When dealing with a symptomatic or a suspected TMD patient, we want to follow a series of protocols, no different, really, than we deal with most of our patients.
As we deal with our functional interdisciplinary team, one of the most important and probably difficult specialists for you is going to be your orthodontist, and communicating with the orthodontist can be a bit of a problem.
First off, if you can find an orthodontist that actually believes in function and joint position, you're ahead of the game because it makes it much easier for you.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we're not going to have an orthodontist that believes in those principles, so we're going to have to kind of do some of the work for them.
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When we're treatment planning, we like to utilize what we call the WIDIOM rule. Would I Do It On Me?
This process of complete dentistry isn't about doing the most restorations on a patient. It's doing the least amount of dentistry to solve all of the patient's functional and aesthetic issues.
The complete examination is probably one of the most important things you can do as we go through this process of complete dentistry. It's where you're going to make all the treatment decisions from, it's where we're going to identify what the problems are, whether they're functional, bacterial, or aesthetic.
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Tooth decay, periodontal disease, endodontic issues, tooth wear, mobility, migration, muscle soreness, TMD and esthetic issues are a few of the potential problems facing our patients.
Despite the desire to correct the patient’s problems with the least amount of dentistry, oftentimes extensive dentistry is required. Unfortunately, due to financial restrictions patients may be unable to get the needed treatment.
Following a systematic approach to complete care, including the patient in a discussion of problems and solutions, addressing financial needs and creating a patient centered treatment plan is the key to success. Even a patient with extensive treatment needs may be able to get the care they required.
Dr. Dawson said in a recent article, "Occlusion is the foundation for everything a dentist does that involves teeth. A thorough knowledge of occlusion is the basis for understanding why teeth get loose, why they wear excessively, break cusps, fracture restorations, or shift position."
In this video featured by Dental Products Report, Dr. Andrew Cobb goes over how dental treatment planning can sometimes be more complicated than expected. He shares the secret to avoiding failed treatment plans and to providing beautiful, predictable restorations.
“It is at this point that the frustration began. I knew what I wanted for my patients. I knew what complete dentistry had to offer. I knew how to get exquisite models and photos of my patients as part of a thorough and complete examination. I did NOT know what to do with all of this information. My thoughts started to be of the blissful days when I was ignorant of what I now knew.
Practice Development GuidanceThe Dawson Academy created a lifelong ambassador of me at this point. I contacted Dr. Cobb with my frustration and he spent time encouraging me to find joy in the process and to relax and let my knowledge evolve. Sallie Bussey at The Academy was also a great help to me. She was always my contact person and I felt comfortable asking for her help. Sallie put me in touch with a Dawson Alumni in a town of similar size and demographics about 50 miles from my home. Dr. Sam Pominville was open and encouraging and has helped me through the rough spots in implementing what I have learned at the Dawson Academy.
My journey has continued with the Treatment Planning, Equilibration, and Restoring Anterior Teeth courses over the past year and a half. Each class reinforced the skills from those that preceded it and has added to my comfort and joy in practicing complete dentistry. Implementation of the systematic approach that The Dawson Academy teaches has been the most difficult aspect of my Dawson Academy journey. Relating my knowledge to my staff and creating an atmosphere of education for patients such that everyone on my team is congruent with the message has been a distinct challenge, while at the same time being exceedingly rewarding. The Dawson Academy realizes that their mission is to provide students with knowledge AND to support them in the implementation of that knowledge.
Why I Took Dental Courses with The Dawson AcademyWhy did I choose the Dawson Academy? I chose the Dawson Academy on a lark. I have become a loyal devotee of their approach to complete care and the people that comprise their institution simply because they have shown devotion to making me the best dentist I am willing to become."
A Note from Dr. CobbI want to thank Nick for sharing his story with us. I know that at The Dawson Academy the entire faculty and staff wish Nick and all of the doctors who proceed on the journey to complete care with us great success. If we were to talk to other dentists who have been touched by Dr. Dawson’s teachings and the curriculum at The Academy, there would be thousands of other stories just like Dr. Gardner’s. In fact, my story would be one of the many.
We know that the philosophies and processes we teach work and that, as Dr. Finlay wrote, “the understanding, skills and protocols that you will master as a student in the core curriculum will improve your efficiency, productivity and profitability as a dentist.”
We wish you all great success!
In an earlier posting in response to a student question Dr. Scott Finlay, one of our lead faculty, wrote “ The philosophies that are the core of the Dawson Academy are not about practicing a different kind of dentistry, but practicing better, more predictable, complete care for your patients. The understanding, skills and protocols that you will master as a student in the core curriculum will improve your efficiency, productivity and profitability as a dentist”
At the Dawson Academy this is our goal for each and every student who begins their journey with us. We know that our success is your success. The core curriculum has been modified over the past two years to make this journey easier. We know that if you follow the process we teach, that your success will also follow. It sounds easy enough but we also know that any change can be a difficult thing to achieve.
I thought it would be beneficial to hear the story of one of our doctors who has started his path to complete dentistry. Over the past few years I have had the great pleasure and honor of meeting and working with many great dentists while teaching at The Dawson Academy. One of those doctors is Dr. Nicholas Gardner. I first met Nick as when he took “Comprehensive Exam and Records” a little over a year ago.
In the next two Blogs we’ll hear Nick’s story in his own words. Why did he choose the Dawson Academy? What are his challenges? Is he beginning to see the benefits?
Nick’s Journey in His Dental Continuing Education
“The flier was on my desk, Functional Occlusion from TMJ to Smile Design, St. Pete Beach Florida in May. The tuition was right; it had been a long cold winter here on the Canadian Border of New York State, some sunny warmth sounded right. I went to Dr. Dawson’s lecture on a whim and returned home having registered for the first hands on dental course, completely dumbfounded at the possibilities of making my practice of dentistry more predictable and complete.
I spent the entire 20 hours of that first lecture sitting in the front of the room, focused on what was being shared with us. The concept of complete dentistry made sense. It was the way I wanted to treat my patients. I did indeed see the need for a “go to” dentist in every town; I was surely not that dentist.
The time lag between that first lecture and Comprehensive Exam and Records felt like an eternity. My need to learn more of Dr. Dawson’s philosophy prompted me to purchase his textbook. I read the book nearly every night from the time I received it until the Records course.
I was finding two to six patients a day that had signs of disharmony in their masticatory system, from worn and loose teeth to tender muscle to formerly inexplicable loss of the periodontium. This Dr. Dawson fellow really knew what he was talking about.
Hands On Dental Course
After my few months of anxious waiting, the time had come for me to start the hands on curriculum in Chesapeake, Virginia with Drs. Drew Cobb and Lenny Hess instructing our group. The Dawson Academy staff and instructors were very welcoming and helpful. The Schafer’s at Bay View Dental Lab were great hosts.
Long days of lecture, clinical application of skills and laboratory work seemed to pass rapidly. Some of the skills seemed very natural while others were difficult. All of us had the full attention and time of Drs. Cobb and Hess. They worked with us until we felt comfortable enough to implement these skills without them standing beside us.
My excitement to return to practice with this set of skills far exceeded the original excitement of simply gaining the knowledge of Complete Dentistry as a concept.”
To read part 2, click here.
My Dad always used to say, “If you are going to do something, do it right”. I think many of us came to The Dawson Academy like I did to “do it right”. We started by taking the core curriculum lecture and hands-on courses and followed those with more topic specific courses. We proceeded along our journey to provide our patients with the best possible long lasting dental care, but getting to that point is not always as easy as we’d like.
Unfortunately, it is easy to get sidetracked along the way and loose sight of the end result. It is not that we don’t want to do things the right way, it can just become difficult and confusing. It is not enough to just take courses, the key to success is putting into practice what we have learned. If not, nothing will change.
Four basic core principles to “doing it right”