Where does my staff fit into complete dentistry? Well, they fit in every step of the process. A strong and supportive team is the key to a sustainable practice.
How can the position of teeth affect function? I almost want to approach that backwards and say, "How can the position of teeth NOT affect function?"
The position of teeth is important for speaking and for enunciating sounds like our S sounds or F sounds.
The incisal edge determines how we enunciate. The incisal edge position dictates where the teeth hit on the lower lip so we can enunciate an F sound properly. If the teeth are too far apart or bumping into each other, you cannot make the F or S sounds properly, like the little kid who's lost his front teeth and wants them for Christmas. The position of the teeth affect not only our speaking, but it affects how we chew.
The position of teeth affects how we swallow and breathe.
The position of the teeth erupt into the mouth in the neutral zone, in the corridor that is dictated by the inward and outward functions of the muscles and the tongue.
Load testing is a crucial part of our complete examinations. I approach my patients the way that Dr. Dawson taught us.
Romance the mandible.
So to get to be able to romance the mandible, I relax my patient. I have them lean back. I talk in a very soft voice and I ask them to pretend like they're falling asleep, watching TV, with their mouth open. This gets me half of the way there.
Getting patients to own their own problems can be very challenging.
I find that in my office what has worked best for me is showing them photographs.
When I show photographs of the patient, I let them ingest what they are seeing on a photograph for maybe a few seconds before I start talking about what I am seeing. And sometimes I will actually ask them what they are seeing.
Equilibration is one of the most fun and valuable procedures I can do in my office for my patients. I tell my staff all the time that if you want to have me as happy as I can be, fill the day with equilibrations. But finalizing an equilibration is also very crucial.
It can take a little bit of time to do. But most of the time, I will set aside about an hour to hour and a half for my equilibration, and I follow that up about 2 weeks later with a 1/2 hour appointment and then another 2 weeks later, if necessary, for about a 15 to 20 minute appointment.
Training your front desk on complete dentistry is vital to making complete dentistry work in your office. It is maybe not so practical for us to bring all of our teams and our staff to every single talk and course that we take. However, if you can come back and have an office meeting after the courses, even for maybe a 1/2 an hour, reviewing the general principles of what we have been taught at The Dawson Academy, I think that will go a long way with your front desk understanding why we are doing what we are doing.
15 years ago, I thought the most important tool in my office was my X-ray unit. It allowed me to diagnose and treat patients. I never thought that I would say, at that time, that my camera is the most important instrument that I have in my office.
People always ask me about classifications of TMJ disorders and where I find somebody can be treated and where they cannot be treated, when we have to consider splint therapy and other avenues of treatment of the joint.