Joseph Blaes, DDS
Pearl 1 - NTI Clenching-Suppression System by Heraeus Kulzer. This new device is for your patients who suffer from symptoms that can include frequent and recurring tension headaches, aching jaw muscles, and sore teeth. To use this technique, you must consider a redefinition of bruxism as severe clenching, with or without forcible lateral excursions. Therefore, the intensity of clenching dictates the severity of grinding.
So, placing a "night guard" only compounds the problem, because the patient now clenches the appliance you placed and gets the same symptoms. The cause of the problem is in the temporalis muscle clenching and not the joint. The high-intensity contractions of these powerful muscles cause pain in the muscle and the surrounding tissues, joints, and muscles. If the intensity of the clenching could be reduced, the source of the pain could be effectively reduced.
The NTI device is simple to fabricate in the office during a one-visit, 30-minute appointment with no impressions or lab fees. It is a simple device that fits on the upper centrals and has a plane that contacts the lower incisors and opens the bite so that no teeth can come together in centric or excursive movements. As the lower incisors sense moderate to severe pressure, a reflex response of the trigeminal signals the temporalis to relax, thereby reducing the clenching intensity. Pain is reduced or eliminated in just a few days.
Heraeus Kulzer has put together a complete kit, including patient information and a videotape describing the technique. I am wearing an appliance and have noticed a decrease in my symptoms. I notice that I sleep much better with the appliance. My wife is wearing one, too, and Rhonda (Assistant Editor, Dental Economics) is as well. They both have noticed a reduction of symptoms. I know that you have all kinds of questions about this. I would suggest that you contact the company and ask about the NTI device. It has been used successfully on thousands of patients who have experienced a reduction of symptoms. You can qualify which patients this device will help by using a simple examination and palpation of the temporalis muscle.
Order from your dealer; call Heraeus Kulzer at (800) 343-5336; or visit their Web site at www.kulzer.com.
Pearl 2 - EzeeKleen 2.5 by Oasis Dental Group. This device is an alternative to distilled water. If you buy bottled, distilled water for your autoclave or have your own still, you need to look at this device. The EzeeKleen 2.5 is the way to manufacture quality water for your sterilizers quickly and easily. It will manufacture 4 liters of autoclave-safe water in approximately four minutes.
You will never again run out of water for the sterilizer. Stop those last-minute runs to the grocery store to replenish the distilled water. You will have no more storage problems, and you can monitor the quality of the water you produce. This unit utilizes a unique cartridge system to produce water that meets or exceeds autoclave-manufacturer requirements at a lower cost than anything you currently use.
It is easy to install and can be wall-mounted or counter-mounted. All components are quick-connected so that the cartridge changes take only seconds. Call Oasis at (800) 338-6693.
Pearl 3 - Macro 5 SLR Camera by Polaroid Healthcare Imaging. I am sure that many of you already own this wonderful camera. I just got mine a few weeks ago and already I am in love with it! This simple camera makes it quick and easy to get the clear images you need. Fully automatic and simple to operate, the lightweight Macro 5 has five built-in precision lenses. You simply turn the dial on top of the camera to choose the magnification you desire, from 20 to 300 percent. The Single Lens Reflex ensures that what you see is exactly what you photograph.
The magic of this camera is the "Light Lock" focusing system. You simply move the camera in and out until the two easy-to-see beams of light intersect, and the camera is in perfect focus. Then take your photograph. With the Macro 5, you can immediately and clearly show patients the work you have done and how it has improved their appearance.
These clear, precise pre- and post-treatment images also can be a powerful way to market your successes to new and existing patients. Many dentists have found that including photos along with claim forms can cut reimbursement time in half. The high-resolution, instant images also can be used for supplementing dental charts, giving the lab more information on the case and showing shade and changes from bleaching.
I use a technique that I learned from Dr. Mark Friedman, a great cosmetic dentist from San Diego. When he finishes a cosmetic case, he does not give patients a mirror. Instead, he takes an instant "after" picture to match patients` "before" picture. He then has patients get out of the chair and stand before a mirror to look at the finished case. Along the border of the mirror, Dr. Friedman attaches the "before and after" pictures to remind patients how they looked and to give them a close-up look at the finished case. I am using this technique with great success.
The cost is a surprise, too. You can have this amazing, foolproof camera for under $750. Even better, the Macro 5 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free. If you are doing any cosmetic dentistry, you must have this camera. Call (800) 315-0478, Ext. 11A, or visit www.polaroid.com/healthcare.
Dr. Blaes has a general practice in the St. Louis area. He is known for his expertise in dental materials and techniques and his innovative systems designs. He writes and lectures on "How To Increase Productivity and Profitability." He may be reached at (314) 434-6808.