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At the Core of Complete Dentistry: The Dawson Academy
Maybe it’s at the close of day when the hectic bustle of patients has receded. Or maybe it’s in those quiet moments on the drive to work. A question may wash ashore: Am I the best I can be? As boundless as this concern may be, this dilemma can be solved simply—education.
The Dawson Academy understands this better than most institutions. After all, The Academy was built on the premise of helping dentists understand why treatment fails, why treatments don’t last, and how the masticatory system truly works.
“We just finished a seminar last weekend, and 76 doctors finished the core curriculum,” says John C. Cranham, DDS, Clinical Director of The Dawson Academy. “This is life-changing stuff, and it’s exciting to see the light in their eyes and the excitement when dentists realize they can solve problems that they couldn’t before.”
Offering hands-on and lecture-style courses, The Dawson Academy is a postgraduate educational and clinical research facility dedicated to the advancement of dentistry. The 20-plus-member clinical faculty, all of whom are practicing dentists, teaches the principles and skills necessary for the successful practice of complete and predictable dentistry as performed and taught by Peter E. Dawson, DDS. Dawson, who began The Academy in 1979, has authored the bestselling textbook, Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Occlusal Problems, which is published in 13 languages.
“A lot of people don’t realize that many of the fundamental principles they learned in school or along the way through continuing education providers come from Dr. Dawson’s mind,” Cranham says.
The cornerstone of The Dawson Academy philosophy is a comprehensive understanding of how the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), muscles, proprioceptive input, lower anterior teeth, upper anterior teeth, lower posterior teeth, and upper posterior teeth are designed to function in harmony with each other. The philosophy behind The Dawson Academy is that dentistry is more than just teeth. The Academy teaches the essential principles and skills for complete care with primary concentrations in dental occlusion, the TMJs, and comprehensive esthetic restorative dentistry.
The curriculum is designed for a dentist or laboratory technician at any point in a career path. “We give dentists with any experience level an education that allows them to get to the next level of their practice,” Cranham says. “Beyond providing dentists with a clear understanding of occlusion, we provide our students with a checklist-style approach to treatment planning. This helps ensure no essential steps are skipped, allowing dental professionals to provide predictable results every time.”
The courses are taken in person at locations nationwide, with some courses available online. The Core Curriculum is for dentists wishing to achieve predictable success and become “physicians of the masticatory system.” The recommended course plan for dentists involves four phases, for a total of 7 classes: Phase 1: Functional Occlusion—From TMJ to Smile Design; Phase 2: Examination & Records, Treatment Planning Functional Esthetic Results, and Achieving Predictable Esthetic Results; Phase 3: The Art & Science of Equilibration and Esthetic Foundations 1 – Restoring Anterior Teeth; and Phase 4: Advanced Problem Solving.
“A lot of doctors are looking for a program that is almost a mini-residency where they can come and take our classes and be taught our protocol,” Cranham says. “A doctor who just takes one course can certainly add to his or her knowledge.”
The Academy also offers elective courses on integrative dental medicine, implants, complex cases, and more. Another way for dentists to challenge themselves is through The Dawson Academy study clubs, which are open to general dentists, specialists, laboratory technicians, and dental consultants and offers 24 hours of continuing education credit. Study clubs have access to an ever-growing content library, ranging from clinical to practice management to integrative dental medicine.
“A lot of people don’t realize just how much time we spend teaching esthetics, too. Function is part of good esthetic design and good treatment planning,” Cranham says. “The most beautiful reconstruction in the world will fail if it doesn’t function properly.”
The Dawson Academy
390 4th St. N, #200
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701