The Dawson Academy Blog

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

Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund is a senior faculty member. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994 and lectures on esthetic dentistry. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country.

Recent Posts

Preparation Design: Beginning with the End in Mind

I wanted to share with you some traditional principles of crown preparation as well as some esthetic and functional techniques that I have found to be useful in my practice.

For all types of crown preparations the key principles still apply including retention form or parallel walls to prevent displacement of the crown along its path of insertion and resistance form to prevent dislodgment of a restoration by oblique forces. An appropriate marginal finish line is important to minimize microleakage and allow accessibility for optimal oral hygiene.  In addition, the marginal shoulder should have sufficient reduction to allow the cervical contour of the crown to follow the emergence profile of the tooth and preserve a healthy periodontium. 

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Why dental esthetics aren’t ideal without proper function

I had the pleasure of being the teaching assistant to Glenn DuPont this fall as he led the dental treatment planning course in St. Petersburg. I really appreciated his candor in sharing with us some of his "research."  Like many of us, Glenn has done "research" on occasion on how not to treat a case. I had the blessing for 16 years of practicing alongside Ron Goldstein and David Garber. As you can imagine, there were incredible opportunities to do comprehensive esthetic dentistry. I learned early in my career and through much "research" of my own that esthetic dentistry cannot be successful without understanding proper function. As a matter of fact, it were these case complications that led me to my first course with The Dawson Academy. 

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Tools for Evaluating Dental Occlusion

In my last blog post, I described the use of the T-scan in our office to cure “the Princess and the Pea” –an extremely occlusally aware patient that confounded us with her lack of satisfaction after reconstruction. We found the system equally valuable on the two subsequent patients that we analyzed that day.  

Patient number two has an incredibly strong buccinator and orbicularis oris muscles.  In addition he is heavy salivator, and we had real difficulty keeping the teeth dry. By evaluating his occlusion with T-scan sensor we were able to detect on the computer screen exactly where we needed to adjust even when the teeth were wet and would not mark well with the articulating paper. It was an invaluable help with this equilibration which I had dreaded on this challenging patient.

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Perfecting Dental Occlusion Using Computerized Analysis

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to try out the T-scan computerized occlusal analysis system. I was familiar with the system which was available in my former group practice, however, I had not used it to any great extent.  I had received such good training that I rarely had any occlusal complications following a reconstruction or an equilibration and had not found a great need to evaluate my patients’ occlusions with the system. In 2011, I restored a patient that we have affectionately come to know as "the Princess and the Pea."  This patient is incredibly loyal and gracious; she is also the most occlusally aware patient I have ever treated.

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Facts & Benefits of Salivary Diagnostics

Salivary diagnostics may aid in saving lives from oral cancer and help better determine the most effective form of treatment for periodontal disease. It is beneficial for us to know the facts and key benefits of salivary diagnostics when speaking with ours patients. In this whitepaper you will find information about periodontal disease and oral HPV and how salivary diagnostics can assist in early detection and treatment modalities.

This whitepaper covers:
    • Facts about periodontal disease & oral HPV
    • The benefits of salivary diagnostic testing
    • Facts about salivary diagnostic tests
    • Scaling and root planning resistant pathogens
    • HPV patient profile

To download this whitepaper, click here.

Did you like this whitepaper? Our Alumni Association provides monthly webinars on both clinical and management topics. Dr. Angie Gribble Hedlund was our guest speaking on Salivary Diagnostics in June 2012. To find out more about watching this webinar and more, click here.
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Clearing up confusion about HPV

By Angie Gribble Hedlund, DMD @AngieHedlund

I went to a great OSHA training seminar today.  That sounds like a funny thing to say about an OSHA seminar, but the presenter was more like a stand-up comedian than a lecturer and made the material really interesting and entertaining.  During the discussion of infectious pathogens, she devoted several minutes to Human Papillomavirus.  This is a considerable area of interest for me as we have been using the OraRiskHPV diagnostic test to detect oral HPV in our patients for over a year.
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4 Tips to Providing Complete Dentistry in a Down Economy

By Angie Gribble Hedlund, DMD @AngieHedlund

I think often in an economic climate like this, we hear complaints so frequently about our fees and “money being tight” that we automatically begin to suggest compromises for many of our patients. We say that we are going to “watch” things or suggest an alternative treatment and assume our patients won’t go for what is best for them. This is certainly not the best way to maintain a financially healthy practice, and it is also not what’s best for the patient.

Here are some things I learned from Pete Dawson that have helped me maintain a successful practice in a down economy:
  1. Everyone deserves a complete exam.
  2. Don’t pre-judge who may or may not be interested in or have the money to carry out a complete treatment plan.
  3. Don’t take short cuts in your treatment planning process. This can result in problems and backtracking later.
  4. Take an interest in people; learn about them and get to know them. Finding a connecting point can turn even the grumpiest sour puss into a raving fan.
People deserve to know if there are problems or potential problems with their mouth or chewing system- things that could cause them pain or extra expense in the future. We need to give them the option to be proactive and treat these issues while they have a more conservative solution. Don’t let the economic climate dictate your treatment plan. Prescribe what’s best for the patient, and if financial objections arise, provide ways for them to stage their treatment so it is manageable but still enables them to achieve an optimal result. This is what is most beneficial for the practice and the patient.

Like this article? Read another article: The Value of Education to Patients.

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The Value of Education to Patients in Dentistry

by Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund, DMD

It didn’t seem like a very logical time to open a new dental office.  Whether you want to call it a recession or an economic downturn times are tough everywhere. Unemployment’s up, the cost of gas is up, and for most people dentistry is down.  For 16 years, I practiced in a world-renowned dental office with almost every specialist in dentistry.  I enjoyed a state-of-the-art facility, an in-house laboratory and a 50 person support staff.  I made a pretty good living, especially considering that I usually practiced about 3 days a week.   But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and experience has taught me that where He leads, it’s best to follow.

So last summer at age 42, I acquired a rather sizable loan from the bank, built out an office space, and hung a sign over the door with my name on it for the first time.  In the beginning I felt like I was “drinking out of a fire hose” because there was so much to learn.  I had never been responsible for payroll, balancing the books, arranging advertising, creating a logo, writing copy for a web site, and hiring employees.  I was way out of my comfort zone.   In addition, I was asking my new employees to have faith in this venture with me and trust me with their family’s livelihood, as well as my own.

Although I had concerns about the economy affecting people’s ability to afford good dental care, I have found people continue to value complete dentistry and are grateful for excellent care.  They enjoy having a doctor who takes the time to establish a personal relationship, who evaluates their needs and provides a way for them to have the best oral health possible.  Even patients who were new to our practice could see the difference in the exam I was taught to give through my experience with Pete Dawson and this Academy.

A comment that I hear frequently is, “I’ve never had an exam like that in my life!”  They see the difference, and this earns the right for us to explain what we feel like the best course of care would be to maintain their oral health for the rest of their lives.  It is different than a 5 minute exam in the hygiene chair.  It is the systematic gathering of information, taking the time to study that information, and having the patient back to review a well-thought-out treatment plan that we can explain clearly using models and photographs.

In addition, the method that I was taught to communicate the benefits of treatment has been incredibly effective with our patients.  I have been given the confidence through my time of study with the Dawson Academy to explain the treatment in a way that creates true value for the patient.  And people will make a way to do what they find valuable.  This has been a gift that has created success in my new practice even in times like these.

Did you like this article? You might also like The #1 Step to Improving Your Dental Practice.
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