A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of graduating from The Texas Center for Occlusal Studies residency program, as a “Biorejuvenation Dentist.” For the past year, I’ve traveled to Texas every other month for over 120 hours of one-on-one instruction from renowned experts in the field of occlusion and minimally invasive dentistry. This residency program was a considerable investment of time and money, and it’s something I’m incredibly proud of and excited to share, not for myself, but for the people I will be able to help.
As someone whose chosen a career in the medical field, I feel that it’s my responsibility to continually seek out answers for the people I serve. When I started practicing dentistry, I quickly noticed that there was a population of patients who were widely underserved. A segment of people who are left spinning their wheels with unanswered questions and neverending dental issues.
People with an unstable chewing system.
What does that mean? Well, let me ask you a question. When you think of the health of your mouth, what do you think of? You probably think about your teeth and gums, right? That’s what most of us think about when we discuss oral health. But the truth is, our lower teeth are attached to one of the most complex joints in our bodies, our TMJs. And our TMJs are connected to many muscles in the face and neck. Every time we talk, chew, open and close, even in our sleep, our teeth and TMJs are working together. It’s an incredibly complex system that’s in constant movement, and when it’s not functioning correctly, we begin to see it break down.
Think about your knee for a second. Almost all of us know someone who’s had a knee replacement surgery. When that knee joint begins to break down due to stress, “warning signs” start to surface. Maybe it’s in the form of pain, maybe it’s loss of function (not able to walk), or perhaps it’s both.
Well, just like other areas of our body that start to break down, our chewing system gives “warning signs” or “stressors” that indicate something isn’t right. It can come in the form of TMJ pain, or it can come in visible signs of stress in the mouth or both.
An example of a “stressor” sign that something is off with your chewing system is tooth wear.
When I look at this picture, it says to me; something isn’t right. And not just cosmetically, there is a functional issue with this person’s chewing system.
This is an actual patient of mine.
His sever tooth wear had caused him to lose several teeth, and each year more tooth structure and enamel was wearing away. Once a person has worn into the middle yellow layer of their tooth, on average, they can expect to see their teeth wear at a rate of one millimeter per 4-5 years. The guy above had 4mm lower teeth. These would be worn down to the gums in 16-20 years! What will happen during that 16-20 year period? Those teeth will need root canals, crowns, and eventually, you may lose the tooth and need an implant. It’s a cycle, a disease cycle. An expensive, time consuming, frustrating cycle. This happens one tooth at a time, but it gets frustrating when you have 28 teeth (a person without wisdom teeth) going through the same process!
A lot of times, people with tooth wear are suggested to wear a night guard. And although it does slow the rate at which your teeth wear, it’s not a permanent solution to the overall bigger issue. Take a look at this example of a person who wore a night guard over an eight-year period.
It didn’t eliminate the problem. And this is why I’ve dedicated myself to searching for better answers for people.
When I graduated dental school and started my AEGD residency program (Advanced Education in General Dentistry) and studied at The Dawson Academy, I understood the magnitude of evaluating the whole chewing system. It was at The Shuster Center for Professional Development where I made up my mind that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping patients break the “disease cycle.” I don’t want to “fix” people’s problems; I want to help them find the CAUSE and ELIMINATE the problem.
How could I do that?
By studying what a “Healthy Chewing System” looks like.
which brought me to The Texas Center for Occlusal Studies and Minimally Invasive Dentistry.
Here I was taught Biorejuventaion Dentistry. Wondering what the heck that is? Let me tell you! Rejuvenation dentistry is a new biology-based approach to treatment. Based on extensive scientific research and observation of the human chewing system, where:
- Jaw joints are stable
- Muscles are relaxed
- Teeth are not worn down
Rejuvenation dentistry is a comprehensive process where the jaw joint is stabilized, and the teeth are restored using conservative techniques to their natural size, shape, and position. They are restored in harmony with each other and in a way to allow our facial muscles and jaw joints to relax. Pain and dysfunction are alleviated, and appearance is enhanced as a result of the process.
This process can serve people who have:
- Pain in their jaw joints
- Tension headaches
- Sore head and neck muscles
- Worn teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Loose teeth
- If you feel like you have “more than one bite”
The Rejuvenation Process
The patient of mine who had severe tooth wear and who was caught in the “disease cycle” told me that he wanted to keep his natural teeth, and not lose anymore. He also didn’t want crowns or veneers because more tooth structure has to be removed for that to be accomplished. He wanted a conservative option to keep his teeth. Together, we went through the Rejuvenation process: Diagnose, Stabilize, Restore.
The Rejuvenation process starts with a detailed analysis of the TMJ joints, teeth, and airway for a proper diagnosis. The diagnosis process is a complete look at your system as a whole. And it includes a CBCT which gives us a 3D look at your airway and TMJ joints. I always tell my patients, if you were going to spend a lot of money building the beautiful house of your dreams, and you wanted it to last forever, wouldn’t it be a good idea to inspect the land you were building on?
Now, if I were to have restored my patient without having his jaw joint in the correct place, he would’ve continued down the same path he was on before. Remember, his body showed the “stress” (worn teeth) as a sign that something was wrong with his system. His bite was not in the correct position.
So how did I help him, and how can I help your system get into the most healthy and ideal position?
An Orthotic is a clear appliance that fits on the top teeth and is worn day and night. It has two purposes:
- Allows you to see how many of your symptoms go away when your bite and joint are stable.
- Allows me to make an accurate diagnosis.
Wearing the orthotic device can last between 4-10 weeks. During this time I adjust the orthotic every week to gradually reduce your symptoms (if you have any) and stabilize your joints.The appliance is custom made and adjusted in a particular manner.
The whole Rejuvenation process is extremely precise. The C20 therapy is the groundwork, it allows your jaw joint to become stable and sets the foundation for that beautiful house we’re about to build!
Three weeks ago a lady came to me with debilitating jaw pain, which is another “stressor” or warning sign that your system is not functioning properly. Once I got her into orthotic therapy, her pain was gone within one week. She was able to stop taking her migraine and muscle relaxor medication that she’d been taking for head and neck pain. This was huge for her because she didn’t want the medication, it’s just the most common solution given to people with these symptoms. So she was able to stop taking medication and felt better than she had in a long time.
The fun part! Everyone’s favorite, the before and after photo! The big reveal.
But it doesn’t end there. There’s more to this “after photo” than the appearance. There’s FUNCTION. There’s the fact that this person was restored using minimally invasive dentistry. Which means, no unnecessary drilling away of natural teeth, no numbing medicine, and more affordable.
Rejuvenation dentistry gives people a chance to keep their natural teeth in a less costly and more conservative way.
THIS IS HUGE!
One of the best things about Rejuvenation dentistry is how conservative the approach is. What I’ve noticed in my practice is that “unstable chewing systems” don’t discriminate. It’s not just older people who are coming to me with major problems; it’s the young people too. A couple of months ago, one of my patients who is 23 had already cracked two of her back virgin teeth (no prior dental treatment). Her system was off. And we were able to ELIMINATE her issues through rejuvenation dentistry.
What does this mean for her? Through diagnosing, C20 therapy, and minimally restoring her bite with composite material, no natural tooth structure had to be taken away. This is so important for a young person. At all costs, you want to help them keep their natural tooth structure. She didn’t have to have any crowns and no numbing medicine. And look at that beautiful smile.
Her system is now stable, and because of that, we’ve helped her stop the cycle and eliminate future dental issues.
Who is rejuvenation dentistry for?
There’s a group of people out there who are left with unanswered questions. A group of people who don’t have a chewing system that works properly. Our body gives us “warning signs” or “stressors” when things aren’t right. Worn teeth, unexplained cracking or breaking of teeth, gum recession despite good oral hygiene, these are all sign that could indicate your chewing system is unstable.
If you’re having TMJ pain, clicking, popping, headaches, facial tension, ringing in your ears, and can’t find any relief or solutions, rejuvenation dentistry could be for you.
If you or someone you know thinks their system is off, please contact me. Even if you just want to talk. You deserve to know what’s going on with your body.
My mission is to help you understand the CAUSE of your dental issues in an environment where you can make the best decisions for yourself and what you want for the future. I want to help guide you down a road of health if that’s where you choose to go.
Graduating from The Texas Center for Occlusal Studies and Minimally Invasive dentistry was not the easy road. It was a financial commitment, and it was a time commitment. And it’s a commitment to the way I practice dentistry. I would make that choice again in a second because I don’t choose the easy road for my patients; I choose the right road.