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Why Your 15 Minute New Patient Exam is Not Enough

How to Perform 15 Minute Dental ExamOver the years I have heard many objections to doing a complete exam like we teach in our courses. Dentists say they don’t have enough time, patients won’t agree to it, it costs too much and so on. What I tell those dentists and what I’m about to tell you is that you can’t afford NOT to do a complete exam.

Here’s why.

When I first began my career, I bought an existing practice from a retiring dentist in my area. Initially I was nervous about doing full work-ups on the patients of record. What Pete said to me was, "Well John, why don't you do this? Why don't you have a fee - a fair fee - for your new patients, but the patients of record that need to have a complete exam, why don't you take two a week and use it for goodwill?" I did exactly that and saw my practice triple. I had all these older patients that had big fillings in their teeth and had never really been looked at.

There was such an opportunity that I would have never discovered without doing complete exams.

As I was mounting models, I was able to look at these cases fully and make complete treatment plans. Some accepted it and some of them waited, but little by little every patient got taken care of. I created a reputation in Portsmouth, Virginia as being this new young dentist who was more thorough than anybody else in town. And it completely transformed my career. There was nothing more important than that exam.

What I would tell you is, the way you create a great reputation for yourself and your practice is by making great diagnoses, making great treatment plans, connecting with people and trying to figure out how to do optimum dentistry (even sometimes on a budget). But we can't make those determinations unless we have the basic data – the information we find from a complete exam.

Doing complete exams give you all the data necessary to:

Without doing a complete exam, not only will you struggle with all those things, you will likely experience failures, remakes and frustration.

If I had to do complete exams for free the rest of my life, I would do it in a heartbeat because the amount of money we get paid for the examination is a drop in a bucket compared to the opportunity we have by making complete treatment plans.

For help performing a complete examination and taking accurate records, consider attending our course, Examination and Records and purchasing our instructional videos on Dawson-on-Demand.

Photo Credit: purplemattfish via Compfight cc

Why Occlusal Wear is Commonly Ignored

John C. Cranham, DDS has an esthetic oriented practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. An honors graduate of the Medical College of Virginia in 1988, Dr. Cranham maintains a strong relationship with his alma mater as an Associate Clinical Professor. He is an internationally recognized speaker on the Esthetic Principles of Dentistry, Contemporary Occlusal Concepts, Treatment Planning, Restoration Selection, Digital Photography, Laboratory Communication, and Happiness and Fulfillment in dentistry. As a published author, Dr. Cranham has a strong commitment to developing sound educational programs that exceed the needs of today’s dental professional. He is an active member of numerous professional organizations including the American Dental Association, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, The American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and The American Equilibration Society. Dr. Cranham is co-chair of Advanstar Dental Media’s CE Advisory Board (Advanstar is the publisher of Dental Products Report). Dr. Cranham is the Clinical Director of The Dawson Academy where he is involved with many of the lecture and hands-on courses within the curriculum. As an active educator, he has provided over 650 days of continuing education for dental professionals throughout the world.