T-Scan is a computerized bite analysis instrument which allows us to be extremely precise in adjusting bite relations. Unlike the typical carbon-type bite checking paper which only shows where a contact is, the T-Scan identifies the contact through a computer on a real-time basis, showing the bite force intensity of each contact throughout the mouth in 0.1 second intervals. This allows us to adjust the occlusion and provide a level of restorative service, functionally balancing tooth, periodontal support, and muscular activity, with a degree of precision never before attainable.
How does the T-Scan work?
Patients are asked to bite and tap on the computerized T-Scan sensor. The information is transferred to a computer screen and presented in a movie format. The software evaluates the amount of force on every tooth and organizes the information in various formats, allowing the doctor to completely evaluate all the occlusal contacts.
A Clinical Technique Using T-Scan Occlusal Diagnostic System
With patients sitting up in a dental chair in a similar position to eating, they are asked to swallow and squeeze their teeth on a sensor and then to tap firmly 3 to 4 times before returning to the squeezed position. A movie is recorded over a 5-7 second time period. The mandible should not be manipulated by the doctor.
The T-Scan software allows the practitioner to record, store, and quantifie the pattern and direction of force that the mandibular teeth and/or prosthetics place on the upper occlusal plane. The computerized articulating paper places a value on every tooth contact in both two and three dimensions. As patients tap from initial force, to maximum force, to releasing force, they develop a repeatable signature force pattern. The center of force marker in the 2-D format is a summary of all contacts organized by intensity and sequence in any given plane of the occlusal force cycle. As patients tap, the marker moves and a force video is recorded as the teeth travel into and out of the simulated chewing cycle. In a five-second movie, the software will record hundreds of planes of force.
Each tap records a similar force sequence. As patients tap a second and a third time, they have a tendency to load the joints a little better with each tap. The summary of all the taps is a pattern that defines the force distribution on the patients’ occlusion which we call their Habitual force Pattern (HFP). The squeeze at the end of the recording is the force on the occlusion when patients are in their Maximum Intercuspal Position (MIP).
The T-Scan sensor is articulating paper for the future. Force transfer in occlusion is not new, but seeing the articulating marks in a 3-D movie is a new paradigm. The software demonstrates how precisely force contacts are organized. In fractions of a second, thousands of contact intensity points repeat themselves over and over, in a perfect sequence. The final squeeze is the digital recording of the maximum interlock position (MIP). The paradigm shift is to seriously look at how teeth come together, engage all the philosophies of occlusion, and open the door to the future, “3-D occlusion”.