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Questions you should be asking your specialists and lab technicians.

Questions for your dental specialists

As general dentists, we methodically work through a patient’s problem list, taking patient specific wants and needs into consideration, to create a roadmap for optimum oral health.  Together with the help of our patient and our team, we strive to create a masterpiece that, once completed, restores our patient back to health—physically and emotionally.  

As dentists, we are always striving to better our clinical skills and our ability to deliver high quality care through hours of continuing dental education. Yet, for many of us, we do not spend enough time nurturing our team relationships.  I am not speaking of only our staff, but also our lab technicians and referring specialists.  

When was the last time you and your technician/specialist sat down—one on one?

Opening a dialog and improving communication will allow us to better treatment plan, as we will have a better understanding of what exactly each team member can deliver.  You will be able to visualize and wax up cases with more certainty; improve your referral process to your specialist; and approach the treatment plan presentation appointment with more confident than ever knowing that your team is capable of producing your desired outcomes.  That is a huge step to predictable dentistry.

When you are going through your schedule for the year, pencil in some update time with your technicians and specialists.  To be efficient, go in with an agenda, and provide each with a list of 3-4 questions ahead of time. Listen. Learn.

Here are some handy conversation starters for you to use with your technician or specialist:

  • Update one another on new materials or procedures offered. 

  • Gain a better understanding of what services each person has to offer patient care.

  • What materials and procedures work best in his/her hands to result in the best clinical outcome? 

  • What can be done predictably, and what are the limitations?  

Picture of Dr. Shannon Johnson

Shannon Johnson, DMD is an associate faculty member at the Dawson Academy. She also leads two Dawson Study Clubs and teaches the Core Curriculum. Dr. Johnson owns and operates her practice in Louisville, KY.