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The Dawson Classification of Occlusion: Class 2 and Class 2A

This video is an excerpt from the April 2015 Dawson Faculty Office Hours with Drs. Leonard Hess and Rajeev Upadya. To watch the full office hours and to sign up for future office hours, visit the Videos and Webinars page

The following is a transcription of this video excerpt. 

Dawson Classification of OcclusionQuestion: Is it possible to have a patient with Dawson class 2 to NOT be in centric relation and have NO discomfort on loading?

Dr. Hess: I'm assuming you are asking about the Dawson Classification of Occlusion and what that means as far as the occlusion in reference to the joint. A Class 2 Occlusion is someone who has to displace from Centric Relation and leave Centric Relation to go into maximual intercuspation. A Dawson Class 2A is somebody that would have an adapted Centric Posture, like a lateral pole displacement, and then they also have to go out of that adapted Centric Posture to go into maximal intercuspation; it means they have a hit and slide. So that's what is a Dawson Class 2 Classification of Occlusion.

So can you have someone who has no discomfort when loading? Absolutely. That is the reality of probably 90% of the patients you will encounter in your practice that have hit and slides. The vast majority of the patients are already in an adapted Centric Posture Position or they're in Centric Relation and have a hit and slide. It is not uncommon at all for people to have no discomfort at all in that situation.

Dr. Upadya: We see that all the time. It's actually the classic occlusal muscle issue. Most of their issues are muscular in nature. Often the joint has either already adapted and is loadable or the joint itself has not suffered any deformity.

That's one of the beautiful situations where you can tell the patient, "Hey I can correct you with occlusal therapy, and we don't necessarily have a joint we need to worry about directly at this point." 

Dr. Hess: Those are the great patients - the patients that have nice healthy joints that have an occlusal muscle type of discrepency. Those are the slam-dunk, kind of bulls-eye patients you can get in there and help. Here's to having more of those types of patients.

Leonard A. Hess, DDS is the Clinical Director at The Dawson Academy and joined the faculty in 2009. He owns Union County Center for Comprehensive Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, and practices full time in addition to teaching continuing education courses. He is a member of the editorial board for Inside Dentistry and has had over 17 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. He is also a member of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, AACD, ADA, AES, and NCDS. Dr. Hess began teaching continuing education courses in 2005 on topics including occlusion, smile design, treatment planning, preparation design, and practice integration of Complete Care Dentistry. He’s taught full-day continuing education courses at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s national meeting, The Greater New York Dental Meeting, AACD National Meeting, Pacific Dental Conference, Ontario Dental Association meeting, and The Yankee Dental Conference. Dr. Hess has taught courses in Japan, Germany, Poland, China, and Canada.