It was an honour for me to present at the Frontier Dental Institute last month on behalf of my team. Frontier Dental Institute is a post-graduate dental education organization offering world-class programming. As part of annual activities, they often invite guest lecturers who are leaders in their field to share their knowledge and expertise with the community of Vancouver dentists.
As part of my keynote presentation, I shared what I have implemented as my dental clinic’s best practice for patient care. Here are the 4 main takeaways:
1. To drill or not to drill! Every dentist knows how to drill a tooth, the real key in becoming a great aesthetic dentist is to know where not to drill a tooth! The goal is to provide our patients with a whiter, brighter smile while removing as little tooth structure as required. I lectured on how to minimize tooth structure removal during preparation – since the more tooth structure remaining, the stronger the veneers are.
2. Take the time to treatment plan a case properly so the outcome is more predictable. An emphasis was placed on practicing a step by step approach for optimal treatment. This is the approach that we follow in our office. First we book our patient for a pre-smile makeover appointment to take study models and pictures. From these models and pictures we begin to design the new teeth shape and size in conjunction with our lab. We use this mock up of the teeth as our temporaries for our patient after they come in to get their teeth prepared and before the final set are made. Unlike other cosmetic surgeries, in cosmetic dentistry the patient can actually “test drive” their new set of teeth and have input in any changes that they would like!
3. Bedside manner begins the moment our patients enter clinic. This is regarding how admin staff and dental hygienists need to be aware that every patient has personal needs and concerns. Being sensitive to individual needs during a visit dramatically improves patient experience and the perception that they have of our ability to care for them.
4. We value team communication. It’s important to have an effective lab to work with and procedures that are routinely discussed and role-modeled so that everyone is on the same page. That same importance of communication also applies to patient communications. The whole team is responsible for making sure that the person in the chair knows what’s going on at all times.