may very well denote a temporomandibular joint condylar asymmetry and may therefore indicate the necessity of a panoramic x-ray in order to avoid negative consequences of a dental treatment. It is my experience that very often the front teeth ( the central and the lateral incisors ) of the quadrant of the ” higher condyle ” side are more worn than the equivalent teeth of the contra lateral side. The ” higher condyle ” side seems with a far more higher prevalence be used as the laterotrusive side ( working side ). The contra lateral side of the face then also looks bigger or thicker, most probably due to the unilateral hyperactivity of the superficial masseter muscle of that side. When this kind of an observation is made there is an absolute indication to proceed with a clinical examination in order to rule out whether pain or discomfort are involved.
If pain is present the stomatognathic system needs to get normalized. This is easily accomplished with the insertion of a correctly designed stabilization splint. The splint preferably already at the dental laboratory is fabricated in the correct relation between the models i.e. the models have been mounted in an articulator according to the index ( registration ) made in the Maaxloc and thereby based upon the difference between the two condylar heights. Within a couple of weeks, not to say surprisingly often within a couple of days, the patient returns with markedly reduced pain or completely without pain. Also without any difficulties the patient normally finds his / her natural way in getting his / her teeth together. However,on the ” shorter condyle ” side tooth contacts are missing. This most often results in a slide between the mandibular reference position, RPM, and the intercuspal position and therefore often indicates a need for extended dental treatment or at least a change of direction of your earlier planned treatment. The empty space between the teeth of the ” shorter condyle ” therefore needs to be filled in or the teeth of the ” shorter condyle ” side need to be built up. After four to six months and with a reversible approach in form of a partial and casted metal splint cemented on the not occluding teeth of the ” shorter condyle ” side oral stability is achieved. Personally I always have that splint casted in gold and made for the lower premolars / molars. The earlier worn stabilization splint is being adjusted to the new and reversible occlusion and is used part time, during sleep for an individually determined length of time. Finally permanent treatment can be considered at the choice of you and your patient.
Uneven front teeth wear occurs and is also sometimes observed in young patients.In these individuals it may be even more important to analyze the vertical dimensions of the two temporomandibular joint condyles. At a condylar asymmetry an index via Maaxloc may serve as an adequate guide to relate the upper and lower models of the teeth, indicating the correct vertical dimensions of the jaws after completed treatment and thereby contribute to the best outcome of the orthodontic treatment. In not addressing the condylar asymmetry, when present, in the initial phase of treatment planning there is always the risk to deliver a yet perfect occlusion but in a not perfect occlusal plane, i. e. a perfect smile what concerns the teeth but less perfect what concerns the smiling mouth of the whole face.