Dr. Dennis Hartlieb

Interview with Dr. Rebecca Bockow

About the Sharecast Interview

Are you looking at comprehensive dentistry solutions with patients? In today's Sharecast interview, your host Dr. Dennis Hartlieb talks with orthodontist Dr. Rebecca Bockow about the power of comprehensive dentistry and the way that it can improve overall health in patients. Dr. Bockow shares her experiences with continuing education opportunities and how those experiences have shaped her career. 

Listen in to hear Dr. Bockow talk about sleep dentistry, how early development influences treatment planning, and how she continues to grow and learn in her dental career.  

Meet Dr. Rebecca Bockow

From Dr. Bockow's website, Inspired Orthodontics:

"Dr. Rebecca Bockow is a dual trained orthodontist and periodontist – the only dual trained provider in Seattle and one of only a handful in the country.

"She grew up the Greater Seattle area and attended University Prep for High School. She received a BS in Biology with Honors at Haverford College, where she also played Soccer, Squash, Tennis, and ran Cross Country and Track. She completed her DDS training at the University of Washington Dental School in 2007. Dr. Bockow practiced as a general dentist in Seattle for two years while simultaneously teaching at the UW dental school.

"Dr. Bockow completed a highly selective dual-specialty program combining Orthodontics and Periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a board certified orthodontist and periodontist. While simultaneously enrolled in two residency programs, she also received a Masters in Oral Biology, focusing on intranasal Ketorolac for post-operative implant pain management.

"Dr. Bockow lectures nationally on periodontics, orthodontics, interdisciplinary orthodontics, airway, and skeletal growth and development. She contributes to multiple professional journals as an author and editor. Dr. Bockow is also resident faculty at Spear Education."

Episode Highlights


More Than Just Single Tooth Dentistry

While Dr. Bockow talks about how when she was in dental school, she had the opportunity to go see graduate level combined seminars featuring leading experts such as Frank Spear and Dave Matthews, and she was fascinated by everything she heard them share about the dental world beyond single tooth dentistry. 

Then Becca was offered the opportunity to go to the Seattle Symposium. Although it was a financial struggle for her to cover the cost of transportation and lodging, she did not want to miss her chance and found a way to make it work. 

Dr. Bockow shares how that symposium changed her life. She also began practicing with Dr. Glen Krieger, who was very committed to continuing education. Becca was getting all of the CE she could possibly fit into her schedule, and the learning shaped her practice. 

She shares, "I started thinking as I was practicing, that a lot of the issues I was seeing as a restorative dentist were because the foundation itself was breaking down the bone and the teeth were in the wrong place. And I thought if I can set the foundation and I can work with a phenomenal or multiple phenomenal restorative dentists, they can put it all back together." 

Orthodontics and Continuing Education for Dentists

Dr. Bockow shares about how she found her way into dentistry even though the rest of her family members were in medicine. She talks about how her love of working with her hands, which was a hobby at first, fused with her occupational interests, paving her way to dentistry.

Becca also shares about the limitations of dental school and the importance of continuing education throughout our dental careers.

She states, "It's hard [in dental school] to also incorporate things at advanced levels like interdisciplinary care. And so we can think of dental school as a starting point for our career of lifelong learning. Joints and mounting models... A lot that we can't get through because of we have we have so much other material to cover in dental school. Similarly in residency, if a residency program is two to three years, depending on where you go, by the time you learn about records and how to move teeth and just the basics of growth and development... It's hard to teach it all." 

The Power of Asking New Questions

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Dr. Bockow shares about how the power of asking new questions as practitioners can lead us as dentists and orthodontists to complete procedures that drastically improve patient health and quality of life.

Keeping Up with Changing Information

As Dr. Bockow and Dr. Hartlieb discuss, new studies continue to come out that support the work of dentists doing comprehensive dentistry. Several major sleep studies have come out just last year and this year. As Dr. Bockow states, "The evidence is there. It's just do we want to look for it?"

Becca and Dennis talk about the power of comprehensive dentistry to drastically improve the life of patients. Dr. Bockow states, "I'm an orthodontist. I practice clinical orthodontics. But asking new questions makes it pretty interesting and pretty exciting." 

Dr. Bockow talks about how, in addition to the symposium she saw when she was in dental school, she attended a meeting where Dr. Jeff Rouse spoke in 2013, and that experience again shaped and directed the course of her career. She discovered the link between airway patients and orthodontic patients. (For more from Dr. Rouse, don't miss our previous Sharecast episodes, Episode 13 and Episode 14.) 

"You Can't Not See It Once You See It!"

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Dr. Bockow talks about how she first learned about the connection between orthodontics and airway issues in children and adults and how that transformative moment shaped the pathway of her career.

Growth Development and Dentistry

Dr. Bockow and Dr. Hartlieb discuss the way that habits and positioning impact bone development. Becca shares some of the cases she is seeing in her office and the approach she takes when considering how to treat those patients. 

Dr. Bockow states, "In the dental community, we have an opportunity to ask new questions. And to get very curious in a way that we [haven't so far]. If we start asking our questions at age twelve, we've missed a lot of information."

Listen in as Dr. Bockow shares how powerful teams can be when many professionals with different areas of expertise work together to treatment plan and to positively impact patients' lives. Becca also shares what it's like to balance professional life with family life. 

Dr. Bockow says, "I have two little girls, and I hope that they will see that their mom works, and I hope that inspires them to know that they can do anything they want to do, whatever place they find joy in their professional life one day."

The interview wraps up with Dr. Hartlieb and Dr. Bockow talking about owning a practice and the challenges that can be part of that ownership, and finally, they share some thoughts about what might help young dentists.

To young dentists, Dr. Bockow offers this advice: "Constantly seek opportunities to learn, find mentors, and just continue to grow and know that we're always learning and always trying to do better." 

Considering Factors that Impact Development

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Dr. Bockow talks about the patterns she sees in very young patients such as thumb sucking and mouth breathing that affect their development.

Dennis Hartlieb, DDS, AAACD

DOT Founder

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