Pankey History: The Tanner Appliance

December 7, 2017 Buzz Raymond DDS

Pankey dentists have been instrumental in changing the face of dentistry and launching inspiring innovations that advanced patient care. This post is a continuation of my first blog on the history of Dr. Henry Tanner.

Developing the Tanner Appliance

Dr. Tanner always credited Dr. Ricketts for encouraging him and giving him permission to continue learning what patients were doing with their teeth. They were both using full arch lower appliances, although at that time, Henry simply called his a nightguard. For approximately 15 years, he made that nightguard on a single lower cast and then would adjust it in the mouth.

Some years later at The Pankey Institute, under Dr. John Anderson’s leadership, Dr. Tanner introduced his appliance to Dr. Parker Mahan. Dr. Mahan had a Ph.D. in anatomy, was a full time professor at the University of Florida Dental College, and was a world renowned authority on head and neck pain.  

How Dr. Tanner Changed Dentistry

With the full support and encouragement of Drs. Anderson and Mahan, Henry started teaching about his nightguard using mounted casts. Dr. Anderson initially named it a TANG (Tanner Appliance Night Guard).  

Dr. Tanner always said, “Don’t ever have anything named after you. Whenever people misuse it, then your name is attached.” Over the years, the Tanner appliance has become known as an anatomic appliance. It is extremely individualized, based on the patient’s unique joint, condyle, and tooth anatomy.

The goals are even bilateral centric relation contacts, non-interfering posteriors, and smooth anterior guidance. Dr. Tanner was always curious to see how little could be done to the person’s own unique occlusion to accomplish all those goals. Patient discovery and engagement are keys to Tanner appliance therapy.

Dr. Tanner passed away in 2003. His appliance and his life’s work live on.

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Buzz Raymond DDS

Dr. Buzz serves patients in and around the Minneapolis and St. Paul area at his office in Golden Valley, MN. His goal is to help patients receive the treatment they need for optimal health and aesthetics. Buzz attended the Pankey Institute, and helps teach and mentor other dentists as a member of the faculty. Dr. Buzz’s mentors have included some of the finest dentists in the world. He continues to give back by mentoring and teaching dentists throughout the United States and Canada. In 2013, Dr. Buzz was given the honor of being named a Dental Hero by his peers at the Pankey Institute.

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Pankey History: Dr. Henry Tanner

December 6, 2017 Buzz Raymond DDS

Forty five years ago, in the fall of 1972, the first class at The Pankey Institute was held. It’s easy to forget how much things have changed in the world of dental continuing education. Read on for an enlightening reminder of how far dentistry has come in the last few decades … 

Pankey History: Dr. Henry Tanner

Dr. John Anderson and Dr. Loren Miller each had sold their private practices and dedicated their careers to the creation of the Institute. In 1974, Dr. Anderson asked Dr. Henry Tanner to be assistant director of education. Dr. Tanner had been head of fixed prosthodontics at USC School of Dentistry and had made several significant contributions to dentistry.  

Many years earlier, Dr. Tanner had rebuilt the occlusion of Dr. Anderson, who then described Henry as “the finest restorative dentist in the world.” Dr. Henry Tanner is most often associated with the development of the Tanner Appliance.  

Dr. Tanner vividly recalled the first time he made a lower full arch appliance for a woman who was having severe head and face pain. She and her husband went to the hospital emergency room and she was given morphine and Demerol, yet she was not having much relief.

During an emergency visit at his office, Dr. Tanner made an acrylic wafer, placed it directly in her mouth, had her touch it gently with her upper teeth, and asked her to mold it with her tongue. After the acrylic got rubbery, he took it out of her mouth, let it harden, and refined it. She was out of pain the next day.

Within weeks of that experience, Dr. Tanner met a well-recognized orthodontist, Dr. Bob Ricketts, who was taking laminagraphs (sectional x-rays) of his splint patients to monitor condylar position and bony healing in the joint.  

To be continued ...

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About Author

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Buzz Raymond DDS

Dr. Buzz serves patients in and around the Minneapolis and St. Paul area at his office in Golden Valley, MN. His goal is to help patients receive the treatment they need for optimal health and aesthetics. Buzz attended the Pankey Institute, and helps teach and mentor other dentists as a member of the faculty. Dr. Buzz’s mentors have included some of the finest dentists in the world. He continues to give back by mentoring and teaching dentists throughout the United States and Canada. In 2013, Dr. Buzz was given the honor of being named a Dental Hero by his peers at the Pankey Institute.

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