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Hear From Expert Dr. Thomas Coleman

How Embracing T-Scan Technology Could be the Key to Dental Care Advancement

By Brittany Haynes on Sep 9, 2019
Following the recent release of the revolutionary Handbook of Research on Computerized Occlusal Analysis Technology Applications in Dental Medicine, edited by Dr. Robert B. Kerstein from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine & Private Dental Practice Limited to Prosthodontics, USA, computerized occlusal analysis technology, which assists both dental occlusal science and daily clinical practice, has disseminated its research to dentists, practitioners, dental educators, researchers, and more. To further demonstrate the necessity of this research in the dental industry, Dr. Thomas Coleman, author of Chapter 11, “Combining the Air Indexing Method With the T-Scan System to Detect and Quantify Cervical Dentin Hypersensitivity”, expresses his thoughts on the power of this publication and his own research in it with the IGI Global interview below.

What inspired you to pursue research activities in your area of expertise?

We must first report perceived areas of expertise in dentistry. Research regarding cervical dentin hypersensitivity (CDH), abfractions, and noncarious cervical lesions (NCCLs) has been conducted over several decades. Diagnosis and treatment of occlusal loading upon teeth was investigated in a general practice setting with and without the T-Scan hardware/software. Conditions of occlusal disease (OD), which in part includes CDH from chronic microtrauma, appeared as a result of biocorrosion and stress imbalances in the masticatory system.

Published literature on these topics stimulated the need for research to support or refute concepts/protocols designed to mitigate pathologic effects from dental occlusal disharmony. Research publications appear on the Research page of the www.drtomcoleman.com website.

Why are your respective areas of research important to the field at large?

A concept of prevention is deeply embedded in dental health care. In many dental and medical health conditions, treatment has been promoted prior to determining an etiology. Establishing a cause seems of importance rather than just treating signs or symptoms for pathologies. Not only is it embarrassing for a dental professional to hypothesize dental failures to a patient, but untimely redo procedures eat into office profit margins. Once prevention has a recognized basis of cause and effect, then an educated professional can’t legitimate advising otherwise. Examples could include the development of CDH following a full coverage crown placement or creating additional conditions of OD afterward.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of your research to its community of users?

The detection and quantification of CDH by the air indexing method provides an objective means for this sign and symptom of early or active NCCL development, which includes the subset of abfractions. A historical air blast from a source of air generates two stimuli of CDH: desiccation and cold.

A blast of air is quite different from a “threshold patient response” to air from an attenuated and measured amount. T-Scan research of force and timing values during the contacts of teeth includes Force Outlier (FO) data, which records the dental order of cuspation during mandibular closure. FO data disclosed by T-Scan software can indirectly report periodontal mobility from the production of this dental neurosensory information. Pulp conditions of CDH are affected by cervical stress factors from occlusal loading.

Both air indexing and the T-Scan can generate useful and objective clinical occlusal information when used together.

What are the future directions of your research areas?

Future research will likely involve CDH, carious and noncarious lesions in relation to stress and biocorrosive conditions, as well as the discovery of how and why isolated gingival recession occurs.

What are some other evolving research trends you have observed in the dental industry over the past several years and what would you say are some of the innovative research directions you foresee in the future? How do you feel your publication sets the pace for these innovations?

We are currently at a time when implantology and zirconia restorations are popular for clinicians and patients. Why? Well, implants are long-lasting to replace missing teeth if occlusal tenants are physiologic. Teeth compress in the periodontal alveolar housing on average by 50 microns without citing appropriate literature. Implants are rigid in bone after placement and customary healing. Zirconia has less fracture potential than enamel for similar occlusal loads.

Rigid materials such as zirconia and implants do not obviate the necessity for occlusal balance in the masticatory system. Neither does guesswork for timing and force values. The T-Scan offers the clinician both of these indices for percentages of force values upon teeth and displayed indirectly by the center of force icon during lateral excursions.

Industry trends do not always support improved dental health. It is hoped that the information in Robert Kerstein’s publication will stimulate advanced learning and research for the topics of occlusion of teeth and occluso-muscular disorders.

What has your experience been like publishing with IGI Global?

IGI Global has allowed internal editing of chapter materials by a combination of authors’ and Robert Kerstein’s wishes. Established dates for chapter content delivery have not been unreasonable. IGI Global deserves an A+ rating as a publisher for these reasons.


IGI Global would like to thank Dr. Coleman for sharing his research on computerized occlusal analysis and T-Scan technology. Additionally, for more information about this research, publication, and technology, view the Handbook's comprehensive digital brochure.


About Dr. Thomas Coleman: Thomas A. Coleman received his D.D.S. degree in 1976 from S.U.N.Y.at Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine. Over the next two and a half years, he practiced for IHS-PHS on the Navajo Reservation. He then practiced General Dentistry from 1978- 2003 in Shaftsbury, Vermont, and taught part-time at the Hudson Valley School of Dental Hygiene from 1978 until 1981. He also served as Dental Director at the Albany Center for the Disabled. Then, from 2005-2014, Dr. Coleman maintained a general practice in Brandon, VT. In 1979, he developed the Air Indexing Method for diagnosing Cervical Dentin Hypersensitivity (CDH). He has published ten peer- reviewed articles in Quintessence International, the Journal of Esthetic & Restorative Dentistry, Incisal Edge, Decisions in Dentistry, Advanced Dental Technologies & Techniques, and Compendium. Dr. Coleman has lectured nationally at the Dawson Center, USC, the American Equilibration Society, the Gelb Center, and the Vermont State Dental Hygiene Association, as well as in other locations. Dr. Coleman has conducted research using the T- Scan III system to investigate occlusal contacts, NCCLs, and CDH.


Dr. Coleman's chapter, “Combining the Air Indexing Method With the T-Scan System to Detect and Quantify Cervical Dentin Hypersensitivity”, and its source title, the Handbook of Research of Computerized Occlusal Analysis Applications in Dental Medicine (3 Volumes), are available throughIGI Global’s Online Bookstoree and world-renownedInfoSci®-Bookss, a database of 5,300+ reference books with over 100,000 full-text chapters focusing on emerging research.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
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