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Living Life to the Fullest, at Work and at Play
· Dr. Pat Freeman
Living Life to the Fullest, at Work and at Play Dr. Pat Freeman By Ali Skiles
Growing up in Oregon County, MO , Dr. Pat Freeman
always had a curiosity about Oregon, the state. His fam-
ily spent a lot of time with competitive waterskiing, as
he grew up near pristine Norfork Lake in the Ozarks of
southern Missouri. This was a lot of work and sacrifice for
his parents and family, but Dr. Freeman recollects that the
whole experience shaped his core personality and created a
desire for similar recreational experiences for himself and
his future family. In the late '70s, Dr. Freeman learned
how to windsurf, but once accepted to dental school his
recreational time was very limited. "So four years later, I
get out of dental school and I see a windsurfer on TV going
fast. The equipment had evolved to where the sport was
a lot more exhilarating." A year after his graduation, Dr.
Freeman bought his first board. He windsurfed the Great
In dentistry, two of the things Pat enjoys doing most are comprehensive examinations and educating his patients to their current conditions. Starting with a comprehensive examination benefits the long-term oral health of his patients.
Dr. Freeman and his team share a common goal to provide qual ity, sound dental treatment in a comfortable atmosphere.
Plains for over a decade, which, he explains, can have epic
conditions, but it was often hit or miss and it required a lot
of driving time. "Windsurfing was a passion of mine for
In 2000, Dr. Freeman transitioned to kiteboarding and
has to wonder ifit wasn't some kind of"divine intervention"
because it parallels everything he's been involved with his
whole life. "With kiteboarding, you're flying a large inflated
kite that grabs the wind, and you're controlling it, and it pulls
you over the water. You can be either on a wakeboard-type
board, or a surfboard or a surfboard with straps." He can
barely contain his excitement as he tries to describe it: "It is
just so good. It is pretty much like walking on the moon. The
thing about kiting is that the forces are always pulling you
up or sideways. That allows a kiter to catch air and even land
softly (like a butterfly with sore feet) from a 30-foot jump. At
that time, when the sport just started to take off, there were
no instructors. We all learned from each other and tried to
keep the 'kitemares' to a minimum. Lessons are a must for
safety. You learn by flying a kite, learning the power zones
of the kite, and how it works . Then they teach you how to
drag yourself through the water and how to relaunch your
kite from the water after you crash, because those are neces-
sary skills. After you figure that out, you're given a board and
taught how to ride it."
HIS OWN OREGON TRAIL In 1996, after practicing dentistry for 13 years in Kansas
City, MO, Dr. Freeman was not feeling fulfilled with his life.
He was commuting over 40 miles roundtrip to his practice
each day. His wife, Camille, was also feeling the stress with
her corporate job with a major airline and her commute of
45 miles each way. And, they wanted to start a family. Dr.
Freeman vividly remembers, "Several times on my way to
work, I would get off on this exit to go to my clinic, and I
would ask myself, 'Do I really want to be here for the rest
of my life?' It was just kind of a nagging feeling." He was re-
ally into windsurfing then, and even though the conditions
were very good in Kansas for windsurfing, it was really hit
and miss. And he had to travel a lot. He would find himself
driving up to 240 miles in a day just to go windsurfing. "On
one particular day there ended up being no wind when I ar-
rived and all I got was the wheat report, a thunderstorm and
a goat's head thorn in the bottom of my foot. And then, of
course, the drive back home."
So on his 40th birthday, Dr. Freeman and his wife made
Staff picture from left : Valerie, Roseann, Dr. Freeman, Heidi and Mary.
the decision that he would take the Western Regional
Board Exam in Portland. They had previously vacationed
in Hood River, OR, and fell in love with the beauty of the
Columbia River Gorge. Once Dr. Freeman passed the board
exams, he sold his dental practice and decided to move to
Oregon. That was the turning point, but getting there was
not so simple. The first Northwest practice offered to Dr.
Freeman did not materialize. But shortly after that, Dr.
Freeman remembered the name of a Hood River dentist
who he suspected might be nearing retirement age. After
a simple phone call, they arranged to meet the doctor and
his wife the following weekend in a Hood River restaurant.
After dinner, conversation and a handshake, the deal was
made! Dr. Freeman had a practice and now they had a few
short months to sell their home and find a place to live in
Of all the places they could have chosen to move to, why
Oregon? "Because of our love of the outdoors, a move to
the Northwest seemed imminent." Dr. Freeman continues,
"Growing up in Oregon County, MO, I always had a curiosity
about Oregon the state and having visited Hood River pre-
viously, the answer seemed clear. It was an appealing place
to start a family, with its small-town vibe and multitude of
recreational activities." Now, more than 11 years later, nei-
ther one of them regrets the move. If you ask Dr. Freeman
to describe how he feels about where they've ended up, you
can see the excitement dance around in his eyes: "Oregon has
so much to offer. Where I live I am five minutes from kiting
on the river. My family and I can find world-class mountain
biking or road biking in less than five minutes, be on Mount
Hood snow skiing in 30 minutes, and my commute to work
is less than two minutes from home."
Interdisciplinary - Working Together for the Best Results
The patient's chief complaint was a loose filling on a lower
incisor. During comprehensive examination it was evident that
a collapsing worn occlusion existed, and #6 bridge retainer was
nonrestorable. This prompted further study with diagnostic
mode ls, occlusal analysis, radiographs and a full periodontal
assessment in order to formulate treatment options.
Being aware of the procedures available by the various
disciplines in dentistry certainly broadens the scope of what is
possible in treating our patients today.
Calling upon the knowledge Dr. Freeman gained through
Dr. Peter Dawson's courses and the two textbooks he read of
his, the latest being Functional Occlusion from TMJ to Smile
Design by Mosby, he found that it really makes treatment
planning and restoring these type of cases fun. Diagnostic
waxing all of his own cases allows him to learn most of the
idiosyncrasies and nuances of the case beforehand. In this
patient's case, the wax-up was helpful to evaluate the amount
of vertical opening needed for sufficient interocclusal space,
occlusal plane and guidance changes, placement of implant
and gingival margin locations.
The patient's anterior teeth positions, vertical and guidance
were worked out in provisional restorations. Dr. Freeman
likes to tell patients that these "temporaries" are really
"prototypes" of the final restorations and are used to guide the
dental laboratory so there are no surprises regarding esthetics
and function when the teeth return from the lab. A SO PA
(Simplified Occlusal Plane Analyzer) was used to correct the
posterior occlusal planes.
Growing up in Oregon County, MO, I always had a curiosity about Oregon the state and having visited Hood River previously, the answer seemed clear. It was an appealing place to start a family with its small-town vibe and multitude of recreational activities.
THE PROGRESSION OF HIS PROFESSION The passion Dr. Freeman feels about his home and his
surroundings also spills over into his dental work. But it
wasn't always so. After graduation in 1983, he immediately
became an associate in a dental practice for about 18 months,
and then became a partner w ith the sam e practice in Kansas
City, MO. H e loved his profession, but he started realizing
that there w ere a lot of unanswered questions . He was often
left wondering why his patients were having the problem s
they were having; why teeth w er e worn; why they had jaw
pain; why some restorations w ere failing; why the patient
is saying their bite is uncomfortable. Sure, he could fix the
existing problems, but he wanted to know more about the
root causes. Going back, he remembers thinking, "I was
realizing that the education I got in dental school was ver y
fundamental and there was a lot more to learn." He had heard
of Peter Dawson