A New Look at an Old Bite Splint

A Passion for Healing

Healing Ministry of Dentistry


The Bicuspid Buildup as an Alternative in Phase II Treatment of Craniomandibular Dysfunction

The Biscuspid Buildup: As a Diagnostic Aid in TMJ and Muscular Dysfunction—A Followup Study

A New Look at an Old Bite Splint

For Dentists

Occlusal Screening, Tests, and Bite Splint Adjustments

The Ministry of Healing in Dentistry

By Walter W. Niemann, DDS

I never realized until I reflected on all those past years of dentistry how much of a healing ministry dentistry could be. I got a hint of it when we routinely wrote atop our daily patient schedule, "Lord help us heal". This was obviously an appeal to the good Lord to help us help our patients. This aspect of practice, broadened and after about 10 years patients were initially met in a private consultation room (no intimidating dental chair and equipment) . The purpose was to have a personal and private dialogue with the patient and their consultants.

This idea grew out of the fact that a study club colleague Dr. Robert Murray and I had heard Dr. Leo Hoffman present and demonstrate this technique at one of the Academy American of Dental Practice Administration meetings. This seemed like such a good idea we decided to implement it in our offices. This turned out to be a bonanza for patient confidence, as we asked personal questions about their needs, wants, and fears associated with dentistry. Confidence was built, relaxation ensued, and friendship was also established.

Discovery of the patient's fears and anxiety are revealed, confronted and many times dispelled which is nothing short of a miracle. Another outgrowth of the dialogue is the discussion about medical maladies such as headache, stiff neck, sleep abnormalities etc. These are often related to teeth and jaw dysfunctions but have not been previously discussed by previous Dentists or medical therapists.

The reality is that current research reveals a high degree of comorbidity existing between TMJ/D dysfunction, and fibromyalgia , irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, GIRD, wartime stress, etc. etc. etc. The relationship between TMJ/D dysfunction and headache, neckache, pain, muscle dysfunction , or snoring ,apnea, and other sleep disorders has long been established, but not treated routinely by the dentist. Much additional study is needed to understand better the patient's problems in these areas and how dentistry can offer treatment plans for these maladies.

DVDs are available with many patient testimonials concerning dental treatments for the above mentioned problems and their outcomes. A new article is available for the asking, titled "A new look at an Old Bite Splint" published in, "The (Peer Reviewed) International Association for Orthodontics", summer of 2013. The purpose is to explain broader rartionale for use of the classic deprogramming bite splint, with variations in its design for other uses.

It is nothing short of miraculous the healing of long term maladies, and/ or the amelioration of chronic symptoms to the patient's joy and gratitude to an extent I never experienced before. Most of it attributable to "upper" palatal anterior flatplane splint (appliance), contacted by only lower anterior teeth resulting in painlessness through muscle deprogramming. Secondarily, further changes in form and function through vertical dimension and mandibular (condyles and discs) reposturing, establishing more normalized function with happier more beautiful faces and profiles. I have prepared and presented numerous PowerPoint programs on the above subjects, with some done as table clinics. For further information call or e-mail above address.