MICRO OCCLUSION: Micron’s Matter When Treating Complex TMD Pain

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Microns and Proprioception

Consider to what level of articulating paper thickness or mylar shim do most clinicians routinely check their patients bites?  100 microns, 60 microns, 40 microns, 12 microns, etc.? 

The human incisors can discriminate 14 micron thickness between the teeth.1    Some investigators suggest discrimination below 10 microns.2   Patient’s that present with a high level of discrimination may require a high level of precision and treatment from their dentist.

Human Hair - Clayton A. Chan, D.D.S. GNM Dentistry Micro Occlusion

Human hair thickness has been reported to be as thin as 17 -100 microns thin. (Europeans consider hair with a diameter of 40-60 microns thin hair with a diameter between 60-80 microns as normal, and hair with a diameter between 80-100 microns  as thick. By comparison with European hair, Asian hair is significantly thicker. The average diameter of Asian hair is 80-120 microns).

If the dentist is not aware that his or her patient is a highly detailed proprioceptively discriminating patient and is only using procedures and techniques that are below the patient’s proprioceptive requirements, it is possible that frustration and misunderstandings can occur between the doctor and patient.   If the doctor is using 60 micron articulating paper to check the bite and the patient unknowingly demands 10-17 micron level of treatment there may be a mismatch in ability to meet the needs of that particular high occlusally aware patient.

Micron Articulating Paper - Clayton A. Chan, D.D.S. - Micro Occlusion GNM

Accuflim (Parkell) 20 micron articulating paper used by Dr. Clayton Chan, Las Vegas, Nevada.


  1. Riis D and Giddon DB. Interdental discrimination of small thickness differences. J. Prosthet Dent 24:324-334, 1990.
  2. Kawamura Y and Abe, Role of sensory information from tempromandibular joint. Bull, Tokyo Med Dent Univ 21:78-82, 1960.
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