To ensure that we are providing optimal care, we must perform 3 critical steps to every case: the complete exam, well organized diagnostic records, and a comprehensive treatment plan.
The Complete Exam
The field of dentistry is evolving at such a quick rate, and encompassing more and more systemic health, that it is imperative to have checklist process for your complete exam. The Dawson Diagnostic Wizard provides a stepwise template to help us with the exam process. Starting with a complete dental history, the Wizard then leads us through examination of the muscles, joints, occlusion and lastly esthetics. It is important to notice that esthetic smile design falls as one of the last areas to evaluate, reminding us that “form follows function.” Equally important to understand is that, when performing an exam on our specialty patients we need to evaluate the entire masticatory system for weak links.
In addition to a systematic thorough exam process, we need to have very accurate diagnostic records. As Dr. Dawson has always said, “Every great treatment plan begins with a well organized records appointment.” Facebow mounted models with a confirmed centric bite is the cornerstone to accurate records. In addition, completing the Dawson 21 photo series with the appropriate camera set up, provides us the ability to create a predictable treatment plan.
Using all the collected diagnostic information, you can develop a 2D diagnosis and a 3D design in the Dawson Wizard. When creating a treatment plan we try to fulfill the 5 criteria of occlusal stability:
- Well balanced centric stops on all teeth
- Assuring the envelop of function is in absolute harmony with the anterior guidance
- Making sure posterior teeth disculde in protrusive movements
- Making sure balancing side contacts disclude in excursive movements
- Making sure working side contacts disclude in excursive movements.
Following the 3D design checklist and adhering to these 5 criteria will help provide a conservative, predictable treatment plan that will allow for long term stability and oral health.