Clinical Articulation Techniques

Dr. Hugh Flax

Getting a Simple Handle on Articulation

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Occlusal management is a foundational pillar of dental care excellence. The stability of natural oral structures (pulpal tissues; periodontal margins; enamel integrity) and implants (bone loading effects on density) are greatly impacted by force vectors and intensity on teeth. Since occlusal conditions can be fluid and change due to natural conditions or trauma, at any time, dental professionals must be able to efficiently gather data, diagnose, and fine-tune bite changes to teeth, restorative materials, and bite appliances. When practices are already dealing with the challenges of time management and overhead costs, reaching into drawers for instrumentation and materials like bite forceps and articulating paper presents an interruption in the flow of the appointment and infection control protocols.

Fortunately, there are innovative companies in dentistry like Microcopy, a Kennesaw, GA based firm (just north of Atlanta) that has a long history of creating streamlined simplifications that have benefitted dental practices (including my own) for many years. A new product called Bite-Chek has been designed and manufactured at Microcopy’s state-of-the-art production facility. It represents the high point of Microcopy’s commitment to developing easy-to-use products that simplify dentistry.

What makes Bite-Chek unique is a user friendly product design (Fig.1) of an easy-grip disposable handle (acting as articulating forceps) that is conveniently pre-attached to bite film that keeps the film from curling and removing the risk of patients biting down on metal. Furthermore, since no forceps are required for placement due to the easy-grip handle, there is no marking on gloves or surrounding equipment. Adding more value, this product can easily be available with without having to retrieve other instruments. Our assistants and hygienist love the forceps-free convenience and handiness decreasing one less step to worry about during the patient exam.

For many years, we have maintained a high standard for occlusal management so that our patients become “connoisseurs” of their bite. That awareness has allowed our patients to give us feedback when they experience changes in their dental comfort. In our busy practice, during routine continuing care or an unplanned dental emergency, the new Bite-Chek articulation film simplifies occlusal adjustments, accurately marking points of contact and minimizing the effects of “too high” an occlusion causing tooth sensitivity or mobility. We also use Bite-Chek for effortlessly monitoring the effectiveness of bite guard therap. (Fig.2)

In this age of high technology, it is gratifying to see a low tech solution to a common problem as described above. Looks like Microcopy has developed a winner for our practice and profession!

flex bite chek
Fig. 1
Bite-Chek has an easy-grip handle eliminating the need for forceps. The handle keeps gloves clean and because it hold the film flat, the paper does not curl.

flex bite
Fig.2
Regular monitoring of occlusal appliances helps avoid alteration of tooth/ restorative anatomy and keep muscles relaxed. This is made more convenient using Bite-Chek. Very simply: Dry the opposing surface; position the film is on the teeth facing the center of the mouth and mark the occlusion.

Hugh Flax, DDS AAACD MICOI
Atlanta, GA

Dr. Flax practices full time in Atlanta, Georgia
focusing on functional-appearance related conditions
and advanced laser dentistry as well as writing
and lecturing on how to help others do the same
for their own practices.