The Dawson Academy Blog

Dental Articles on Occlusion, Centric Relation, Restorative Dentistry & More

The Journey to Complete Dentistry - Part 1

by Dr. Andrew Cobb

In an earlier posting in response to a student question Dr. Scott Finlay, one of our lead faculty, wrote “ The philosophies that are the core of the Dawson Academy are not about practicing a different kind of dentistry, but practicing better, more predictable, complete care for your patients.  The understanding, skills and protocols that you will master as a student in the core curriculum will improve your efficiency, productivity and profitability as a dentist

At the Dawson Academy this is our goal for each and every student who begins their journey with us. We know that our success is your success. The core curriculum has been modified over the past two years to make this journey easier. We know that if you follow the process we teach, that your success will also follow. It sounds easy enough but we also know that any change can be a difficult thing to achieve.

I thought it would be beneficial to hear the story of one of our doctors who has started his path to complete dentistry. Over the past few years I have had the great pleasure and honor of meeting and working with many great dentists while teaching at The Dawson Academy. One of those doctors is Dr. Nicholas Gardner. I first met Nick as when he took “Comprehensive Exam and Records” a little over a year ago.

In the next two Blogs we’ll hear Nick’s story in his own words. Why did he choose the Dawson Academy? What are his challenges? Is he beginning to see the benefits?

Nick’s Journey in His Dental Continuing Education


“The flier was on my desk, Functional Occlusion from TMJ to Smile Design, St. Pete Beach Florida in May. The tuition was right; it had been a long cold winter here on the Canadian Border of New York State, some sunny warmth sounded right. I went to Dr. Dawson’s lecture on a whim and returned home having registered for the first hands on dental course, completely dumbfounded at the possibilities of making my practice of dentistry more predictable and complete.

I spent the entire 20 hours of that first lecture sitting in the front of the room, focused on what was being shared with us. The concept of complete dentistry made sense.  It was the way I wanted to treat my patients.  I did indeed see the need for a “go to” dentist in every town; I was surely not that dentist.

The time lag between that first lecture and Comprehensive Exam and Records felt like an eternity. My need to learn more of Dr. Dawson’s philosophy prompted me to purchase his textbook. I read the book nearly every night from the time I received it until the Records course.

I was finding two to six patients a day that had signs of disharmony in their masticatory system, from worn and loose teeth to tender muscle to formerly inexplicable loss of the periodontium. This Dr. Dawson fellow really knew what he was talking about.

Hands On Dental Course


After my few months of anxious waiting, the time had come for me to start the hands on curriculum in Chesapeake, Virginia with Drs. Drew Cobb and Lenny Hess instructing our group. The Dawson Academy staff and instructors were very welcoming and helpful. The Schafer’s at Bay View Dental Lab were great hosts.

Long days of lecture, clinical application of skills and laboratory work seemed to pass rapidly. Some of the skills seemed very natural while others were difficult.  All of us had the full attention and time of Drs. Cobb and Hess.  They worked with us until we felt comfortable enough to implement these skills without them standing beside us.

My excitement to return to practice with this set of skills far exceeded the original excitement of simply gaining the knowledge of Complete Dentistry as a concept.”

To read part 2, click here.
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'Education + Execution= Success' by Dr. Jeffrey Friend

My practice before enrolling at The Dawson Academy...

I had been on a search-- searching to better my work life and my patient treatment. My practice had been cranking, making money, and was very busy. But with dealing with the employees, the business, the schedule, the lab daily, I felt like I was pulled in a thousand directions and was having a very hard time feeling that the quality of care that I was giving was good enough. I wanted to be the best but had no idea how to distill ALL the information down to a manageable amount. I had completed FAGD, MAGD, FICOI, MIPS, DICOI. After over 1600 hours of dental continuing education and I still did not have a solid foundation. I found what I was looking for at the Dawson Academy.

My practice was profitable before but at a great cost to me and my family. I had very little time off, which caused tons of frustration. Things were breaking and I had inconsistancy with lab results. I had difficulty in communicating with the lab, expecting that they should just know what I know and just know what I want, and just make it. NOT SO, RIGHT!!!

How The Dawson Academy has made a difference in my life...


BLUE TIME. Also, I now have more time with my family. The Dawson Academy gave me permission to take time off. Not only permission, but insisted!  I never heard of work-life balance. Without complete dentistry, comprehensive exams, the checklist,  and occlusal understanding, I do not know how I ever practiced before. I am making connections and gaining understanding everyday. I am almost ashamed of my previous level, and very cautious about what I do not know. Most stunning are those patients I have done occlusal adjustments on and it has changed their life. There is a significant learning curve, but you gotta leap. Leap and the net will appear!



The differences I have seen in my practice since The Dawson Academy...


While all my buddies in town are down money (some 30 %), I am not only up but have added an associate. I have also developed much better communication with my lab. My staff really feels the difference,who have all worked at other offices. They consistently grow and ask questions about the "magic stuff" we do. Most have been to The Dawson Academy at least once. We all want more.

Advice I would give to a Non-Dawson Academy trained dentist...


Get there as soon as possible. Be open minded and open hearted. Listen and implement a little at a time. Keep going back for more, but practice it and use it, develop it, prove it to yourself. I have already sent my associate down and he will be going through the entire core curriculum, as well.
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January Dental CE Award Recipients

The Dawson Academy is proud to recognize some of our students for their commitment to excellence and Complete Care Dentistry. In recognition of this commitment, we recently presented them with The Concept of Complete Care Dentistry Award.

This award reflects their commitment to their patients as well as to continuous learning. All recipients have completed The Dawson Academy Core Curriculum and many have continued to study in our advanced courses. As they have invested in 3 lectures and 4 hands on courses, they have obtained a road map to the practice of Complete Dentistry including comprehensive diagnosis and predictable treatment.

We are proud to announce the following dentists as recent recipients of this award:


Dr. Jeff Friend
Dr. Eric Forsbergh
Dr. Glenn Garrison
Dr. Reynold Gilles
Dr. William Harper
Dr. Jennifer Kalochie
Dr. Stephen Malki
Dr. Pasha Nasirzadeh
Dr. Christopher Paulson

Dr. Dragana Radovanovic
Dr. Grace Savage
Dr. Dorota Stankowska
Dr. Charles Wahl
Dr. Mary Ellen Wynn


Each month The Dawson Academy will continue to acknowledge students for their dedication to their profession and patients with this award. Be sure to check our Dawson Blog and Bi-monthly E-newsletter for recent award recipients.
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Prosthodontic Resident Scholarships to Dental Course

3M ESPE has provid ed scholarship funding for 10 prosthodontic residents to attend Functional Occlusion:  From TMJ to Smile Design, taught by Drs. Peter E. Dawson, John C. Cranham, and DeWitt C. Wilkerson.  Nominations were open to residents in the 46 prosthodontic programs in the United States and Puerto Rico.  These Universities nominated residents that demonstrate excellence and interest in restorative dentistry, have a minimum dental school grade point average of 3.5, and obtained written recommendations from two faculty members.
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December Award Recipients for Dentistry Courses

The Dawson Academy is proud to recognize some of our students for their commitment to excellence and Complete Care Dentistry. In recognition of this commitment, we recently presented them with The Concept of Complete Care Dentistry Award.

This award reflects their commitment to their patients as well as to continuous learning. All recipients have completed The Dawson Academy Core Curriculum and many have continued to study in our advanced courses. As they have invested in 3 lectures and 4 hands on courses, they have obtained a road map to the practice of Complete Dentistry including comprehensive diagnosis and predictable treatment.
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A second life through Complete Dentistry

As I sat having lunch with a group of dentists at Seminar 2 dental course in March of 2010, one dentist at the table stood out.  His story was like none I had heard in  dentistry.  
 
We have all heard stories of people who have cheated death and found a new appreciation and enthusiasm for life and all the things they want to accomplish.  For Dr. John Iverson, a diagnosis of terminal cancer sent him on a journey to be the best he could be.  He realized that learning the Dawson philosophy of Complete Care was not for him, but for his patients. 
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Continuing Dental Education: A Thorough Dental Training Institute

Proper diagnosis and treatment planning requires an understanding of a patient's masticatory system, including jaw joints, facial and temporal muscles, and teeth and gingival structures. Only by becoming masticatory physicians can dentists properly emphasize prevention and early detection and treatment of tooth diseases, tooth wear, and functional problems. Adhering to such a Concept of Complete Dentistry enables dentists to provide comprehensive dental care in a more individualized and conservative manner. Without question, this is what increasing numbers of savvy patients are not only requesting, but demanding.

According to directors of dental continuing education courses, such as William Yancy, DDS, from the UCLA School of Dentistry, who was quoted in the October 2006 issue of Inside Dentistry, dentists are faced with practicing at a time when the new materials and techniques constantly introduced are extremely important. As a result, according to Laura Neumann, DDS, MPH, associate executive director of the division of education for the American Dental Association, who also commented in the same publication, dentists have an obligation to update their knowledge and skills through on-going quality continuing education. However, experts in continuing dental education--including Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, who commented in an article published in April 2008 about post-graduate education--suggest that it is not enough to attend programs offering instruction in only specific areas.

Rather, those-in-the-know believe that significant dental continuing education experiences incorporate a comprehensive curricula, one requiring attendance at lectures and hands-on courses every few weeks or months in order to improve your abilities to deliver the highest quality of care to the public. While some experts say that simple procedures can be learned without a hands-on component, others stress the importance of thorough training related to the mouth in an engaging format that encourages comprehension and competency.

Graduates of The Dawson Academy’s comprehensive curricula demonstrate skills beyond merely choosing advanced materials and applying innovative techniques. By training to thoroughly diagnose and solve myriad dental problems, they have become master diagnosticians who ensure their patients receive the comprehensive dental care they need. Additionally, mastership of the Concept of Complete Dentistry provides the foundation for skills in sequencing and segmenting treatment plans for affordability, thereby ensuring greater treatment acceptance and, subsequently, the best oral health of their patients.

It's an indisputable fact that a quality and advanced dental continuing education program is a necessary--not optional--supplement to the instruction you receive in dental school. The enhanced and integrated training and skills development you can obtain in thoroughly diagnosing and solving dental problems sometimes cannot be taught in current four-year dental school environments, some experts believe.

However, when selecting a venue for continuing dental education, it's important to ensure that instructors have been evaluated based on proven clinical outcomes, education, and teaching ability. In particular, they should teach what they do, and do what they teach, as well as demonstrate a "teacher's heart", a passion for the profession, and a desire to share what they have learned themselves.

The Dawson Academy philosophy of thoroughly diagnosing and solving dental problems is the cornerstone of the desired balance between work and life, fulfillment from the profession, and a successful dental office. Additionally, and most importantly, the comprehensive dental care such as the Complete Dentistry taught at the Dawson Academy results in more consistent, predictable, and healthy outcomes for patients.
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