Dentistry as art

Patients walk into your office with varying esthetic wants and needs, and you have to find a way to meet them. The thought-leaders who made up Friday’s “The Fine Art of Esthetic Dentistry” panel offered plenty of insight to help get you there, from improved communication to understanding and preventing failure.

Dr. Ronald Goldstein served as the moderator while Drs. Jim Dunn, Ed McLaren, Marcos Vargas, Stephen Chu and Peter Pizzi, CDT, sat on the panel.

Dr. Dunn kicked off the discussion with his thoughts on meeting esthetic demands conservatively. Communication—whether it’s with patients, lab technicians, or specialists—is among the keys to making that happen.

One of the best ways to communicate is visually, Dr. Dunn said, making photos a vital part of your practice. The ability to write on the photos takes that communication to another level and increases patient understanding.

“This kind of communication is essential,” he said. “We find that patients respond when it’s interactive.”

The esthetic conversation continued with Dr. Vargas, who used his time to talk about how to create a restoration that no one else can see. He talked about how to make accurate shade selection and cavity preparation and the importance of matching replacing dentin with dentin-like material and replacing enamel with enamel-like material.

“I believe that when you do restorations, they can defy detection,” he said.

Peter Pizzi, CDT, MDT, took the stage next, where he emphasized the importance of effective communication within the dental team. He also listed quality photos as one way to achieve that communication.

Dental team members need to create a system to help make them better at what they do, he said, and he illustrated his point on the big screens with a t-shirt folding video. The woman on the screen folded that shirt in three quick movements.

“In one small, quick system they’ve accomplished something cool,” Pizzi said. “It’s systematic. How do we take that system and apply it to what we do?”

Dr. Chu offered his thoughts on predictable diagnosis and treatment of clinical crown and gingival architecture discrepancies in the aesthetic zone. It’s all about size, he said, and recognizing that it’s different with different patients.

“It’s putting the whole package together,” he said. “It’s selecting the right sized tooth. Dentists have the ability to be artists, but also can be architects.”

The presentations ended with Dr. McLaren, who talked about all-ceramic systems and how to understand and prevent failure.

Clinicians need to set standards so they know when something has failed, he said. He listed common situations that lead to failure, including porosity and processing defects.

The discussion ended with plenty of questions from the audience. One attendee asked the panel to pick one high-tech item that they consider a must have. Digital radiography, an imaging system, a digital camera and diode lasers were among the panelists’ favorite tools.

~ by cwaring on May 17, 2008.

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