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Continuing Dental Education in Esthetic Restorative Dentistry

dental treatment planDue in part to interest created by popular television series promoting "the smile make-over", as well as numerous magazine articles and advertisements about smile design, increased patient awareness of cosmetic dental procedures has significantly increased production revenues of dental practices. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, many patients today are willing to spend between $5,000 and $20,000 for cosmetic dentistry. As the desire for the perfect smile drives this ongoing cosmetic dentistry craze, dentists have the opportunity to provide patients with restorations they not only desire, but actually need. And, thankfully, today's esthetic restorative dentistry is moving away from the quick-fix approach to one focused on comprehensive treatment planning.

For example, experts in comprehensive esthetic restorative dentistry, including Harald Heymann, DDS, MEd, who has been cited in the literature, feel that what is best for patients are procedures resulting in the least removal of tooth structure and involve an interdisciplinary approach. By including orthodontic and periodontal therapies, dentists can achieve the best in function and esthetics in the restorative treatments they provide. Unfortunately, although dental schools emphasize thorough evaluations and individualized treatments, strict time constraints and oversaturated curricula mean esthetic restorative care is taught in its simplest form. Advanced continuing dental education courses, however, combine the application of today's most proven esthetic materials and beneficial technologies with comprehensive knowledge of oral function, which are key to treatment success and longevity.  In particular, dental continuing education courses refine the dentist's skills for accurately diagnosing and treating a patient’s entire oral condition, which is essential for providing only the best in function and esthetics.

At The Dawson Academy, graduates of the program demonstrate skills beyond merely choosing the most appropriate advanced materials and innovative techniques for their patient's comprehensive esthetic restorative treatment.  By pursuing mastership of “The Concept of Complete Dentistry”,  they become master diagnosticians who thoroughly resolve dental problems in the most esthetic, functional, and conservative fashion. Incorporating this training into their practice ultimately saves their patients from years of pain, suffering, and extensive costs for repeated dental work, and it provides the dentists themselves with years of personal and professional satisfaction. Taking a comprehensive approach to esthetic restorative dentistry requires thorough diagnosis, individualized assessments, and candid discussion with patients. Experts such as James Dunn, DDS, who was cited in the May 2006 issue of Inside Dentistry, suggest that in smile make-over cases, dentists must remember that they are still biologists and physicians of the mouth. If wear or periodontal problems are discovered, they need to inform patients of the risks of non-treatment.

For this reason, dental continuing education centers like The Dawson Academy teach a systematic approach to treatment planning and the many treatment options available. To achieve the best results, factors including case specifics, patient finances, patient desires, and restoration longevity are taken into consideration.  By taking a hands-on and interdisciplinary approach, The Dawson Academy emphasizes that comprehensive esthetic restorative dentistry is about more than making teeth look esthetic, but corrects functional issues, also.
Low Volume and Greater Satisfaction: Key Concepts at  The Dawson Academy

Dentists typically struggle to master the business and marketing aspects of their practice and rely on professional seminars, doctor study clubs and associations, and the internet for information.  Because of oversaturated curricula, dental schools find it difficult to quantify successful practice building, despite the fact that it is essential for a dentist's personal and professional growth. Therefore, it is not enough for dental students and practitioners to understand dental medicine.  They must become small business owners capable of balancing treatment planning, patient scheduling, and the concept of complete dentistry – a combination gaining prominence among better continuing dental education programs.

For this reason, the continuing dental education programs at The Dawson Academy go beyond teaching clinical skills and focus on helping dentists enhance their practice to best satisfy overall patient expectations. As a result, graduates of The Dawson Academy return to the daily practice of dentistry experiencing less stress, less frustration, and a sense of satisfaction in their chosen profession. According to Roger Levin, DDS, Chairman and Founder of Levin Group who is cited in the November/December 2008 issue of Inside Dentistry, emphasizing the value of dentistry versus the cost of dentistry is key to enhancing a patient's experience.  Additionally, educating patients about oral care issues encourages them to come back regularly to the practice.

Such an approach is akin to the comprehensive, complete dentistry taught at The Dawson Academy, where dentists become master diagnosticians capable of completely diagnosing and solving dental problems. These masticatory physicians receive quality referrals not only from current patients, but also from colleagues. In addition, they are skilled in sequencing and segmenting treatment plans for greater case acceptance, which enables them to see a lower volume of patients who require more comprehensive, ongoing care. Levin, whose business is dedicated to helping dentists implement efficient systems within their dental offices, has commented that his clients experience success in their practices by offering segmented plans that enable patients to undergo phased treatment. This allows the dentist to present comprehensive treatment plans in segments that are more affordable and manageable by the patient. When the cost is broken down or spread out, patients are more willing to undergo some treatment over time, rather than declining the entire treatment plan.

The Dawson Academy philosophy of dental practice is the cornerstone of winning strategies that ultimately lead to the desired balance between work and life, fulfillment from the profession, and a successful dental practice. Complete Dentists who see a lower volume of patients have lower practice overhead and a better net profit, which contributes to less stress and greater personal and professional satisfaction. In 2009—a time when the majority of dental practices saw fewer patients—many dentists who completed The Dawson Academy core curriculum experienced an increase in net profit compared to 2008!
To further enhance a graduate's ability to capitalize on the benefits of lower volume, The Dawson Academy Alumni Association provides practice-building promotions and tools to increase patient awareness of the significance of Complete Dentistry.