Samuel J. Higdon, DDS

 Samuel J. Higdon, DDS

Samuel J. Higdon, DDS

1. Friday, April 3, 2009
9 am - 12 pm
3 CE credits
Recommended for: Dentists
2. Friday, April 3, 2009
2 pm - 5 pm
3 CE credits
Recommended for: Dentists
ODA courses


1. "TMJ"- What You Probably Didn't Learn in Dental School

The health and management of the masticatory system is a primary responsibility of the dental profession. In spite of this, ironic as it may seem, very few dentists, in their professional education, have received even the most modest training in the anatomy, physiology, and function of the masticatory system. As a result of this lack of training, the development of pain and/or dysfunction within this system is often not recognized until it becomes an overt acute problem. Patients often find it difficult to find and receive knowledgeable and predictable treatment.

It is perhaps unrealistic to expect every dentist to develop the knowledge and skill to recognize and treat the wide variety of condition that affect the masticatory system. However, it is the responsibility of every practicing dentist to screen their patients for signs and symptoms that may suggest the need for intervention
This morning’s presentation will provide the fundamentals for understanding the masticatory system and will lay the groundwork for providing a minimal level of TMD screening in any dental practice, whether the dentist chooses to treat the problems or refer these patients to someone with more experience.
The morning session will also be the foundation for the afternoon session. It is recommended that those wishing to attend the afternoon session, also be present for the morning session.

  2. "TMJ"- What You May Not Have Learned Since Dental School


“TMJ” is not a diagnosis, but a broad, generic term used in the popular media. A comprehensive understanding of any patient’s temporomandibular disorder requires a thorough history and examination. This information is the basis for a true, biologically-specific diagnosis. Effective treatment must be based on an accurate diagnosis of the specific condition being treated. Generic diagnoses lead to generic treatments that are often inadequate and ineffective.

Covered Topics:

  • What is “Treatment” of a TMD – Fundamentals of Treatment Philosophy
  • What Constitutes a Thorough TMD History?
  • What Constitutes a Comprehensive TMD Examination?
  • What Minimal Imaging Should Be Done?
  • Other Imaging Options. — What and When?
  • Considerations Regarding Etiology – How Important is it to the Clinical Presentation and to Treatment?
  • The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Effective Use of Occlusal Appliances
  • The Value of Adjunctive Therapies
  • The Role of TMJ Surgery

Samuel J. Higdon, DDS is a graduate of The University of Missouri, School of Dentistry in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1967 began his dental career in a general practice in Lake Oswego, Oregon. His special interest in the subject of dental occlusion and related problems led to an interest in patients with temporomandibular disorders. In 1979, a local pain center asked Dr. Higdon to work with them in their facility in the management of headaches related to TMDs.  Beginning in 1980, Dr. Higdon was the first dentist in the State of Oregon to establish a full-time practice in the non-surgical management of pain and other problems related to the jaw system. He works closely with the patient's own general dentist and assumes responsibility to coordinate care in cases requiring interdisciplinary management Dr. Higdon is the author and illustrator of a patient education guide regarding the anatomy of the temporomandibular joints that has been widely accepted and used by dentists in this country and around the world.  For the past 28 years, Dr. Higdon’s dental career has been entirely focused on this complex and often misunderstood area of dental responsibility. His experience in this field has involved the successful treatment of a great many such patients.