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"Throughout 15 years of practice, I've noticed a recurring frustration when dealing with dental complications.  Ask any dentist and they'll tell you:  occlusion has long been an elusive bane.  Even minor changes to occlusion can have troublesome repercussions if they're beyond the adaptive capacity of the stomatognathic system.  

 

Frictional malocclusion brings symptoms like tooth sensitivity, tooth soreness, grinding, clenching, dislodged fillings, chipped crowns, broken teeth, and loose implants.  After routine dental procedures we check and adjust your bite to ensure balance and harmony, but we're limited to subjective feedback from both patient AND doctor unless we have the ability to measure occlusion.

 

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, you'll spend as much on your smile as you would on a luxury vehicle or kitchen renovation.  The end result should not only LOOK great, it should also FUNCTION well.  And occlusion takes center stage when considering the balance, harmony, and function of your bite, muscles, and TMJs. 

After I got my veneers, I was instructed to wear a night guard.  And after braces, there was a retainer.  What do they have in common?  They're both a piece of plastic worn over teeth, just like a TMD orthotic.  If you've ever wondered how a TMD orthotic differs from a night guard or retainer, the answer has to do with INTENT and PURPOSE.  But it's not unreasonable for patients to be confused because they sure do seem the same unless you understand the complexities of occlusion.

 

When I first began treating full-mouth cosmetic cases, my primary 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 patients through the treatment process known as DTR therapy, which begins and ends with objective diagnostic measurements and can bring life-changing relief from frictional malocclusion & TMD symptoms via very conservative dental treatment.  Likewise, by the very nature of occlusion, to deliver beautiful cosmetic results in balance and harmony with orofacial muscle function and temporomandibular joint health."

Jeffrey Harden DDS
Jeffrey Harden DDS sig

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's proud to serve the neighborhoods of West University, the Museum District, Bellaire, 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.

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