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How frequently and when do you use your Doppler?

This video is an excerpt from the April 2015 Dawson Faculty Office Hours with Drs. Leonard Hess and Rajeev Upadya. To watch the full office hours and to sign up for future office hours, visit the Videos and Webinars page

The following is a transcription of this video excerpt. 

Lenny: In my practice the doppler is one of the most indespensable tools I use. Those of you that have heard me teach at The Academy have heard me say that if you took the doppler away from me, I wouldn't be able to practice the way I practice. What the doppler does for me is give me peace of mind.

If we think back to the Examination and Records course, we spend so much time talking about how do we classify whether the joint is "red," "yellow" or "green." Remember, we don't want to get in there and begin doing dentistry on a patient with "red" joints. "Red" joints are not stable joints. Anything we do with the occlusion or restoratively to a patient with "red" joints will not be stable long term. 

The great thing about the doppler is that you can't fool it. If you use this instrument correctly, it is a VERY predictable and efficient way to be able to diagnose the condition of the medial pole and the lateral pole.

So how frequently do I use it?

I use it all the time. I used it today. I would say I use it almost every single day in my practice. It certainly gets used in the complete examination because there is certainly a warrent for evaluating the joint structures. That's when we use the doppler; we basically use the doppler on every patient that comes in the door and any existing patient that transitions from general dentistry side to specialty patient side.  

The thing I'll tell you about the doppler is that it is such a wonderfully cost effective and efficient thing to buy. In dentistry we're used to sales people telling us, "Well geez, doctor, it's only $5000. I don't see why you're not buying this right away." The doppler is just a little over $1000 and I've been using mine now for I think about 13 years and it still works great every day. It is the most useful bang for your buck when it comes to giving peace of mind while diagnosing joint condition.

Raj: I use mine literally every day, as well, and I absolutely love it. Using it is very simple once you've learned how to use it and practiced a few times.

My patients love it also because it's almost like a co-diagnostic tool.

I tell my patients I'm basically doing an ultrasound of their joint, we're going to be listening to your joint sounds and see if we hear any breakdowns in the TMJ.  First of all, they're just amazed that I'm doing this. And when I tell them you aren't actually supposed to hear anything while they open and close and the patient and I hear and/or feel the click, popping or crepitus, it is such an eye opening experience. Whether they already knew about the problem before or it's a new thing, you can't fool it. It is amazing how much information the patient gets from it. Also, I might bring it out on an emergency patient too.

The doppler is an amazing tool and we use it in our office all the time. 

Note: If you're looking to buy a doppler, We recommend the doppler sold by Great Lakes Orthodontics.

How to Effectively Communicate with Dental Patients

Leonard Hess, D.D.S. is a senior faculty member at The Dawson Academy, joining the faculty in 2009. He owns Union County Center for Comprehensive Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he practices full time in addition to teaching continuing education courses all around the world.