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ADA News Convention Daily

Inside look of head, neck anatomy

Hands-on course allows dentists to dissect oral cavity

October 19, 2017

By Michelle Manchir


Head and neck tutorial: Dr. Alan Budenz, right, helps Dr. Sara Kehoe, left, and Dr. Marsha Douma, during the Anatomy of the Masticatory System: Clinical Application and Dissection course Wednesday. Photo by EZ Event Photography
Some dental professionals began their day Wednesday in Atlanta by dissecting a portion of a human head.

This key piece of the full-day course, Anatomy of the Masticatory System: Clinical Application and Dissection, gave dentists the opportunity to complete a detailed dissection of the face, masticatory musculature and temporomandibular joint.

Course instructors, Drs. Henry Gremillion and Homer Asadi, highlighted anatomy's relationship to routine dental assessment and clinical procedures.

For some of the dental professionals in the course, it offered the first time since dental school they practiced dissection.

That included Dr. Marsha Douma, a general dentist in practice for 43 years in a suburb of Washington, D.C., who said the course for her would act as a "refresher" to what she already knew about anatomy.

"I always found anatomy fascinating, and I appreciate the opportunity to see what goes beyond the gingival tissue," she said.

During the course, students were given the chance to dissect the oral cavity, with special attention paid to the floor of the mouth. They also engaged in a detailed analysis of the temporomandibular joint and an assessment of the facial and superficial structures, including the muscles of facial expression.

Throughout the hands-on course, students were able to ask questions during dissection, and the instructors regularly brought the discussion back to clinical application.

Near the beginning of the session, Dr. Gremillion noted the "honor and privilege" of being able to dissect a human cadaver.

"We're just tour guides," Dr. Gremillion said of himself and Dr. Asadi. "The cadavers are our teachers."

The images of the masticatory system you see in a book, said Dr. Gremillion, even "beautiful drawings" in medical books, "don't do justice to what you see in real life."