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How to simplify dental treatment planning

Treatment planning is absolutely key to what we do. We take care of our patients with treatment planning, and the better that we can treatment plan for that patient, the better the outcome, the happier the patient, the happier we are.

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Start with a roadmap keeping the end in mind

You'd never get in a car and just start driving without knowing your destination. A lot of people will plan along the way, or at least plug in some coordinates on your GPS, to get the road started. So when we're looking at treatment planning for our patients, we want to create that blueprint and we want to do it in a systematic way that's going to allow us to make sense of all the information that we've gathered.

Use the best tools you can

So one of the best ways to do that is with a Dawson Diagnostic Wizard, which is the best way that I personally have found, bar none, to take even the most complex patients or even a straightforward case and to start looking at it from a perspective of global, then to macro and micro. Meaning, global, we want to look at the face and the airway. Are there skeletal problems? Is there an airway issue that we need to have evaluated? And then we start getting into what's actually going on with the esthetics and the facial planes. And then we start getting in to the nitty gritty, and we start looking at the esthetics: tooth angulations and things like that.

Checklists build confidence and minimize failure

But we do it in an order that makes sense so that you don't get overwhelmed, but you also don't miss any information. You make sure all your i's are dotted, your t's are crossed, and that the patient's going to receive the best care. The other great thing about doing this through checklists is, after you've worked through the case with what we call a 2D and 3D checklist, then you actually can sit down and talk to patients about options because you've seen the case several different ways.

So I really highly encourage you to utilize the wizard. It makes everything, by far, more simple.

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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.