Posts Tagged ‘mago’

Occlusal Correction: Occlusal Splint Therapy

This type of therapy for occlusal correction is temporary, but does a lot of good things over a period of time to protect your bite and its bad effects on your whole chewing system — even your whole head, down to your shoulders.

I’ve mentioned the MAGO way back when, and how I use it to treat TMJ cases. This is just about identical. It is basically a hard plastic mouthguard designed to fit your mouth in such a way that provides a stable bite and prevents further clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. The splint also relieves jaw and muscle pain caused by malocclusion problems. The kind of treatment you’ll need after using an occlusal splint will determine how long you wear it, and may even change the course of negative effects again caused by your malocclusion.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles


You and Your Bite

Occlusal disease is the fancy name for “bite disease”. What? How does one’s bite become diseased, you ask? Well, there are three types of bad things that can happen to your teeth: decay (cavities), gum disease, and bite disease. We’ve discussed the first two, so here goes occlusal (bite) disease.

Occlusal disease is the condition where your bite — the way your teeth come down onto each other — is uneven, crooked, or misaligned. You may not be able to bite down all the way or chew thoroughly, and your jaw muscles must work harder for these simple tasks. Because of the unevenness, some teeth are worn down faster than others, and further wearing, breaking, or chipping of teeth may occur. The extra work on the jaw muscles also causes pain all around the jaw, mouth, head, and neck. “Aging” teeth may not be aging at all — the wear and tear is because of a bite problem long left untreated. It’s a mess!

Occlusal disease is often hard to spot. Unlike cavities or gum disease, it’s not always visually apparent. What may appear to be a randomly broken tooth could be a more severe underlying problem… and fixing just that one tooth is not going to help if the whole jaw is misaligned.

Dentists trained at The Pankey Institute develop the eyes for recognizing bite problems, making it less of a mystery to solve if one finds himself suffering the symptoms. Much research goes into fixing the problem; casts and models of your teeth are made so the dentist can see where the problem lies and how it can be adjusted (bite analysis). Occlusal disease also ties directly into bioesthetic dentistry and treating TMJ disorders. A simple, non-surgical tweaking of the muscles (most often used with a MAGO, or mouthguard-looking splint that helps “train” the muscles to realign in the correct positions) may very well be the solution to chewing food without harming your skull, and preserving functional, straight teeth well into your later years.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Bioesthetically Preserving A Healthy Bite

A current patient of mine has severely worn-down teeth & an overbite, caused by several years’ worth of clenching & grinding. She has two choices for restorations: several veneers for the visible-when-smiling teeth in the front, or full crown restorations for just about the entire mouth.

Determining which course to take will be a $40,000 difference in cost, beginning from an already high price. See the importance of preserving an already-healthy bite or taking care to make minor improvements early on in life? Bioesthetic methods are low-maintenance, greatly cost-effective, and save a lot of headaches (literally). It’s better to have to wear a mouth guard every night than have to deal with the financial and physical pains later.

For patients whose bite needs slight adjustment to avoid the scenario described above, I design a MAGO — a maxillary anterior guided orthotic, for those of you who might understand and/or might be interested in this kind of terminology (not!) — or “mouth guard” for patients early on so that their bite might be protected. The MAGO will simultaneously protect their teeth from clenching/grinding at night (when we have the least control over our bruxing habits) and develop a healthy jaw alignment over time if worn consistently.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Bioesthetic Bite Correction: What Can I Expect?

I am glad you asked! As I rattle off so many great things about bioesthetics, I fail to list what, exactly, the process involves.

First, you must find a dentist who practices bioesthetics (call me if you live in Southern California). The process begins with procedures involving studying and analyzing your chewing system. A maxillary anterior guided orthotic (MAGO) is formed to temporarily correct your bite and relax or stabilize jaw joints and muscles. A MAGO is made out of hard plastic and shaped like a sports mouthpiece, and is designed to prevent further clenching or grinding of your teeth during this process.

Next, records are written and measurements of your jaw joint rotations in their natural positions are taken. A model of your teeth is made to determine what may be causing the problems and what must be done to correct them. Radiographs and photographs taken all around your face, neck, and mouth to help the dentist make the final diagnosis before beginning treatment. Then the ideal form for your teeth is molded in wax and the design is transferred to your mouth to test the comfort and functionality. Treatment begins after this.

The degree of treatment needed will vary from patient to patient. Some cases require just some reshaping or bonding of teeth, while others may need to undergo surgery and complete full mouth rejuvenation. Bioesthetics, as I mentioned before, though, allows the most conservative dental work to be done, so don’t be scared away by false visuals of half a dozen doctors surrounding you in a dark room with all sorts of sharp, whirring tools! Not the case!

After treatment, which can last as long as a couple weeks to several months, your natural, genetically original chewing system will be restored, and you’ll get to enjoy your new smile, knowing that your teeth and jaws are in their right places and working harmoniously together.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Why Does My Veneer Keep Falling Off?

This is a true story told to me by a new patient named Stacey.

Stacey is originally from the East Coast and was given my name by a dentist who attended the Pankey Institute, an entity that teaches a sophisticated way to repair mouths.

Anyway, back to my story. Stacey asked me how long a veneer should last. The answer is usually a long time. Some of the first ones I placed almost 25 years ago are still in the mouth and functioning well. Stacey, on the other hand, has had three replacements of her veneer in the last three years. This is obviously far too frequent, especially since she had had to pay each time. To make matters worse, these three replacements did not include the multiple times she had to have them re-cemented them. When I met Stacey today, she was missing her right front tooth. Obviously this was not a pretty sight and she was not happy. I asked her if she wanted to find out WHY and, to her credit, she decided to let us discover the problem and plan the cure.

So this is what we did…

I started with a complete exam. This told me Stacey’s mouth has three problems:

1. She has been grinding her teeth!
2. The way her bite hit was causing all the force of the bite to come down right on the veneers which caused them to break the cement junction!
3. Her teeth are significantly worn down. This changes the the forces and dynamics of her mouth accentuating the harmful forces.

After completing the exam, I placed a temporary bonding on the front teeth. Stacey was ecstatic and I thought, “not bad if I did not say so myself.”

I also made some molds of her teeth to make her a TMJ splint called a MAGO. This appliance is used to help diagnose the true jaw position called CR (Centric Occlusion) and then we can find true, neutral position. Finally, after discovering the CR and the neutral positions, we are ready for the full diagnosis and we can develop the PLAN.

In the meantime, I think the temporary bonding will last through this time, giving Stacey a temporary beautiful smile while we work to give her her permanent, stable one. I will keep you posted.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles