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The Journey to Complete Dentistry - Part 1

Journey in Complete Dental Careby 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.