The Orthodontic Exam

Diagnosis is the most critical part of orthodontic treatment. In the diagnostic phase it is important to take the following factors into consideration when planning treatment:

  • initial malocclusion (poor bite),
  • growth (if applicable),
  • patient primary concern (esthetics, etc),
  • treatment limitations and
  • treatment objectives are considered.
If a proper diagnosis is to be achieved, it is important to acquire the following:

1. HISTORY is used to:

  1. Assure the patients desires are addressed.
  2. Consider any systemic health factors.
  3. List any jaw dysfunction symptoms.
2. X-RAYS & PHOTOGRAPHS are used to:
  1. Evaluate bone support of the teeth.
  2. Visualize the treatment objectives (VTO) - using computer morphing.
  3. Evaluate TM Joint (jaw joint) condition.
  4. Evaluate individual teeth condition.
  5. Scan for supernumerary (extra) teeth or anomalis (unusual) growth.
3. ARTICULATORS and MOUNTED DIAGNOSTIC MODELS are used to determine if the bite is in a proper relationship to the TM Joint (jaw joint).
Dental Articulator with mounted
Diagnostic Models

Not all orthodontic cases require an articulator for diagnosis. But, when indicated, it can make a SIGNIFICANT difference in the long-term success or failure of the case.

The relationship of the jaw joint (TMJ) to a persons' bite is the "cornerstone" of correct orthodontic diagnosis.

Articulators allow the upper and lower teeth to be related together in a position that is correct for the jaw joint (TMJ). Most people close their teeth together fairly close to a correct position and the orthodontic diagnosis is straight forward. When there is a major discrepancy between where their teeth come together and where the jaw joint is positioned - the diagnosis is then more difficult and requires an articulator.

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Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
2009 Birdcreek Terrace Temple, TX 76502 254.773.9007 | Fax 254.773.8051
©2004 Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD | Online since 1996 | Updated Continuously