How do you build confidence in treating more difficult cases? This question comes up many times during our curriculum, and in many occasions during our teachings, we talk about the process of going from consciously competent to the process of becoming unconsciously competent.
I often compare the experience of patients coming in to our office and being told that they need to have work done to the experience of us taking our car in to be serviced and they tell us that we need new brakes.
One of the most important things that we have learned from Dr. Dawson over the years is the importance of diagnosis. One of my other great mentors, Dr. Henry Gremillion also talked about the 3 most important D's in dentistry: diagnosis, diagnosis, diagnosis.
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.