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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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.

4 thoughts on “Pankey History: The Tanner Appliance

  1. Thanks Buzz for reminding dentists about Dr Henry Tanner and the interactive way he has helped the patient and dentist learn about their teeth through the use of an appliance.

  2. Dr. Tanner contributed so much to the field of dentistry. His “invention” of various dental instruments and the Tanner appliance with it’s many applications in diagnosis, creating comfort, and giving the clinician the opportunity to “get to know” and gain the patient’s confidence and trust, while learning what “they do with their teeth”.

    Henry had an uncanny ability to meet “students” at their particular level and to provide marvelous learning opportunities. However, his greatest contribution was the legacy he left with his influence on special people, such as Dr. Buzz Raymond, who have unselfishly given of their time and talents to share the priceless life lesson passed on by Henry. Thank you, Buzz.

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