What is the best story? The story that is waiting to be told.
- All concepts are relevant to every patient.
- All concepts are both independent by themselves and dependent on all other concepts as they interact in function, dysfunction, parafunction and rest.
- All concepts in occlusion have a “pure” definition and should never be considered a concept of occlusion (i.e. a philosophy).
- Pure concepts in occlusion are ethical teaching tools that provide value to the knowledge of occlusion.
“Pure” is synonymous with clean and free from contamination. Pure definitions are difficult to find and over the years are changed and diluted for interpretation of a particular point of view. Pure definitions in the original context are rare and change with time. When definitions are adapted to fit a “concept,” the original idea has the potential to become distorted.
A “concept” is a thought of a generic idea that has been derived from a single meaning of a term. This common characteristic is that which is similar to all of the different individuals. Arthur Schopenhauer in his text “On the Will in Nature” when relating concepts of physiology and pathology gave way to the notion that, “every concept originates through our equating what is unequal.”
The stomatognathic system can be compared to a giant puzzle with numerous solution strategies. No two humans have identical ‘occlusal’ puzzle pieces or functional performance. You might say that people’s occlusions are as unique an identifier as their fingerprints. Dr. Major Ash, teacher and author, said in a lecture at the 2000 American Equilibration Society in Chicago that, “Science is a battle where ideas compete for acceptance.” He later asked, “Is there an occlusal scheme with a biological advantage?” and then wondered, “What is the truth?”
Every concept in occlusion has the same theme. Take a definition in its pure form: Contract and expand the common characteristics of equality within the unequal dynamics of human anatomy and function. Ask yourself, “Is the concept ethical?” and “What value does the concept provide in making occlusion logical to me and my patient?” Understand the concept by itself in its pure form before integrating the idea with other concepts in occlusion. Isolating each idea in its pure definition provides a road map to understanding and simplifying the twisted philosophies that we learn as concepts OF occlusion. Every dentist resorts to the potentially dangerous practice of relying on trial and error techniques to navigate the maze that occlusion really is.
Occlusion Confusion, an article by Dr. Gordon Christiansen (Dentaltown, April 2006 ), describes the dilemma encountered by every dental school, every student, and every dentist. Early in his career, Dr. Christiansen realized that he too had been poorly educated in occlusion during his training. Out of necessity and through trial and error, he came to incorporate occlusal concepts into his practice. The turning point came when the income generated by occlusal therapy became comparable to the one generated by restorative procedures.
Up until now, most dentists have waited until occlusions wear out or degenerate before searching for methods of treatment. That is generally the time when they enroll in continuing education courses or start attending workshops and study clubs where they benefit from discussing treatment planning cases with other doctors and specialists. Such brainstorming opportunities quickly expose participants to the diversity of clinical philosophies. Digital Occlusion will allow dentists to successfully incorporate occlusal therapy into their practice by educating their assistants and their hygienists in the art and science of occlusion. Digital dentistry makes development, anatomy, and function transparent thus preventing occlusions from degenerating in the first place.
What Concepts Teach
The basic vocabulary of dentistry has many interpretations. Dentists will continue to bend concepts to fit their personal philosophy of how to practice dentistry.
Each dentist is unique and special and each concept should be adapted to fulfill your need. Each concept has an academic history and each concept has a clinical application. It is important to recognize the difference between the two, because trouble follows those who become fixated on a single concept. Radical interpretation to satisfy a selfish agenda of a single concept limits your effectiveness as a dentist. Read the concepts for their academic historical value as a way to refresh the original meaning of the language of dentistry. Only after you can value the meaning of the concepts history over time can you develop your own interpretation and integrate it into your personal journey in occlusion.
The goals of Digital Occlusion are stated on the home page and are intended to enhance the understanding of every concept of occlusion. The purpose of this section is to outline many different concepts in an effort to bring harmony and closure to occlusion confusion. Digital dentistry embraces all concepts and brings them closer together. A better understanding of what you think you know about occlusion should never end in your career. Enjoy the future.