The Dawson Academy Blog

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

Dental Webinar: Is Splint Therapy Always a Safe Treatment Option?

Splints are more than just a piece of plastic you give to patients when you don't know what else to do with them

Occlusal splint therapy can be a great treatment option for those suffering from occluso-muscle disorders and TMD. Given the wrong type of appliance, however, splint therapy can actually do more harm than good for our patients. With an improper or poorly fabricated device, patients can develop increased pain to the joint, an open bite and other serious implications.

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Dawson Quick Tip: Would I Do It On Me?

WIDIOM is the Dawson Academy acronym for Would I Do It On Me.

I think of it kind of like the modern-day golden rule. It's how I live my life. It's how I treat my patients. It's how I treat my family. I think about every single thing that I do with the idea of, is this what I would want somebody else to be doing or suggesting to me?

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Dawson Quick Tip: Identifying Specialty Patients

My quick tip today is on general versus specialty patients.

A general patient is defined as...

a patient where the size, contour, and position of the teeth are working for the patient. There's no instability, no signs of wear, no discomfort.

A specialty patient is...

a patient where the size, contour, and position of the teeth are not working for the patient. They have worn teeth, muscle pain, joint pain, and just general discomfort - headaches, things like that.

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Dentists: How to Effectively Equilibrate the Natural Dentition

Following proper diagnosis and treatment planning, occlusal equilibration can provide selected patients with the most conservative, predictable and safest treatment possible.

Occlusal equilibration can often help avoid the need for more complex treatments. Dentists who have developed proficiency in equilibration universally agree it is one of the most practical skills they use routinely in practice.

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Dawson Quick Tips: Customizing The Envelope of Function

Hello, everybody. Welcome to Quick Tips. In this edition, we're going to be talking about customizing your patient's envelope of function, which is a very important part of getting the anterior guidance right for your patients.

As you're looking at the lingual contour of provisional restorations, hopefully you are developing lines on your provisionals that provide evidence of posterior disclusion or anterior guidance.

Remember, if you don't get anterior guidance or posterior disclusion, then that is going to allow the back teeth to rub.

And if the back teeth rub, then we know that increases muscle activity and can create damage to the teeth, either by working them loose or by causing the teeth to wear. And make no mistake, a lot of the fractures we see are related to not having good anterior guidance or posterior disclusion.

But the question is, can we make the guidance too steep? 

When the patient starts chewing and speaking and the mandible starts moving outside-in, is it possible to get those lines too steep so it's actually in the way of the functional path that the lower incisors travel outside-in?

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18 Common Errors During the Dental Records Process

Can you imagine building an expensive home or a complicated remodeling project without accurate measurements or plans? Unfortunately everyday our dental laboratories are asked to fabricate restorations with inaccurate records.


I spoke with lab technician extraordinaire, Walt Richardson CDT from Bay View Dental Laboratory to add a lab’s perspective to my 34 years of dental experience.

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From the Inbox of Dr. Peter Dawson

Dr. Dawson receives emails and letters from clinicians all over the world asking questions and looking for clarification on all matters of Functional Occlusion and challenges in dentistry. 

From: A Dentist in Canada
Subject: Long Centric
Explanation of "Long Centric"

Assumption: Dawson centric relation is valid beyond a shadow of a doubt.  My 37 years of successful clinical experience validates the truth of this assumption. 

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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!

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