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The Big Win: Interdisciplinary Teams Using Complete Dentistry

Interdisciplinary teamsBy Dr. Neeraj Khanna, DDS

One of the greatest rewards about practicing “complete dentistry” is that we have the ability to take “complete” control of our patient’s care from start to finish. Complete dentistry requires us to examine our patient’s masticatory system as a functioning unit. This is much like a quarterback who looks at the entire field before making the right play for his/her team. The end goal is to score a touchdown or in our world a touchdown for our patient’s care.

There are times our comprehensive approach to patient care may involve other “team” members such as an Orthodontist, Oral Surgeon, or a Periodontist. These specialists become part of the “team” that enables us to reach the “end zone” for our patients. In order to get there, the complete dentist needs to act as quarterback on behalf of his or her patient. When we know the desired final outcome, we can guide our specialist and “call a play” that will help our patients reach their goal. That desired outcome is optimal function, esthetics and comfort.

Like most successful quarterbacks, their ability to communicate with their teammates is what separates great teams from average ones. We are no different. Our ability to communicate to our specialists is what separates great practices from average ones. Specialists that I work with tell me that the most rewarding and enjoyable cases they like treating are the ones where the referring dentist (complete dentist) knows what they need from them. In other words, the specialist is guided to the final outcome. What makes it more rewarding to them is that they contributed to the final outcome and became an integral team member. This in turn gives the patient more confidence that the referring doctor is able to take responsibility of the final outcome.

The interdisciplinary approach to patient care is the most valuable and always puts our patient’s best interest first. As complete dentists, we are specialists in the understanding of the masticatory system. Working closely with other specialists who understand this approach creates a very unique and winning team in the community. That means scoring as many touchdowns as possible for our patients!

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Neeraj Khanna, D.D.S. is a senior faculty member and study club leader at The Dawson Academy. Dr. Khanna also owns his own practice, Khanna Dentistry, in Geneva, Illinois, which provides comprehensive dental services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry.