Treatment Planning 2006 – The Concept of Complete Dentistry

by Elliot Mechanic, BSc, DDS

The magic combination of meticulous treatment planning together with a special chemistry between patient, dental team and lab technician, is usually common to our most successful cases!

In 2006, our pursuit of knowledge will continue to push the boundaries of what dental treatment can accomplish. Today’s dentist has a wealth of information available through sources such as live dental programs, hands on courses, the Internet, exceptional dental texts, and instructional DVDs.

Dr. Peter Dawson has long advocated the concept of “Complete Dentistry”, integrating dental and periodontal health with TMJ and muscular balance.

If we combine the aesthetic desires of today’s patient, the development of incredibly life like dental materials, and the knowledge and technology we have available to us, we establish a new standard of dental care.

Whereas, in the 1970s, dentists concentrated mainly on function and health, today’s dentistry focuses on total patient care.

It is imperative for the restorative dentist to analyze the patient’s overall oral condition and to have a clear picture of the result that they are trying to achieve before commencing any form of treatment. The restorative dentist must act as the coordinator between the different dental specialties and dental technicians. It is the restorative dentist that will be delivering the final restoration that the patient will have to live with and usually be the one having to bear the responsibility for the outcome of treatment.

All patients should experience a complete dental examination of the teeth, soft tissues, periodontal health, endodontic status, tooth position, gingival architecture, vertical dimension, aesthetic desires, and occlusal, TMJ, and muscular function of the oral cavity. The examining dentist should carefully listen to the desires of the patient but not be swayed by their point of view to compromise the outcome of the treatment.

Every patient should be presented with an analysis of their overall oral health and be presented with every option that today’s dentistry has to offer. Once a treatment plan has been established and accepted we must precede one step at a time, and not until each sequence of treatment is satisfied should we move onto the next. It is far better to have to redo and correct a procedure then to have to move on and attempt to repair a defect at a later stage of treatment. This is often not possible and will result in disappointment.

Complete dentistry should be the treatment objective for each and every patient! The dentist of 2006 should be constantly thinking “outside the box” working intensely, pushing the barriers of dentistry to new heights. By taking the attitude that we don’t know everything, we always manage to learn more!

Dr. Peter Dawson comments:

Congratulations on a fine summation. It is important to recognize that every patient has the right to a complete examination plus the information regarding the implications of every problem that is found. Anything less is incomplete dentistry.

Peter E. Dawson, DDS, is considered to be one of the most influential clinicians and teachers in the history of dentistry. He is the author of the all time best selling dental text, Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Occlusal Problems, which is published in 13 languages.

Dr. Elliot Mechanic practices aesthetic dentistry in Montreal, Canada. He received his Bachelor of Science (1975) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (1979) degrees from McGill University. Dr Mechanic is Editorial Board member, Cosmetics, for Oral Health Journal.