by John C. Cranham DDS
In a recent conversation with Dr. Dawson we stumbled upon a discussion of the various reasons that Dentistry fails. We quickly agreed that while poor clinical technique certainly accounts for some of the failures, the vast majority of cases that fall short of optimum care develop their problems during treatment planning. This can occur by visualizing improperly the end result, choosing the wrong option, or choosing a sequence that just didn’t work. Quite simply, “failing to plan, is planning to fail.”
This is why our core curriculum spends so much time on the gathering of optimum records and learning a programmed approach to treatment planning. Committing to a comprehensive examination process and learning the discipline of optimum treatment planning is the cornerstone of The Dawson Philosophy. When our students jump over this hurdle, we see the quality of their Dentistry and the quality of their lives dramatically improve
One of the interesting aspects of owning a practice that adheres to these principles is that as the business grows, so does the complexity of the cases that you attract. I am continually amazed at the kinds of cases that continue to find their way to our front door. They are all looking for the same thing: a solution to their problem. While the process of gathering the records, and treatment planning the case does not change, the actual treatment plan does change, which presents the need for increased creativity.
Dr. Dawson has preached the four options of treatment as the center of our treatment planning philosophy: Reshaping, Repositioning, Restoring and/or Repositioning Bone (Orthognathic). The goal is always to find the best way to do the least amount of Dentistry while solving the esthetic, functional, biologic and structural problems of the patient. While this is logical, what has astounded me over the last several years is how little I knew about many of the options that involved the dental specialists. This lack of knowledge is a huge problem because if the restorative dentist does not know all of the possibilities for the patient, then the treatment can and will fall short. This leads to the restorative dentist trying to solve a tooth position problem, a gingival position problem or an arch position problem with restorative dentistry alone. As I reflect on cases that have fallen short within my own career, this has generally been the case; I was simply unaware of how working with a specialist could have made the outcome of the case better.
My greatest professional joy over the last several years has been doing cases with Albert Konikoff (my Periodontist), Carl Roy (my Orthodontist), and Mike Maugeri (my Oral Surgeon). As our relationship has evolved we have become increasingly aware of the need to meet regularly. We currently meet for 2 hours after work once a month. This meeting allows us to discuss cases that are in various stages of treatment, treatment plan cases utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, and update each other on the latest advances in our area of expertise. The main purpose of our meetings is for us to have time for us to strengthen our personal and professional relationships and learn to think together as one team.
What is amazing is that the general dentists and the various specialties in Dentistry all have different goals. As the Restorative/General Dentist it is our job to know how ALL of these Dentists think. We need to know the specifics of all the procedures each of these specialists provide. As well as how to coordinate complex treatment plans involving multiple Dentists.
The purpose of our upcoming Interdisciplinary Treatment Planning course is to provide a retreat for Dawson students, to bring their specialists, and to immerse themselves into this process. The goal is to provide each team with the necessary information and framework for successful coordinated treatment planning. It is specifically designed for those of our students who have successfully implemented the Dawson principles and are currently attracting the kinds of cases that will require the assistance of like-minded specialist. This is a class Dr. Dawson is personally proud to have as our latest addition to our curriculum. We hope you will consider bringing your team and joining us for 3 great days in Virginia.