Dr. Ronald Hauptman, DDS and Bahar Rowhani, DDS
311 Park Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Why is it that, in the same mouth, some teeth have wear and recession at the gumline while others do not? Most people believe that it has to do with using hard toothbrushes. In reality, however, we usually apply the same pressure and force to all of our teeth as we brush, no matter what type of toothbrush we use.
New research is making us look more closely at the static forces that we generate in our mouths, such as clenching and swallowing, and at the cyclic forces, such as chewing and grinding. These forces cause gumline lesions by flexing teeth and, ultimately, resulting in the breakdown of teeth at their weakest link, which is the enamel-root junction.
Since lesions on the teeth are the first indications of disharmony in the biting forces in the mouth, we like to diagnose and treat them as soon as possible. When these lesions are noted we can do one of two things One option is to maintain the patient with an orthotic appliance (night guard) to prevent further destruction of the tooth structure.
The other option is to do a thorough evaluation of the relationship, or lack thereof, between the anterior and posterior teeth along with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the neuromuscular system in order to maintain a cohesive relationship among the three.
We have learned that if we can achieve harmony among these three forces in the mouth, we can create a stress-free oral environment in which there is minimal destruction of the tooth structure, arthritic change of the TMJ, and neuromuscular pain in the face, neck and shoulder area.