When we look at photography in our practice, it is perhaps the single most important thing we do these days. When I speak to my patients about it, we are talking about using photography first of all in records, so we know how they are today. It also allows them to see what I can see, because most patients have never seen their mouth the way we see when we examine them.
At The Dawson Academy, we teach you all a system of how to practice, starting from a new patient exam and all the way through prep and delivery. So, for example, the new patient exam.
Digital photography is an integral part of my diagnosis and treatment planning. It is also an integral part of The Dawson Academy philosophy. Knowing how to introduce digital photography to your team will ensure that they will know how to properly take photos that can be used during the diagnosis and treatment planning stage.
Properly loading the joints tells you several things about the root cause of some patients' problems. This will also determine how functio nally stable the patients is. Let's start with the first item.
So when you're trying to decide if your patients have an internal derangement or an occlusal muscle problem, how do we go about doing that?
First part is the screening questions you ask before you start to testing.
So one of the problems that I face in my practice is how do I talk about all these things, the signs of instability and the requirements of a stable occlusion, in a hygiene visit? And I used to try. And I would watch my patient's eyes kind of glaze over and I was feeling the pressure from my hygienist. She's like, "Hey, hurry up. We've got to stay on time."
And I realized I have to do something different here because they weren't accepting to come back to do their bite analysis or their smile analysis. Most people would get up there and be like, "No, I'll just see you again for the next hygiene."
So the diagnostic wax-up, why are they so valuable? Why do they make dentistry better?
Well, I don't know how you do any form of dentistry, especially reconstructive type dentistry, complete dentistry, without doing a diagnostic wax-up.
For me, the complete exam is the best way for patients to appreciate and obtain the best dental care, as well as the benefit of getting the least amount of dentistry.
So why do we use an articulator?
When we are trying to work out models two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally, what are the correct solutions for our patient? And simply it is just a mechanical device that gives us a way to be able to observe and work out what is actually happening in our patients.
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.