
  2. Muscles
  3. Tops of Teeth

With these three categories in mind, you’ll be able to analyze your patient’s risk factors and health from a multitude of angles.

Defining Health in the Realm of Occlusion

We must utilize a good definition of health in occlusion cases.

When I discuss occlusion, I like to define “health” as anatomically correct and absent of disease or inflammation.

We know about the ‘pop’ or ‘click’ factor and we usually assume that this shows obvious evidence of past damage.

What we need to determine above all else is this: Are the patient’s joints healthy or breaking down?

I’ll examine this further in the next “Occlusion or Delusion” post on the CMS blog. And don’t forget to read the most recent blog on thorough patient history exams.

What methods do you use to better understand your patient’s joint and muscle health? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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