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Associates: Implement Complete Care in a Non-Dawson Practice

When I started my Dawson training and my Dawson journey when I started going through the curriculum, I was actually an associate in a group practice. So I wanted to give you a couple of tips about how you can go back to your practice, a non-Dawson practice where you are an associate, and begin to implement some of the things that you are learning at The Academy.

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So the key is to get these patients into the complete exam and the complete treatment planning process.

During Hygiene Appointments

So a couple of routes that I found is, a lot of these patients, you are going be doing their periodic exam in the hygienist's room. And so I went back and was sure to train the hygienist on how to look for signs of occlusal instability like:

  • Wear
  • Migration
  • Mobility
  • Broken teeth.

And it is very helpful if they have an intraoral camera and can actually take pictures of these signs that they are seeing in the mouth before you come into the operatory. But if you do not have intraoral cameras, you can always use a good old hand mirror.

So you can actually pick up the hand mirror and show the patient some of the things that you are seeings, these signs of occlusal instabilty. And they taught us a simple phrase, when I was first going through the courses at The Academy, to say. "I am seeing some things in your mouth that I am concerned about that is showing us that there are signs that your bite is not stable and that, in fact, it is actually doing harm to your existing teeth. So I would like to have you back in and take a closer look at these areas and see how we could treat what might be causing these problems and give you some options for how to move forward."

So in the hygiene room is a great way, as an associate, to start implementing some of these principles.

During Procedures

And then, also, you will have people that will come into your operatory, maybe for a procedure just to have some simple fillings done. Or it may be that they actually have a broken tooth, or a crown that is broken, or veneer that is broken or come off, or even some chipped bonding.

And these are great opportunities to talk to them. And you can simply say, "We know a lot more about the bite relationship and how the bite relationship contributes to some of these problems that you are having than we knew a few years ago. And so I would like to give you an opportunity to come back in and let us take a closer look at your bite."

And I like to use the analogy of tires on the car and tell the patients that if we are going put a new tire on the car, we want to make sure that it is in balance with all the other tires. That way it lasts as long as possible, and you do not have any unexpected blowouts. And the patients can understand this analogy really well.

And if they understand that it is going to help them to make their dentistry last longer and prevent future problems like the one that they may be coming in to see you for now, then it is a great way to begin to get these patients into that complete exam process and be able to give them a complete treatment plan.

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Picture of Dr. Angie Gribble-Hedlund

Dr. Angela Gribble Hedlund is an associate faculty member. She has practiced dentistry in Atlanta since 1994 and lectures on esthetic dentistry. She has received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry; this is an honor held by fewer than 2% of dentists in the country.