Who Captures The Facebow Record?

February 10, 2018 Roger Macias DDS

Do you feel reticent about having someone other than you use the facebow? 

A Spatial Reference Point Story

Recently over the holidays as I was “channel surfing” I came across the movie Apollo 13. This is one of those movies that no matter how many times I have watched it, I just have to stop and watch it one more time. Every time I do, I can’t help but get misty-eyed when it gets to the part when the crew make it back to Earth safely (SPOILER ALERT … But you probably read this in the history books anyway).

For me, there is one super exciting moment in the film when Astronaut James Lovell (aka Tom Hanks) has to find a reference point to correct their descent back to Earth from space or burn up on re-entry. Since he cannot use his on-board computers, he lines up his spaceship with the Earth in his window.

“Keep the Earth in the window!” A spatial reference point! Too much correction and their spaceship burns up on re-entry. Too little and they skip off the Earth’s atmosphere.

Make Your Facebow Process Simpler

In our dental offices, the facebow is used to give us a spatial reference point for mounting diagnostic or working models of our patient’s dentition. This is done onto an articulator that approximates the realities of our patient. Sure, you might be able to mount casts arbitrarily, but is your accuracy reproducible? The facebow is a simple tool in our armamentarium to make our life easier.

The question remains, “Is this a task that the dentist must perform?” In my office when we create exquisite dental mountings, I delegate this task to my awesome dental assistants.  With a little training they can do this immediately and the procedure only takes a few minutes.

This involvement is a great way for them to demonstrate their knowledge. It paves the way for more opportunities to open conversations about the Dentist’s Care, Skill, and Judgement. They become your chairside cheerleader and highlight your expertise. They will also express how a critical bite registration record or protrusive record performed by the dentist will only enhance the outcome of treatment.  

Information gathered through the use of a facebow makes our dentistry more predictable. It distinguishes you and your team as a highly trained dental practice.

Don’t burn up on re-entry or skip off into space. Glide effortlessly into beautiful predictable dentistry by using your facebow. Keep your Earth in the window!

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About Author

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Roger Macias DDS

Dr. Macias obtained his dental education at the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School at San Antonio and graduated in 1983. While establishing his private practice, Dr. Macias was an assistant professor in the Department of General Practice at the UT Dental School from 1983 until 1989. He is the team dentist for the San Antonio Rampage, the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars, the San Antonio Missions Baseball Club as well as numerous college universities and high schools in the south Texas area. Dr. Macias is active in numerous dental study clubs and is currently a faculty professor at the world renowned L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education in Key Biscayne, Florida. Among Dr. Macias’s many accolades and awards, he has received his Fellowship in the American and the International College of Dentistry as well as the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

One thought on “Who Captures The Facebow Record?

  1. Thank you for bringing up a great topic Roger! When I was still practicing full time hygiene I loved being one of the team members that routinely made facebows with patients. Although I genuinely enjoyed the process of accurately creating the facebow, my favorite part came from the value building conversation that always occurred between me and the patient while they were in my chair. When patients were having records completed I found it to be the perfect time to talk about our practice diversity, advanced understanding of clinical dentistry including occlusion, and the level of detail that my Dr was proud of providing. It was fun to learn from them about their values, past dental experiences, and potential long term outcomes. They loved learning about how we were “different” and how that difference could serve them. I applaud having more team members learn the “art of the facebow” including the powerful dialogue to go with it!

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