The Relationship Based Dental Practice from the Patient’s Perspective

September 30, 2019 Kenneth E. Myers, DDS

It’s early in the morning and the first sip of coffee full of that fresh aroma just went down with a sigh, a sagging of the shoulders and a feeling of here we go for another day. My mind is starting to run the list of what is on the day’s agenda…work deadlines and meetings…the kids’ schedules…what is my spouse doing today? Did I pay that electric bill or not? Then it hits. Oh, that’s right! I have a dental appointment today!

The morning life puzzle pieces all start to come together as they always do.

Everyone and everything are in their place. And off I go to the dentist with that fearful thought, “I hope they don’t hurt me today.” Parking in a rush and taking a breath before entering the dental office door, I worry, “Am I just in time?” A gentle face looks up, smiles and greets me by name. With that kind hello, I begin to relax and mentally whisper to myself, “I’m safe here. They know me. They want to take care of me. They’re happy to see me. I’ll be okay.”

The reality is this kind of personalized attention and care is slowly going away.

In medicine and dentistry, consolidation of practices into corporate entities has forced doctors to “run” on a patient-number schedule and production list. Statistics and numbers are slowly pulling their want and desire to give personalized care away from them. And I, the Patient, don’t want to be treated this way.

I’m glad my dentist takes time to know me and my concerns, spends time diagnosing and planning treatment that is individualized and best for me, and doesn’t let insurance companies limit my choices and the quality and quantity of care I receive. What’s important to me is I trust this type of dental care, I think I deserve this type of care—and the comfort I feel during my dental visits is priceless.

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DATE: July 25 2025 @ 8:00 am - July 29 2025 @ 2:30 pm

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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 your Essentials journey in which…

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Kenneth E. Myers, DDS

Originally from Michigan, Dr. Myers moved to Maine in 1987 after completing a hospital residency program at Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. His undergraduate degree in biology and his dental degree were both earned at The University of Michigan. Upon first arriving in Maine, he worked for a short time as an associate dentist and opened his private practice in 1990. During the mid-90’s he associated himself with the Pankey Institute and became one of the first dentists to achieve the status of Pankey Scholar.

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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.

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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.

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Here. Now.

September 23, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

While communicating, we can learn to become more mindful of the emotions which are rising up in our body and the sensations we are feeling on an intuitive level. We can begin to notice what has happened that has triggered our initial response, as well as feeling the sensations it has created in our body.

This requires us to remain in a state of curiosity and observation rather than in assessment and judgment. And when we treat these thoughts and sensations with equanimity, we are less likely to react inappropriately during stressful situations.

When I mention staying curious, I mean to approach the experience with the curiosity of a child.

When we remain curious, we are inspecting our experience like a child who has seen a flower for the very first time. This helps take the power away from the strong emotions we might be feeling in that moment. To paraphrase Mary Osborne from this past weekend at The Pankey Institute Annual Meeting, “You are standing on the balcony, and not on the floor.”

This whole mindfulness practice is extremely important as it gives us a chance to hit the pause button.

And when we pause, we’re able to respond rather than simply react. Reactions are often what our limbic brain wants us to thoughtlessly do. And if we have developed an insensitive pattern of reacting over the years, it can lead to regret and suffering. Hence, by developing an ability to pause our limbic brain’s instant impulses, we become more capable of responding in a much wiser fashion.

Mindfulness is at the epicenter of a truly relationship-driven practice.

And it’s a skill which can be developed and enhanced over our lifetime. Hence, it’s at the epicenter of “knowing ourselves” as well.

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Selling Dentistry

September 9, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

Janet Hagerman’s book, Selling Dentistry – Ethically, Elegantly, Effectively, presents a provocative and compelling analysis of how sales opportunities are missed by the entire dental team. Filled with practical solutions for how to feel good about your treatment recommendations and build your practice at the same time, Janet’s book focuses not only on how to be effective in your sales communications but also how to be elegant in your approach.

Selling Dentistry – Ethically, Elegantly, Effectively was born from a need, a cry for help from dental teams says the author and dental practice coach Janet Hagerman. Dental teams kept asking her how to stop dentistry from walking out of their doors and how to reverse the trend, so more patients would say yes to dental treatment.

In her book, Hagerman uses real-life examples and stories that come from her years of experience helping dental teams succeed.

According to Hagerman, dentists want to know how to sell dentistry. Their teams want to know how to sell dentistry. They want to move beyond an aversion to the “S” word to embracing the “E’s” of selling. Selling does not need to be controversial, says Hagerman, it’s about better serving patients and building trustful relationships, so patients accept the care they really need.

It comes down to surpassing external marketing and focusing on internal conversations with patients.

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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Your Patients Want to Know: Is Sleep Apnea Causing their Morning Headaches?

September 3, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

You are accustomed to consulting with patients about the association of TMD with craniofacial pain, but the link to sleep disorders should now be on your radar. Your patients want to know that you can help them sort out whether their frequently occurring headaches are the result of TMD, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a combination of the two, and/or other comorbidities.

Because research evidence suggests up to 50% of individuals suffering from morning headaches have OSA, every dentist likely has some sufferers they can detect, educate, diagnose, and refer or treat. If you are not already an expert in Dental Sleep Medicine, The Pankey Institute’s immersive Dental Sleep Medicine course is one of the best in the country.

A preclinical interview that includes questions about headaches will get you started with a co-discovery diagnosis for OSA related headaches and set you and your patient on the path for the most appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment.

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About Author

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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