Dr. Kevin Muench DMD, MAGD
My governing philosophy is to make the fewest changes to the dentition while producing the best end result for the patient. For some, this could be full mouth rehabilitation and for others simply equilibration and/or orthodontics. In the end, I’m trying to establish harmony between the teeth, joints, and muscles. We are a closed loop – from head to toe – and the influence of the “whole” body on the stomatognathic system* cannot be ignored.
*Stomatognathic System: An anatomic system comprising teeth, jaws, and associated soft tissues.
The area of sleep and airway management is Dr. Muench’s latest passion. He’s become obsessed, and is on a personal mission to help children and adults breath and sleep better.
With 30+ years of dental experience, Dr. Muench retains a wealth of information. It brings him great pleasure and satisfaction to help his patients become healthier. Dr. Muench stays motivated by challenging himself with whole system thinking. You and Dr. Muench will co-create a treatment plan based on your individual needs.
Dentistry has changed a lot, especially in the last 15 years. Dr. Muench has experienced firsthand how important it is to be on the cutting edge of patient research. He has earned more than 1,500 hours of continuing education from world renowned dental learning facilities, including the following institutes:
- The Pankey Institute (now on the Advisory Board)
- The Spear Institute
- Airway Mini Residency with Mark Cruz & Barry Raphael
- Perio-Prosthetic Institute
Dr. Muench has not slowed down his studies and continues to immerse himself in the newest learning and technologies.
In 2017-2018, Dr. Muench attended many seminars and continuum’s including:
- Airway Mini Residency (4-part, 8 day continuum)
- LSU Oral Facial Pain (5-part, 10 day continuum)
- American Equilibration Society (AES) Annual Scientific Meeting
- American Academy of Restorative Dentistry (AARD) Annual Meeting
The Fellowship and Mastership Awards are two of the most rigorous dental education programs available today. Mastership is the Academy of General Dentistry’s highest honor.
Since 2014, Dr. Muench has won the Jersey Choice award every year it’s been offered. He has also won a Quintessence Operative Dentistry Award, and Dentsply Fixed Prosthodontics Award. He also holds a Distinguished Health Care Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America Northern New Jersey Council.
My roommate from college, Dr. Peter Famiglio, encouraged me to seek out a career in dentistry. At the time, I was doing cancer research and he was in dental school. All he kept saying was, “This is for you… You’re perfect for dentistry.” So I applied and in answering the question – Why I wanted to be a dentist – I convinced myself. This mix of art and science was incredibly appealing. I had already explored science as a career, but the art and craft of dentistry is beyond words.
I’m a restorative dentist with a passion for occlusion. In teaching, I often hear that clinicians view occlusion as this great, big mystery and yes, sometimes misery. L. D. Pankey was said to say that occlusion is getting the posterior teeth to touch all at the same time with light contact and when you bite firmly, neither the joint nor the teeth should move. In addition, when you move your jaw left, right, or forward ONLY the front teeth should touch. He would chuckle and say, “So what’s so hard about Occlusion?”
Another way to think about it is that the jaw operates like a tricycle; the two little wheels are the joints and the big wheel is the front teeth. The steering mechanism and the joints shouldn’t have any notches in them in order to have a smooth ride!
Today I see Occlusion/Bite as a potentially significant factor in the balance and harmony of the patients whole health. Integrative Dental Health involves looking for the impact of the bodies influence on the dentition, namely how the airway, posture, structural integrity can affect how the teeth come together. If your teeth are chipping, breaking, or intermittently sensitive- it may be your bite. Headaches can also be directly associated with bite. Establishing harmony is a process of calming the whole system.
For a deeper history, you can read an interview with Dr. Muench on Tekscan’s website.
During dental school, both my jaw joints began to click. I knew I clenched my teeth and would grind them at night, and now the stress of school was really taking a toll on my teeth and jaws.
I later saw a dentist who stated they treated TMD/TMJ cases and all he wanted to do is veneer 10 teeth. When I asked if it would help the headaches and jaw pain he said, “Don’t you want veneers?”.
After I finished dental school and started my dental practice, I discovered the Pankey Institute, a place where dentists learn to treat the entire system of joints, muscles, and teeth. Traditional dental school just did not teach that kind of approach to dentistry–they gave no thought to the joints.
In a major commitment of time, money, and effort, I faithfully went to the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Florida, to learn how to treat a patient’s entire mouth (joints, muscles, and teeth) – and to understand the pain I was feeling in my own.
As a part of my training, we were challenged to find a Master Dentist and have our mouths restored. And once I did that, I was told to go through the treatment and pay for it myself. That way I’d understand the sacrifices a patient makes to take on the task of healing his or her own mouth.
Once this dentist refined my bite appliance, he performed an equilibration, which is the planned reshaping of teeth so they once again move smoothly and bite evenly. Ultimately the bite appliance helped determine if changing my bite would stop the pain and headaches. This left me both headache and pain free! And my dentist is supportive, thoughtful, and compassionate, while also bringing a skill level I truly value.
I felt enormous pain and frustration through this experience yet I’ve also experienced a transformation of what is possible. That’s why I make it my mission to apply the same level of skill and understanding I’ve been lucky enough to receive. And I promise to fulfill that mission when you come to our office.
Since graduating Dental School in 1987, Dr. Muench has completed more than 1,500 hours of continuing education. Having learned so much (and continuing to do so), he’s now sharing his knowledge as he teaches at various continuing education dental facilities around the country.
After 10 years of attending, and based on his advanced degree of knowledge and experience, Dr. Muench was invited and accepted a position as a visiting faculty member at The Pankey Institute. Now, he is also an Advisory Board member at this prestigious organization.
Since 2009 he has been teaching each class of 12 postdoctoral residents at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s General Practice Residency.
Dr. Muench also runs an education and consulting business, Continuing Dental Engagement where he teaches hands-on technical skills alongside human-centered skills. Every workshop is conducted in small groups to ensure individualized learning.
- Dental Honors Society, OKU
- American Dental Association (ADA)
- American Equilibration Society (AES)
- American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM)
- New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA)
- New Jersey Academy of General Dentistry (NJAGD)
- Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
Study Clubs are when a group of dentists gather to discuss particularly challenging cases from a technical and emotional standpoint. The goal is to help produce the best dental outcome possible. Dr. Muench is proud to be a member of many distinguished study clubs and the facilitator of other up-and-coming study clubs around the country.
- Karlsson’s Krew Study Club in Milwaukee, WI
- Acorn TMD Study Club in Memphis, TN
- Enrichment Study Club in Sanibel, FL