Dentistry is an exciting, ever-changing field. Experts have varying opinions on a wide range of topics, particularly occlusion. Occlusion refers to the way the teeth contact one another, both when the mouth is at rest (static occlusion) and when a person is chewing (dynamic occlusion).
Dr. Steven Feit, a specialist in restorative and cosmetic/aesthetic dentistry in Boca Raton, has a research team that he has been working with since 1990 with a focus on exploring occlusion from a vastly different approach. His team has delved deep into the science of occlusion and specific functions of the jaw system from a biomechanical perspective. He and his esteemed team have developed a unique, patient-centered approach to designing restorations that results in highly durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing prosthetics. The patient’s own anatomy dictates the parameters of whatever restoration they receive.
Occlusion dentistry is a tried and true approach to prosthodontics that is based on clinical success in the real world. With over 30 years of successful cases behind us, Dr. Feit and his team are confident in this approach because it has a proven track record and is not based on some test tube experiment in a lab.
Occlusion dentistry is an approach to prosthodontics, reconstructive dentistry, that involves an in-depth understanding of the way the oral structures function together. Dr. Feit uses landmark anatomy, such as the retromolar pads, as an important indicator and basis for designing replacement teeth that will function optimally and last as long as possible.
The retromolar pads are always present and easily identifiable; they look like small masses of soft tissue at the back of the mouth. There is a right pad and a left pad, and research has revealed a special relationship of the pads to each other and to the jaw joint (the hinge that the jaw opens and closes on). This anatomy, when identified properly, plays a significant role in ensuring that a patient’s bite force is evenly distributed and that their restoration provides optimal, long-lasting function.
For example, if Dr. Feit is designing a crown for a dental implant, he does more than make sure the crown fits in well with the teeth that are adjacent to it. He also considers the position of the opposing tooth (or teeth). If the opposing tooth has shifted out of its anatomically correct position, an interference results and bite forces are incorrect. This affects both the crown’s long-term viability and the patient’s biting function capability.
Essentially, he works backwards to create each patient’s treatment plan. He determines their ideal bite, then uses the principles of oral function to determine how best to help them achieve optimum occlusion via dental prosthetics.
There are three basic steps involved in chewing food:
When viewed from the position of physics, the above steps make perfect sense. The bite force is strongest closest to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. Think about it: if you’re using a pair of scissors to cut cardboard, you’d place the cardboard as close to the scissors’ hinge as possible to maximize your leverage. You also naturally put food at the back of your mouth to chew. Therefore, your molars get put under a lot of pressure every day.
Dr. Feit uses the principles of occlusion and oral mechanics to make sure that the prosthetics he designs can stand up to everyday usage for as long as possible.
Have you ever received a crown or bridge from a dentist and thought at first that it was fantastic? However, it may not have lasted as long as you hoped. Or, you may have discovered that your jaw began to hurt. That could have been due to slight imperfections in your new tooth that caused you to favor chewing on one side of your mouth, resulting in unnecessary stress on both your prosthetic restoration and your facial muscles. Because Dr. Feit has such a comprehensive understanding of occlusal mechanics, he is able to prevent such issues. He also knows how to take accurate, viable impressions, which minimize mistakes and lead to less in-chair time for patients.
Sadly, many dental schools do not give occlusion the attention it deserves. In fact, they may gloss over the topic and simply urge students to “get it even.” That is, the goal may be just to make sure that prosthetics provide even bite contact and look decent. Dr. Feit goes beyond those basic standards, and he is happy to put his expertise to use to help his fellow dentists ensure that their patients have the best possible treatment experience from beginning to end. He gladly accepts referrals from other practices.
Dr. Steven H. Feit is a restorative dentist in Boca Raton with over 30 years of experience in the exciting field of prosthodontics. He strongly believes that if you can’t understand how something works, you can’t fix it. That is why he has spent so much time on studying occlusion and oral function. Although the state of Florida only requires that dentists attend 30 hours of continuing education every two years, he regularly spends an average of 120 hours each year on further his education. Only 30 hours are required every two years by the State of Florida.
Dr. Feit is eager to share his knowledge with the world. During the past 30 years, he has lectured in front of some of the most prestigious dental and medical organizations in the world, including the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), and The American College of Prosthodontists. He is involved locally in South Florida through the South Palm Beach County Dental Society and the Broward County Dental Society. Dr. Feit was an expert witness for the Agency of Healthcare Administration for the Florida Board of Dentistry for 6 years. After that, he began to serve an expert witness in dental cases helping patients and doctors sort things out to everyone’s advantage. He is always working closely with a number of other experts in his field. He is also a patent holder for some unique dental instruments, such as a special type of dental implant torque wrench.