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“In Loving Memory of My Great Mentor and Dear Friend, Dr. James F. Garry.”

Jane and I are still deeply grieving the lost of our dear friend and great mentor, Dr. James F. Garry.

My Mentor, Teacher, Friend, and one who understood my personal struggles I have gone through over these past 7 years in learning and understanding the neuromuscular concepts.  As Jane and I returned from a recent trip I received the word that brought selfish sadness to my heart realizing that our profession has lost a great man with unshakeable beliefs to what he clinically observed and new was true to his clinical experience as a practicing dentist of substantial years of practice both in the pediatric, endodontic, prosthodontic and TMD arena.  Few in dentistry realize that he also was an inventor.  He developed the ion temporary crown and pioneered pediatric endodontics and the Nuk Sager nipple.   He had principles and stood by his beliefs.  He inspired me!

He was the first one that brought to light postural issues that influenced my understanding of gnathology.  He changed my thinking!  He had the willingness and discipline to maintain his composure while I naively disrupted his 3 day in-office course on complex occlusion, advanced TMD and instrumentation.  He was the one that so kindly got me immediately in touch with his friend, who also became my other great mentor Bob Jankelson in the state of Washington, who I began to first converse with via telephone, not ever knowing my destiny down a professional road would forever change my life.  It was Jim Garry who dialed the phone number to Dr. Bob Jankelson and told me to sit down behind his large wooden desk in Fullerton, CA and talk to his friend as long as I needed to, not ever realizing that I was talking long distance to gentlemen of caliber and astute integrity regarding clinical dentistry and neuromuscular occlusion, while Jim proceeded to lecture and teach the other doctors of the course.  He was patient and kind.  His private office was a testimony to a great and generous man who loved his profession and family.  It was filled, wall to wall of all four corners ceiling to floor of plaques, honors, professional recognition that were to numerous to mention and not fully realizing at the time of my self pride and insecurities.

It was Jim who impressed me the most that TMD was an occlusal problem, not just muscular in nature, but gave me the micro occlusal insights of Scan 12 that both encouraged me to use the fast clench technique along with the high low chart that forever changed my perspective of mandibular torque and the precision of the K6-I I had at the time.  It was he that gave me the realization and confirmation that much of TMD has been misdiagnosed as some imposter of other disease origin.  But it took his experience to again confirm my own clinical findings that the principles of occlusion, trajectory, and physiologic rest were certainly to be held sacred as a treating clinician if one is to conquer the TMD occlusal challenges.

Jane called and informed him I was struggling looking for answers the first year of trying to understand how to improve my clinical results with the use of  the instrumentation soon after I took that  first course with him and purchased the K6-I.  He barely knew me at that time, but he immediately offered and drove down to help me in my office in Del Mar, California.  He showed me how to clinically finish my cases with instrumentation to confirm my micro occlusion with scan 12.   It was he that gave me the courage to stand up for what I believe.  I saw a man that had strong proven beliefs of neuromuscular dentistry because of his sister being restored back from severe debilitating TMD who Bernard Jankelson impressed on him that it was him who would treat his own sister with neuromuscular concepts.  He was a man of conviction, kindness, generosity, sincerity, honor, truth and love.  He was a war hero!  A “Neuromuscular Treasure” as Bob Jankelson once put it.  A true Neuromuscular Hero of objective measurable truths!

Dr. Vernon Gray deeply inspired him as he indicated to me on many occasions how airway obstruction, tongue posture and breathing had so much to do with the long term stability of occlusion.   I asked Jim why does he feel the need to give that famous and well known lecture on Airway Obstruction so often?  He told me because so many dentist just don’t get it, they don’t realize the importance of occlusal stability.

Numerous hours have been spent putting lecturing material together with Jim late into the night and early wee hours of many mornings.  A passion to give to dentistry something that was unique and was his calling to do.  Fighting the neuromuscular fight, battling for objective measurable clinical dentistry.  Keeping others focused on what really mattered.

How excited he was when he first started teaching at LVI.  He enjoyed all the enthusiasm from the doctors and team members that were eager, open and excited to learn what he had to share.  He and Roma had been open advocates and believers for LVI.  They loved LVI, everything and everyone related to LVI.  They had defended LVI on many occasions to antagonists and skeptics and never bragged about their defense.  In one recent particular occasion they had told one of the famous functional orthodontic lecturers how displeased they were of allowing his TMD lecturer to bad mouth LVI openly in the same course that Jim was also lecturing.  They told him it was wrong for him to allow that to happen and they refused to go out and join the lecturers’ dinner party that night.  Jim also blatantly turned down lecturing offers last month when this particular person called again to invite Jim to speak at his upcoming orthodontic/TMD programs this year.  He told the person exactly the reason why.   Jim and Roma are people of principles and integrity.

Like many of us we were pleased to see how proud, appreciative and touched Jim was when the pavilion was dedicated in his honor by Bill Dickerson.

I believe many that heard Jim Garry’s Lecture will remember GARRY’S DOGMATIC DICTUM  – “ALL CHRONIC MOUTHBREATHERS, WITH A DENTITION, DEVELOP A MALOCCLUSION, Therefore …… It is essential that an upper airway evaluation be performed prior to initiating orthodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, etc.”

He would end his lecture with these words,

“The most significant principle to understand is that teeth seek a neutral position within a system of forces acting on them.  The force system changes constantly during growth, and teeth move in response to stimuli in their environment.  Clinical observation can, with experience, enable a dentist to assess the force system in a child or adult and determine whether the position of the teeth may improve or deteriorate when balance between the dentition and force system has been established.”

“The most important thing you can put in your body is not food or water but it is OXYGEN!  We must be chronic nose breathers not mouth breathers to maintain a stable occlusion.”

Clayton and Jane Chan


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