"Throughout 15 years of practice, too often my intent to deliver predictable results was interrupted by a recurring frustration. Ask any dentist and they'll tell you: occlusion has long been an elusive bane of restorative dentistry.
Most dentists would agree: sometimes tooth sensitivity occurs after routine procedures. Of course we check your bite at the end, but when you've been laying upside down for an hour with your mouth numb and holding your jaw open to the point of muscle soreness, it can be tough to figure out whether biting down on your new filling or crown feels 'normal' until you're able to get home, relax, let the numbness wear off and then see how it feels. Who would argue with that?
Cosmetic dentistry is great! It's exciting and luxurious. Glamorous and classy. Many veneer cases are straight forward and low risk. BUT(!) when a patient spends as much on their smile as they would on a luxury vehicle or a kitchen renovation, they aren't looking for any surprises. So cosmetic cases involving the bite should absolutely respect and work within the framework of each patient's unique occlusal scheme and the anatomical foundation already present in their mandible.
When I got my veneers, I was told to wear a night guard which I hated (but what if they break?). Same thing for my orthodontic retainer after braces - wore it for several months but hated it. Along the same lines, I always wondered why TMD problems could only be fixed with a piece of plastic, and why it seemed like dentistry's answer was always the same - 'caused by clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism' and fabrication of an orthotic, a splint, a retainer, a night guard, call it what you will - but never seemed to address the teeth themselves.
When I began treating full-mouth cosmetic cases, my biggest concern was disrupting the bite and how that might adversely affect the TMJs. So I vowed to learn as much as I could about occlusion. My path took me through a post-grad continuum where the instructors were using a bite-force sensor called the T-scan. Upon completion of the Clinical Mastery Series (c.2016-17), I decided to incorporate the T-scan as an adjunct to document the bite when delivering cosmetic treatments.
The T-scan has a steep learning curve. It seemed simple at first but I wanted to learn more about it. After further training merited DTR certification (c.2018), occlusion revealed itself to be inseparable from the world of TMD. Ironically and despite my reluctance to position myself as a 'TMJ dentist', my path led from cosmetics to occlusion and its inevitable end, TMD.
From this standpoint, I look forward to each and every opportunity to help as many patients as possible through the treatment process known as DTR therapy, which begins and ends with objective diagnostic measurements and can deliver life-changing relief for pain patients via very conservative dental treatment. Likewise, by the very nature of occlusion, to deliver natural cosmetic results in balance and harmony with orofacial muscle function and temporomandibular joint health."
Jeffrey Harden, DDS
A native Houstonian and second-generation dentist, Dr. Harden earned his D.D.S. degree in the Houston Medical Center from the University of Texas Dental School, class of 2008. He is proud to serve the neighborhoods of West University, the Museum District, Bellaire, Meyerland, Upper Kirby, River Oaks, Tanglewood, Memorial and beyond.
Prior to dental school he was an all-American swimmer and Division I water polo player at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) while earning his bachelor's degree in biochemistry. He then devoted two years to alma mater Strake Jesuit as a teacher and water polo coach.
Dr. Harden lives in the Memorial area with his wife Elizabeth, an interior designer.