The first course of Dawson’s Core Curriculum

Core 1: Occlusion & Smile Design

Video Note: Core 1 was formerly “Functional Occlusion”

core 1 progress bar at dawson acadmey

Master Occlusion, Smile Design, and Boost Your Bottom Line

Core 1: Occlusion & Smile Design, where students dive into the fundamentals of functional occlusion. This comprehensive course is designed to elevate your practice to new heights, offering a seamless integration of foundational occlusal principles with cutting-edge digital workflows. Beyond mastering the intricacies of esthetic dentistry, Core 1 provides practical strategies to reduce insurance dependency, ensuring a robust bottom line. Join us in redefining the possibilities of dental excellence and business success, positioning yourself as a leader in your community. The first step on the journey toward becoming a Dawson Scholar starts with Core 1.

  • Visualize the journey from an insurance-focused level of care to a patient-focused, health-oriented model
  • Discover why the most productive practices only need 10-12 new patients per month
  • Convert the dental practice to fee-for-service with ease and predictability
  • Motivate patients towards a higher level of health to ethically boost productivity per hour
  • Identify the 11 factors critical to a stable occlusion resulting in the long-term success of general and cosmetic cases
  • Gain confidence in diagnosing TMD-related issues and how to provide appropriate, successful orthotic/splint therapy
  • Understand the treatment planning relationship between the face, airway, and bite and how to identify, prior to treatment, which patients pose a risk of future instability
  • Eliminate porcelain chips and breakage, and uncover how these issues can erode profitability more than dentists realize
  • Determine tooth positioning for orthodontics, veneers, crowns, or implant-supported restorations
  • Utilize checklists for functional-esthetic analysis and treatment planning
  • Define a thorough examination process and how to implement in practice by employing diagnostic records for complete diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Recognize how designing a stable, minimal-stress occlusion on teeth or implants saves time, increases profitability, and reduces stress

Course Dates

  1. August 16, 2024 - August 17, 2024

    Milwaukee, WI

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  2. September 6, 2024 - September 7, 2024

    Irvine, CA

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  3. October 25, 2024 - October 26, 2024

    Palm Bay,FL

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  4. November 1, 2024 - November 2, 2024

    Columbus, OH

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  5. March 14, 2025 - March 15, 2025

    Denver, CO

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  6. March 28, 2025 - March 29, 2025

    Carrollton, TX

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  7. August 7, 2025 - August 8, 2025

    Milwaukee, WI

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  8. September 19, 2025 - September 20, 2025

    Irvine, CA

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  9. October 17, 2025 - October 18, 2025

    Palm Bay,FL

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Meet the instructor

Leonard A. Hess, DDS is the Clinical Director at The Dawson Academy and joined the faculty in 2009. He owns Union County Center for Comprehensive Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, and practices full-time in addition to teaching continuing education courses. He is a member of the editorial board for Inside Dentistry and has had over 17 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. He is also a member of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, AACD, ADA, AES, and NCDS. Dr. Hess began teaching continuing education courses in 2005 on topics including occlusion, smile design, treatment planning, preparation design, and practice integration of Complete Care Dentistry. He’s taught full-day continuing education courses at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s national meeting, The Greater New York Dental Meeting, AACD National Meeting, Pacific Dental Conference, Ontario Dental Association meeting, and The Yankee Dental Conference. Dr. Hess has taught courses in Japan, Germany, Poland, China, and Canada.

Transforming Practices

“I’m no longer just a single tooth, or a couple of teeth or a few veneers, type of dentist. If you have a broken down mouth, I try to find a solution.”

“Sometimes, patients will leave the office and tell my assistant at the front desk that I’m the only one in town who provides this type of care.”

Start your CE journey

  • Forget Failure

    We help clinicians improve their work-life and productivity. Our goal is for you to confidently eliminate failures and guesswork to achieve predictable, profitable results.

  • Free Virtual Study Session

    Unlike a traditional seminar, our faculty take pride in engaging with students in and after every course. Join a group of like-minded dentists during the live stream and follow up with faculty in a complimentary virtual study session to be scheduled at a later date.

  • New Content

    On top of must-know occlusion principles, students will receive the most comprehensive implementation guide we’ve ever offered. Additionally, we’ve added new course content about converting to fee-for-service, patient communication, digital workflows, implementation, and more.

Questions about this course?

Receive personalized guidance from a Dawson Advisor.

Learn More about Top 10% Course

Cancellation Policy:

For registrations paid in full at time of registering, requests to cancel or transfer registration in a Dawson Academy course, lecture, or event will be accommodated until 90 DAYS PRIOR to start date. Upon request a refund will be provided minus a $200.00 non-refundable deposit, or a one-time course, lecture, or event transfer, which remains valid for 12 months. Less than 90 days prior to course, no refunds or transfers will be issued.
*Students who finance tuition through the Lending Club financing program are subject to special terms and conditions.

Please contact The Dawson Academy at 1.800.952.2178 for full details.


The Dawson Academy is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. The Dawson Academy designates this activity for 16 credit hours continuing education credits.