Gnathology is the study of Masticatory* system, including its physiology, functional disturbances, and treatment. Because it is not part of dental school training, most is learned by participating in 'study clubs` with mentors with much experience. Gnathology is doing extremely accurate dentistry, verifying the work as it progresses, applying all well founded Gnathological principles, and rechecking the work continually
The organs and structures primarily functioning in mastication, including jaws and jaw muscles, teeth, temporomandibular joints, tongue, lips, cheeks, and mucous membranes.
Gnathology: What is it and is it for me?
Gnathology means "The study of the jaws" The Greeks described the oral cavity as the first part of the digestive system and named it the "Gnathic organ" It consists of the Teeth, muscles of mastication and the jaw joints. Dentists nearly 100 years ago began to see a functional relationship between the 3 parts and started to study it in depth. It became readily apparent that whatever we did to the teeth directly affected the joints and muscles. The teeth also told a story. The presence of excessive wear, broken cusps, cracks, loose teeth, persistent sensitivity to hot/cold all point to a sign of dysfunction in the system. Pain in the facial region, especially the muscles or over the TM joints can also be present. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of the TM joints and the associated muscles before, during and after treatment was imperative for a successful outcome and to achieve a balanced, healthy bite for a lifetime. This is accomplished by evaluating the bite of a patient, an occlusal or bite analysis and then determining a course of treatment. A diagnostic wax-up or "blue print" of the patient's teeth is then fabricated to see if an adequate result can be achieved. It is the same principle as when one builds a house. In depth planning and blue prints are made to allow the contractor to build what the client wants in a predictable fashion. Why would you treat your teeth any different? Thorough planning is required whether it is one tooth or 32 teeth. Dr. Ganzkow has been performing Gnathologic reconstructions since leaving dental school 22 years ago. He has been involved with a Gnathologic study club, since graduating, which is how this discipline is taught, as it is too complex to teach in a dental school setting. He can explain this concept with you at your exam and see if it is something that you would like to pursue further.