The Dawson Academy Blog

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

Quiz: Are you practicing the way you always envisioned?

Started by Dr. Peter Dawson, The Dawson Academy has been teaching for decades the importance of understanding occlusion in order to provide patients with predictable, functional, and long-lasting care. However, the Dawson Academy Philosophy of Compete Care Dentistry not only allows dentists to provide better care to patients, but allows them to spend more time outside the office doing what is most important to them.

Is your work-life balance up to par with what you envisioned? Are you overall satisfied with your career?

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How can the position of teeth affect function?

How can the position of teeth affect function? I almost want to approach that backwards and say, "How can the position of teeth NOT affect function?"

The position of teeth is important for speaking and for enunciating sounds like our S sounds or F sounds.

The incisal edge determines how we enunciate. The incisal edge position dictates where the teeth hit on the lower lip so we can enunciate an F sound properly. If the teeth are too far apart or bumping into each other, you cannot make the F or S sounds properly, like the little kid who's lost his front teeth and wants them for Christmas. The position of the teeth affect not only our speaking, but it affects how we chew.

The position of teeth affects how we swallow and breathe.

The position of the teeth erupt into the mouth in the neutral zone, in the corridor that is dictated by the inward and outward functions of the muscles and the tongue.

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How Do I Predictably Prep Second Molars?

When delivering a single crown, probably the toughest tooth we can prep for is the second molar.

There are a couple things to be aware of when prepping second molars:

1. Limited Opening

One, usually, there's a limited opening in that area, so when you are prepping the tooth, you have to give the patient breaks because you're going to have to ask them to open quite a bit.

2. Wear and Tight Neutral Zone

The second thing, which is more of a concern, is the wear in that area and also the tight neutral zone.

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What is Functional Occlusion?

We get asked a lot, what is a functional occlusion? And I think a lot of people, as they look at The Dawson Academy, think that we have one formula for an occlusal scheme that we're going to apply 100% of the time on our patients.

And I certainly agree that when we are redesigning the occlusion if we diagnose an occlusion that's pathologic, that has signs of instability, such as wear, mobility, migration, and sore muscles, that Dr. Dawson's formula for occlusal therapy can be utilized.

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Implementing a Complete Exam Out of a Hygiene Visit

So one of the problems that I face in my practice is how do I talk about all these things, the signs of instability and the requirements of a stable occlusion, in a hygiene visit? And I used to try. And I would watch my patient's eyes kind of glaze over and I was feeling the pressure from my hygienist. She's like, "Hey, hurry up. We've got to stay on time."

And I realized I have to do something different here because they weren't accepting to come back to do their bite analysis or their smile analysis. Most people would get up there and be like, "No, I'll just see you again for the next hygiene."

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