The Dawson Academy Blog

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

Shannon Johnson, DMD is an associate faculty member at the Dawson Academy. She also leads two Dawson Study Clubs and teaches the Core Curriculum. Dr. Johnson owns and operates her practice in Louisville, KY.

Recent Posts

Webinar: Joints or Muscles - What is your Complete Exam telling you?

As Dr. Dawson said “Every great treatment plan comes from well organized examination and records appointments."

Dr. Johnson will discuss the key aspects of an occlusal muscle exam, what load testing is revealing, and why our seven screening questions are so important to help uncover the issues beneath the surface of patient problems.

During this webinar we will:

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Webinar: Moving Beyond Single Tooth Dentistry

In this webinar, we share how the Dawson philosophy can place you in the top 10% of dental practices. Learn our 5 tips and strategies for implementing key principles taught in Functional Occlusion—From TMJ to Smile Design. Transform your patient's experience, improve clinical outcomes and begin your journey towards Complete Care Dentistry.

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Dawson Quick Tip: Creating Anterior Guidance on Wax-Ups

When I first started waxing up my cases in the Dawson Philosophy, I learned later that I had encountered a mistake where I had really steepened anterior guidances on the wax-ups and didn't really quite understand why I continued to do it. When I slowed down and I took a look, I realized that I wasn't taking into account that the articulator helps us. It gives a little fudge factor.

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A Brief Review of a Healthy Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

Inspiration for this article:

Recently we received the following comment on the blog article, "The Importance of Load Testing" by Dr. Leonard Hess. 

Comment:

I am a past attendee of the Pankey and Dawson curriculums ( long ago in the 1980's) and am flabbergasted that you still preach this anachronistic content which has long been disproven in the evidence based literature and debunked in dental education. I am a dental educator and long ago stopped teaching that every patient had to be in centric relation, that the TMJ bore the main load of occlusion and that anterior guidance and posterior interferences had a significant relationship to TMD. I see patients with harmful irreversible changes caused by excessive and unnecessary equilibration, and TMD patients grossly overtreated with unneeded prosthetics, orthodontics and orthognathic surgery. I am hoping that you will post this and respond. Although I have great respect for Dr. Dawson as a pioneer in dentistry the Dawson Academy needs to greatly modify its curriculum content to come into the 21st century. !

Sincerely,
Harold F. Menchel DMD

You can find responses by both Dr. Hess and Dr. Dawson to Dr. Menchel's comments at the bottom of that article. Below is my response.


As dental educators, it is our duty to seek a total understanding of the foundational concepts and the associated clinical relevancy in order to teach our students and positively impact patients.  Dr. Dawson’s very concept of complete dentistry, and what is taught by the Dawson Academy, is to identify any signs or symptoms that impede anatomic and functional harmonyIt is our goal to provide the least invasive, most conservative treatment to help our patients achieve optimal health that is maintainably comfortable and beautiful.  This we agree upon. 

The “anachronistic content” you describe stems from an incomplete understanding of the anatomy and function of the masticatory system as well as the erroneous application of that misinformation.  Much controversy and clinically skewed research stems from a lack of a common classification system for joint position, occlusion and temporomandibular disorder (TMD) diagnostic criteria. Sadly, such has perpetuated our profession and the opportunity to clarify is welcomed.

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