Explaining Dentistry in a Way Patients Understand

February 14, 2024 Clayton Davis, DMD

Explaining Dentistry in a Way Patients Understand 

Clayton Davis, DMD 

Here are some of the ways I communicate with patients to help them understand dentistry. I hope some of these will be helpful to you in enabling your patients to make good decisions about their treatment.  

Occlusal Disease: In helping patients understand occlusal disease and the destruction it can cause, I have long said to them, “The human masticatory system is designed to chew things up. When it is out of alignment, it will chew itself up.” I tell them, “Your teeth are aging at an accelerated rate. We need to see if we can find a way to slow down the aging process of your teeth.” The idea of slowing down aging is very attractive to patients, and if you relate it to their teeth, they get it.  

Occlusal Equilibration: Typically, I come at this from the standpoint of helping them understand that teeth are sensors for the muscles, and when the brain becomes aware our back teeth are rubbing against each other, it sends the same response to the muscles as when there’s food between our teeth. In other words, the brain tells the muscles it’s time to chew, and this accelerates wear rates on the teeth. Equilibration is really a conservative treatment to reduce force and destruction of the teeth.  

Diseases of the Jaw Joints: Regarding jaw joints and adaptive changes and breakdown, patients understand that joints have cartilage associated with them. Saying there has been cartilage damage in your jaw joint gets the message across simply. 

Treatment Presentation: When patients say, “I know you want to do a crown on that tooth,” I jokingly say, “Oh, don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself.” I never say, “You need to get this work done.” Instead, I say, “I think you are going to want to have this work done.” 

Conservative Treatment: I have always enjoyed John Kois’s saying that no dentistry is better than no dentistry, so when talking about conservative dentistry, I’ll tell patients, “No dentistry is better than no dentistry. We certainly don’t intend to do any dentistry that doesn’t need to be done.” Another way I speak about conservative dentistry is to say, “Conservative dentistry is dentistry that minimizes treatment. In the case of a cracked tooth, a crown is actually more conservative than a filling because it minimizes risk.” 

Moving Forward with Treatment: I love Mary Osborne’s leading question for patients after they’ve been shown their issues and treatment possibilities have been discussed. The question is “Where would you like to go from here?” With amazing regularity, the patients choose a really good starting point for their next steps toward improved health, steps that feel right to them. Always remember, people tend to support that which they help create. 

Dental Insurance: I typically speak of dental insurance as a coupon that can be applied to their dental bills. I’ll say, “Every plan sets limits on how much it pays. The way dental insurance works, it’s as if your employer has provided a coupon to go toward your dental bills.” 

Presenting Optimal Care: If I want to present optimal care to a patient who is ready to hear it, I ask permission by saying, “Mrs. Jones, if I were the patient and a doctor did not tell me what optimal treatment would be for my problems because the doctor was concerned that I couldn’t afford it or that I would not want it, I would think, ‘How dare you make that judgment for me. You tell me what optimal care would be, and I’ll decide for myself if I want it.’ So, with that in mind, Mrs. Jones, would it be okay with you if I presented you with the optimal solutions for your problems?” 

Related Course

Clear Aligner Therapy: Enhance Restorative Outcomes & Patient Health

DATE: May 23 2024 @ 8:00 pm - May 23 2024 @ 9:00 pm

Location: Online

CE HOURS: 1

Course Description: Review the digital workflow as part of the comprehensive exam and health screening during periodic exams. We will discuss the benefits of clear aligner therapy prior to restorative care.  Also the…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Clayton Davis, DMD

Dr. Clayton Davis received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. Continuing his education at the Medical College of Georgia, he earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1980. Having grown up in the Metro Atlanta area, Dr. Davis and his wife, Julia, returned to establish practice and residence in Gwinnett County. In addition to being a Visiting Faculty Member of The Pankey Institute, Dr. Davis is a leader in Georgia dentistry, both in terms of education and service. He is an active member of the Atlanta Dental Study Group, Hinman Dental Society, and the Georgia Academy of Dental Practice. He served terms as president of the Georgia Dental Education Foundation, Northern District Dental Society, Gwinnett Dental Society, and Atlanta Dental Study Group. He has been state coordinator for Children’s Dental Health Month, facilities chairman of Georgia Mission of Mercy, and served three terms in the Georgia Dental Association House of Delegates.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

My Favorite Occlusal Deprogrammers 

October 13, 2023 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Deprogramming of the lateral pterygoid muscle is generally done by placing something in the anterior that eliminates posterior occlusal contact. I have two “go-to” deprogrammers. One is a leaf gauge or what is often referred to as a Lucia jig, and the other is a little device developed by Dr. Keith Thornton, who invented the TAP appliance. This second favorite is called a “Pankey Bite Stop” and is sold at The Pankey Institute store.

Using a Leaf Gauge

Every time you have a leaf gauge in the patient’s mouth and the patient is instructed to slide their jaw forward, then back and squeeze, the back teeth can’t touch. As the elevator muscles fire, they pull the condyle up into centric relation, stretching the lateral pterygoid and eliminating proprioception across the teeth.

I try to find the first point of contact on the forward motion and ask the patient to slide back and squeeze. By the time I do this 10 to 15 times, the pterygoid muscle has fully deprogrammed.

Using a leaf gauge to do occlusal deprogramming works especially well when the patient is already sleeping in a quick splint at night or wearing a full coverage appliance or an anterior-only appliance that has done the deprogramming for us.

Using a Pankey Bite Stop

I use a Pankey Bite Stop when I judge a leaf gauge will not suffice. The device is relined with Bite Ridge, placed over the upper incisors, and left to set. The patient is instructed to “sit on it.” I usually set a timer for 15 minutes. My instructions to my patient are not to try to touch their teeth together. The teeth may or may not touch. I instruct them to relax and try to NOT think about their teeth.

Using this device, you do not need to have the patient move forward, back, and squeeze if you allow 15 minutes. Because the posterior teeth do not touch, the proprioceptive message that normally tells the patient’s brain to activate the pterygoid muscles is eliminated and the lateral pterygoid starts to release.

What if the patient needs more?

With some patients, I realize that they will need to sleep in a QuickSplint for a couple of weeks. In our Essentials One course at Pankey, we use the Quicksplint as an overnight deprogrammer to allow us to capture very accurate diagnostic records. In my practice, we use this device as a durable deprogrammer, in addition to all the other things that it does. They are easy to fabricate chairside. You can read more about their use here. In our Essentials One course at Pankey, we use the Quicksplint as an overnight deprogrammer to allow us to capture very accurate diagnostic records. In my practice, we use this device as a durable deprogrammer, in addition to all the other things that it does.

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: November 2 2023 @ 12:00 pm - November 5 2023 @ 7:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6100

Per night with private bath: $ 290

This Course Is Sold Out Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Understanding Smiles Part 3 

August 30, 2023 Bradley Portenoy, DDS

Give patients opportunities to discover what lies beneath their smile

Ewelina is part of my office team. She’s from Poland. She’s beautiful but early in our doctor-patient relationship, I realized she had a closed-smile grin. One day, I asked her if she was aware that she was guarding her smile. She wasn’t but the question made her curious. Later, she came by and said, “I realize it now.”

So, I raised another question, “Now that you notice this, what do you think about your teeth? Were you guarding them subconsciously?”

She thought momentarily and said, “I wasn’t happy with their appearance. I think I unconsciously I do guard my smile.”

So, I raised one more question, “At what point in your life did you say to yourself, I wish my teeth were more attractive?”

Her answer surprised me: “I thought about it when I got married and bleached them, and after I had kids, I thought my teeth looked more unattractive than they did years ago.”

I spoke to Laura Harkin, a dentist I admire, about this. She said that it’s common for women to become more critical of their appearance after having children. Their bodies have gone through so many changes. Ewelina seemed to guard her smile long before she had children so I wondered if there may be cultural differences between her old and new adopted home. I asked her if she became more self-conscious about her teeth after coming to the United States. She answered in the affirmative, “People’s teeth generally look better here than in Poland.”

I loved that there was a long thoughtful pause before her answer. I intentionally gave her time to think between questions. I offered to give her a smile makeover, which she readily agreed to. In doing my case workup, we found she had a two-step occlusion that needed to be corrected. When I got to my wax-up, the anterior changes were minimal and I did an equilibration on the wax-up to try out the results. This set the stage for the changes we would try out in provisional.

Provisional restorations are something I always do to test if the speech will be affected, whether the new occlusion is comfortable, and if the patient feels “good” psychologically about all the changes — not just the aesthetics.

While wearing the provisionals, she began to smile with a Duchenne smile. In photos, I could see a postural difference, too.

My ceramist did an amazing job duplicating in ceramic the provisionals that I created. When the case was completed, I asked Ewelina how she felt. She said, “Great, happy, healthier, cleaner, brighter, very happy.” Cleaner, brighter, healthier, happy – that was a huge learning moment for me! Not once did she mention her teeth, just the feelings around her treatment outcome. It began to dawn on me how much we not only change teeth, but we can change lives!

“I’m happy,” she said. “I think I smile more and I feel like they’re my natural teeth. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like these are the teeth I’ve had all along.”

“How does your bite feel?” I asked. “Were you surprised how the small adjustments made big differences?”

“Before, I felt a little muscle soreness and dull pain back here, but after a day or two of the adjustment, I felt nothing. I feel great,” she said with a big, broad smile.

I think if we spend a lot of time with our patients and develop relationships, it’s ideally like psychological therapy. We give patients opportunities to discover what lies beneath their smile, show them a vision of what could be, and lastly, help them to reach their full potential, as described in Part 1, with a beautiful, confident Duchenne smile.

We have a unique opportunity to not only restore teeth but also change lives through our efforts.

Related Course

E4: Posterior Reconstruction and Completing the Comprehensive Treatment Sequence

DATE: February 27 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 3 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT The purpose of this course is to help you develop mastery with complex cases involving advanced restorative procedures, precise sequencing and interdisciplinary coordination. Building on…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Bradley Portenoy, DDS

Dr. Bradley Portenoy earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery with Thesis Honors in Behavioral Science from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 1985. Dr. Portenoy practices comprehensive relationship-based family dentistry in Rockville Centre, NY. He was one of the first dentists to complete the Pankey Scholar program at The Pankey Institute (2002) and has been on the Visiting Faculty of the Institute since 2005. Currently, he also serves on the advisory board of the L.D. Pankey Dental Foundation, Inc.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Functional Risk Part 3 – Occlusal Therapy 

July 1, 2022 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Why Occlusal Appliance Therapy Is My First Step Prior to Ortho, Equilibration, or Restorative

Occlusal changes on an appliance are easy and reversible. An appliance can immediately reduce elevator muscle activity and give the patient relief. The patient also experiences what changes to their tooth contacts could provide for them long term. We can test the changes that would be made by ortho, equilibration, and/or restorative.

As reviewed in Part 2 of this series, our goals are to stabilize the joint anatomy and reduce the activity of the elevator muscles because those muscles are what overload the joints and teeth. We also want to slow down the rate of damage to the dentition and move that rate back to a more age-appropriate pace. We also may need to reorganize a patient’s occlusion to manage occlusal forces to ensure restorations that last.

Removing Posterior Contacts Does Not Work for Every Patient

Over my years of clinical practice, I have found that changing the occlusion does reduce functional risk for most patients. But we all have patients with perfect occlusion who present with TMD symptoms. We have some patients who continue to parafunction after we move them into immediate posterior disclusion.

Studies show that proprioception causes the elevator muscles to engage in only 80 to 85% of the population. This means that when the brain receives the signal that teeth are touching, the brain elevates the masseter muscles in 80 to 85% of people. Tooth contact is the trigger. Because this proprioception does not occur for 15 to 20% of the population, it is not the universal trigger for excessive loading.

Over my years in clinical practice, I have learned there is nothing I can do that is 100% dependable to stop a patient from para-functioning. Some of my patients continue to excessively load after posterior contacts are removed. Their functional risk does not diminish.

If we cannot reduce elevator force and redistribute force enough on an occlusal appliance to eliminate or at least relieve TMD symptoms, then occlusal therapy via ortho, equilibration, or restorative will not satisfactorily help the patient. We will need to turn to other forms of therapy.

Other modalities I use are BOTOX to deactivate muscles, massage therapy, and physical therapy. There are also systemic medications, cold lasers, and TENS therapy we can use to reduce the activity of the muscles or reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints. Sometimes one modality will alleviate symptoms for a while and when symptoms return, we can try it again or try another modality.

An Exercise to Identify the Patients Who May Not Benefit from Occlusal Therapy

You can do what I call a poor man’s EMG on yourself by placing your hands on your masseter muscles. Put your back teeth together, clench and release, clench and release, clench and release to see how much masseter activity you have. Then move your teeth into protrusive edge to edge and try to clench a little bit, making sure your back teeth do not touch. If you now have a posterior tooth touching in the edge-to-edge position, then put a pencil or pen between your front teeth to separate your back teeth.

With no back teeth touching and contact on the centrals, try to clench and release two or three times while feeling your masseters. Most of you will find your masseters do not move or move a lot less when no back teeth are touching. Some of you, even with your back teeth separated, can still clench in protrusive and can still increase the muscle activity almost the same amount as when your back teeth touch.

I do this exercise with my patients, but when they move into protrusive, I put a bite stop over their front teeth or have them bite on a Lucia jig we have lined for their bite registration. If you do this test with your patients, you can use an EMG or feel the muscle activity with your hands.

If the patient can still generate almost the same force or the same force with their back teeth separated, you have identified one of the around 15% of people who might not benefit significantly from occlusal therapy. You’ve also identified someone who might not do well on an anterior-only appliance because, if they can generate that same force on just two teeth, they are at risk for those teeth becoming sore and moving.

Interested in Learning More?

The Pankey Institute Essentials courses and multiple focus courses include hands-on exercises and over-the-shoulder training designed to help dentists develop mastery in reducing functional risk and treating TMD symptoms.

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: March 23 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 27 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs and symptoms of TMD? Appliance…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Changing VDO and Correcting Resultant Lisps

May 16, 2022 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Many times, we need to increase the vertical dimension of occlusion (VDO) to put teeth where they should be esthetically and restore teeth that are severely worn from attrition or erosion. If you are concerned that changing VDO will cause joint or muscle pain, put your mind at rest. My experience is that it won’t. If you are concerned it will cause pain, put that thought aside too. My experience is that it won’t.

We want to change the vertical dimension only as much as we needed to accomplish the esthetic and functional goals of the case. That will minimize the effect changing VDO may have phonetics.

Phonetics May Be a Challenge

Vertical dimension has impact on two phonetic sounds in particular—F, S and V. F and V are similar. When we say them, we touch the edge of our upper central incisors just on wet-dry line on the inside of our lower lip. Saying F and V has to do with mandibular lip position, and the patient learns to adjust that position when VDO is changed. In my experience, they adjust to this in two to four weeks. They learn to accommodate a new mandibular position that touches the lower lip more gently.

S is a totally different sound. People say S in one of three different ways.

  1. Some people make the sound S by making a small air space that’s between their upper and lower incisors edge to edge.
  2. Some people make the sound S by making that same small air space but with their lower incisal edges just lingual to their upper incisal edges.
  3. Some people make the sound S by making that same small air space but with their lower incisal edges just labial to their upper incisal edges. And those are our Class 3 occlusion patients.

The air space needs to be a precise amount of distance. If you have too little space, the patient lisps. If you have too much space, the patient spits or sprays saliva. Neither of which the patient is happy about. If the patient is totally edentulous, the patient may adapt to the new VDO of their prostheses, but patients rarely adapt to correct their pronunciation of S if they have a new VDO on natural teeth. This means we need to be careful about altering VDO.

The only way to test if a patient will have a lisp or other phonetic challenge is to test the VDO with provisionals, not with a removable bite splint.

Correcting Lisps Created by Anterior Restoration

How much air space do patients need to pronounce S without a challenge? They need about 100 microns to not lisp or spray saliva. To correct for too large or too small a space, I learned the following trick I hope you find helpful.

Madam Butterfly Silk is about 94 microns thick. I have the patient sit up and hold the silk between their upper and lower incisors with a Miller forceps. While the articulator silk is between the teeth, I have the patient count from 60 to 70. As they count the entire series of numbers, they relax into the process and red ink is transferred to their incisal edges if the space is smaller than 94 microns. If we see red marks, including on the canines, we need to increase the air space. My experience is that it takes four to six passes with the articulator silk and patient counting from 60 to 70 to adjust the airspace sufficiently. As you are doing this, the patient experiences the positive benefit of the lisp going away. I then tell the patient to go home and “observe how you sound. Ask others how you sound. We may need to do a little more refinement.”

If the patient lisps edge to edge, I shorten the lower incisal edges because upper incisors are esthetic. If the patient says S with the lower incisors lingual and they have red marks on their lower lingual and on their upper labial, I pick the upper or lower incisors and make adjustments where they are structurally and esthetically least impactful. If they are Class 3 and say S with their lower incisors, labial to their upper incisors, I always adjust the lingual marks on the lower incisors.

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: December 11 2025 @ 8:00 am - December 14 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6800

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (Per Night): $ 345

Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Composites & Wear

December 19, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

All restorative materials have wear properties. We need to understand both how they wear and survive in the oral environment and how they impact opposing natural teeth.  

The wear of enamel is the basis for comparison.

Despite what we sometimes see clinically, enamel is highly resistant to wear (attrition and abrasion), with average annual wear rates of 30-40 microns. The range is from as low as 15 microns to as high as 100+ microns, and there is variability depending on the tooth position in the arch.  

Unlike enamel, which basically all has the same structure and properties, composites come in many different formulas. The chemical and physical properties of the material have a direct impact on its wear resistance and impact on other teeth. Some examples of this include: 

  • Size, shape, and hardness of filler particles 
  • Quality of the bond between filler particles and polymer matrix 
  • Polymerization dynamics of the polymer 

These same properties affect the other physical and handling properties of the material and have to be balanced to create a composite that works clinically.  

Creating improvements in the physical properties of composites has eliminated the high degree of wear in non-contact areas we witnessed years ago. The loss of restorative material gave the appearance of fillings losing their shape and contour. Today our primary concern is in areas of direct occlusal contact.  

One approach might be to avoid using composite that has direct occlusal contact.

I would say this is not only not practical but not necessary. We have a variety of materials available today, with a range of handling and physical properties, and wear rates that are between 30-200 microns a year.  

We need to choose a composite based on things like wear versus polishability, anterior versus posterior, and the properties of the particular material we are using. In addition, we can manage the occlusion to maximize the success of the natural teeth as well as the composite. 

Related Course

E4: Posterior Reconstruction and Completing the Comprehensive Treatment Sequence

DATE: August 1 2024 @ 8:00 am - August 5 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 44

Dentist Tuition: $ 7300

night with private bath: $ 290

This Course Is Sold Out! The purpose of this course is to help you develop mastery with complex cases involving advanced restorative procedures, precise sequencing and interdisciplinary coordination. Building on…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Tongue Position & Nose Breathing

September 27, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

When we nose breathe, our tongue is elevated against the anterior portion of the palate and held there with gentle pressure. This position mechanically pulls the base of the tongue forward increasing the size of the airway. At the same time, the gentle pressure and movement of the tongue to this position helps to strengthen the tongue and keep it strong. A strong tongue is less likely to collapse backwards and obstruct the airway, so nose breathing is important for airway.

There is also great research today that breathing through your nose promotes better health. It creates higher levels of oxygenation of the blood, it cleans and humidifies the air for better lung health. Studies also show that mouth breathing suppresses the immune system and can have other adverse health effects. To this end, one of the current trends is to work with patients to train them to nose breath, including using a mouth taping technique.

A simpler way that may be effective is to use behavior modification and have people actively work on nose breathing. Many of the step tracking devices today can be set to vibrate every 15 minutes, to remind the person to move. I use this to remind people who parafunction to check if their teeth are touching, and for mouth breathers so they can check-in and nose breath instead.

Related Course

The Pankey Administrative Team: Inspiring Front Office Excellence

DATE: February 6 2025 @ 8:00 am - February 7 2025 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 16

Regular Tuition: $ 2150

Single Occupancy Room with Ensuite Bath (Per Night): $ 345

The Pankey Administrative Team: Inspiring front office excellence Front office systems for a Pankey-trained dentist hold very specific differences compared to a  typical dental office.  Learning how to differentiate your…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Occlusal Wear Part 2: What is causing the wear?

August 16, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

I believe that some wear is normal. I base this on the fact that I have very few if any patients who are in their seventies or eighties and still have mamelons on their incisors. Wear is a concern when the amount of tooth structure being lost is out pacing the patient’s age.

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about determining when wear leaves the physiologic category and becomes something we need to discuss with patients. Both attrition and erosion can cause severe tooth wear, but they pose different long-term risks. Once we have a sense of the cause of tooth wear, we can partner with the patient to treat the damage and manage the progression.

These are the guidelines for discerning attrition from erosion.

Attrition is the loss of tooth structure caused when the patient rubs two tooth surfaces together. You will observe:

· Matching facets on upper and lower teeth

· Facets on tooth surfaces that occlude

· Enamel and dentin worn evenly

Erosion is caused by the presence of acid from issues like GERD and eating disorders. You will observe:

· Facets that may or may not match on upper and lower teeth

· Facets on tooth surfaces that are not in occlusion

· Dentin cupped out and wearing faster than enamel

· Tooth structure wearing around restorations that remain unchanged

Note that attrition can be seen in addition to erosion, often giving us a false sense of how much the patient truly parafunctions, as the etched tooth structure wears away more easily.

Related Course

TMD & Orofacial Pain: Managing Complex Patients

DATE: January 29 2025 @ 8:00 am - February 2 2025 @ 1:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 37

Dentist Tuition: $ 7200

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

TMD patients present with a wide range of concerns and symptoms from tension headaches and muscle challenges to significant joint inflammation and breakdown. Accurate thorough diagnosis is the first step…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Do Patients Parafunction In Centric Relation?

April 13, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Seated Condylar Position

I know even the mention of the words centric relation probably has some readers bristling, as this is a much argued over topic. With that said the research by Lundeen and Gibbs at the University of Florida shows that we do seat our condyles into the fossa during the chewing stroke. This seated condylar position is often used as a reference position to treat patients whether as part of reorganizing their occlusion to alleviate TMD symptoms or for restorative or orthodontic treatments.

Centric Relation & Parafunction

The next question is do people seat their condyles other than during normal function as part of the chewing stroke. I believe the answer is yes. One of the pieces of evidence is the number of patients that I have with wear facets that correspond exactly to their first point of contact with their condyles seated. These same patients do not mark this area with articulating paper in intercuspal position or when following their excursives.

I took the photo with this post in my office. The patient has no other wear facets. #31 has a small, less than .5mm combination sealant/occlusal composite on this tooth. The distal wear facet does not touch in intercuspal position or excursives, but will mark using a leaf gauge to seat the condyles as the first point of contact. This facet marks in both the arc of closure and a power wiggle or abbreviated excursive movement from this first contact. #31 is also split from the gingival margin on the distal over the marginal ridge and right to the margin of the composite. I have seen and restored multiple examples just like this. In my experience when the crown comes back from the lab we will be able to adjust it in without issue, but the patient will report it feels high, or it will become chronically sensitive. The solution will be to either adjust this crown in both intercuspal position and centric relation, or incorporate an equilibration with the restorative care.

My belief is this patient parafunctions in centric relation.

Related Course

E1: Aesthetic & Functional Treatment Planning

DATE: August 22 2024 @ 8:00 am - August 25 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 39

Dentist Tuition: $ 6500

Single Occupancy Room with Ensuite Bath (Per Night): $ 290

Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR

Fleximount To Stabilize Lower Model

February 18, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Learning from one another is one of the top benefits of dental continuing education.

One of the things that I value about continuing dental education is the opportunity to spend time with other dentists.  I always learn something I can bring back to my office. Recently while lecturing at Midwestern Dental School to the faculty, on of the faculty members told me about a new way to stabilize lower models when mounting, and was even kind enough to give me some samples.

Stabilizing a lower model during mounting with centric relation records is critical to the accuracy of the mounting.

Over the years I have tried about every idea possible to optimize mounting the lower model. If the model moves in the bite registration due to pressure during mounting, tipping or shrinkage of the stone it interferes with the accuracy of the mounting. To overcome this I have tried hot glue, compound, rubber bands, hanger wire bent into a V and probably many more.

We realized the Fleximount was incredible the first time we used it. Sold by WhipMix and developed for their articulator systems, I will say I have used it on other systems, and as long as there is a knob on the upper member of the articulator it works fantastic. The Fleximount is trapped inside the stone, so they are disposable. The lower model is held with even pressure directly against the upper( if mounting in MIP) or the bite record, therefore no tipping forces are present as with other stabilizer systems. Because it stays in the stone, you can walk away and let it come to a complete set, instead of having to stand and remove the stabilizer while the mounting stone is still somewhat soft. Both of these features result in a very accurate mounting.

Once the stone is set you simply cut away the rubber band material that is not inside the mounting stone. Now you can finish and groom the lower mounting.

Related Course

E3: Restorative Integration of Form & Function

DATE: October 13 2024 @ 8:00 am - October 17 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 41

Cost: $ 7200

night with private bath: $ 290

This Course Is Sold Out! Understanding that “form follows function” is critical for knowing how to blend what looks good with what predictably functions well. E3 is the phase of…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

I AM A
I AM INTERESTED IN

VIEW COURSE CALENDAR