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

The Leading Edge: the Lower Incisal Edge Position

Today’s dentist must deliver high quality, beautiful dentistry.  In dental continuing education, there are countless opportunities to learn the techniques to prepare the maxillary anterior teeth and deliver a decent result. However, I am utterly convinced that once a dentist learns and applies the techniques taught by The Dawson Academy, clinical results will become exceptional. 

A complete dentist will deliver more than just a pretty smile; a complete dentist provides a stunning smile that is not only comfortable, but also maintainable long-term.

Read More

Questions you should be asking your specialists and lab technicians.

As general dentists, we methodically work through a patient’s problem list, taking patient specific wants and needs into consideration, to create a roadmap for optimum oral health.  Together with the help of our patient and our team, we strive to create a masterpiece that, once completed, restores our patient back to health—physically and emotionally.  

As dentists, we are always striving to better our clinical skills and our ability to deliver high quality care through hours of continuing dental education. Yet, for many of us, we do not spend enough time nurturing our team relationships.  I am not speaking of only our staff, but also our lab technicians and referring specialists.  

Read More

Tips for Perfect Wax Bite Records

By Dr. Shannon Johnson

Obtaining an accurate bite record that will allow a precise mounting is crucial for treatment planning.  Many products exist that are very accurate, yet they do not easily allow a precise mounting.  Such is the case with many PVS bite records.

The Dawson Academy prefers the “blue (Denar*) wax” for several reasons. 

  • Cross arch stability.  A quality bite record will have no give or rock in any direction. 

  • Dimensionally stable.  Once chilled, the record is easily stored in water for storage and transportation. 

  • Brittle hard when chilled.  There is no give in the material—it fits or it will break.  There is no fudging.  

  • Accurate, without being obnoxiously so.  There is a point where a bite record material could possibly be too accurate, especially in the occlusal grooves and gingival margins where bubbles on models abound. 


Read More

Signs of Occlusal Instability Continued

Due to our recent blog on Signs of Occlusal Instability, we’ve received a great comment from one of our followers.  The reader asked for a more detailed discussion on checking the fremitus, including the differences between operator's finger sensation or occlusal overload in the presence of bone resiliency and how it could vibrate the implant restoration.  We’ve asked Dr. Johnson to elaborate this subject for our readers.

By Dr. Shannon Johnson
Let’s take a closer look at checking for fremitus.  It is no doubt that checking for fremitus is a quick, easy, and low-cost way to evaluate a patient for signs of occlusal instability.

The operator’s finger should be placed very lightly on the tooth surface.  The necessary pressure is quite similar to taking a patient’s pulse—if you press too hard, you miss it.  Once there, focus your concentration on feeling any movement or vibration when the patient brings his/her teeth together and grinds around.  The best way to learn is to check all patients.  As we begin to feel teeth without fremitus, the ability to diagnose subtle movement and vibrations will improve.  Different operators may possess different finger sensations, but hopefully with the above advice, the clinician will be able to develop this important skill!

Read More

Signs of Occlusal Instability

By Dr. Shannon Johnson

Good Vibrations?

As clinicians, the very purpose of our dental exam is to thoroughly evaluate each patient for any sign of instability that will lead to breakdown of the masticatory system.  Not including macro-trauma, there are only two simple reasons for the system to break down:

1.  Microorganisms (bacteria, viral, fungal)

2.  Stress from microtrauma

Read More

No Fail Dental Treatment Planning

Patients seek the assistance of our profession for many concerns, some of which include disease prevention, relief of pain, and cosmetic improvements.  With so many patients from different backgrounds presenting for an array of reasons, it is very reasonable to question how can you, the dentist, create an accurate treatment plan for each of these patients?

Read More

3 Steps to Transition into Using Dental Photography

We’ve all heard the cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Enter dental photography…it’s no surprise that by capturing images of our patients, we are better able to co-diagnose oral health and lack there-of; predict skeletal discrepancies; anticipate airway problems; maintain a record of the patients’ condition over time; improve communications with our patients, our referring doctors, our team members, and our lab; and simply better treatment plan.

Read More