Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Associate's first blog

I am still on Vacation.
No movies, my stupid laptop will, for some reason, play movies.
We brought a bunch of movies to watch as a family and some for adults but now an error message comes up and won't let me play any video. I have 4 video players on my laptop and none of them work.
Have I told you I hate computers.

Anyways, we are having a very relaxing trip.

You all know that my father and I brought in an associate about 2 months ago.
It is so exciting to have a new dentist around. There are some challenges, as far as scheduling and what assistant is going to work with her. But we are working it out.
It has been a great experience so far.
I want you all to meet her so I asked her to write a blog.

It has been kind of crazy in my life so I am just going to put it in and you two talk.

“It Just Feels Right”

In 2006, Shelby called me to say hi. He went to dental school in Boston and had just graduated. He told me he was working on a case of multiple veneers. I asked him how he knew what he was doing (remembering that my University of Florida dental school education of veneers was minimal, and not until my General Practice residency did I actually do a veneer). He said he wasn’t exactly sure, but he just did “what feels right.” I guess that means he was just winging it and hopefully everything would turn out ok.

I’m not sure how Shelby’s case turned out, but I do think of him when I get in a situation where I’m not exactly sure what to do. Do I sometimes just do what feels right? Yeah, I think so. Given that dentistry isn’t a 100% clear cut science, sometimes that’s what you have to do. Clinical judgment isn’t something you learn much of in dental school. When you have professors there, you can just use their clinical judgment if you’re not sure. But what happens when you’re on your own?

Do you remove that last bit of decay, though you may expose the pulp, or leave it, hoping it will arrest? Do you keep searching for the MB2 canal in tooth #3, even though you are getting precariously close to perforation? Do you agree to do a single veneer on tooth #9 for a patient with extremely high cosmetic expectations? Do you remove a 3rd molar in very close proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve to help a patient in pain when the oral surgeon’s office is closed? Or what about the patient’s old crown which seems to have a small open margin on the on the mesial, yet it’s a retainer in a 6 unit bridge. Do you recommend replacement or just “watch” it? Will your professor give you some advice? Is he or she standing behind you and watching your every move? Nope! You’re all alone. You’re experience and thus, clinical judgment will give you the wisdom necessary to make such decisions.

I’m lucky to work at an office as an associate with 2 other dentists who are very smart treatment planners and exceptional clinicians (by the way, I’m John’s associate). So that means if I have questions, I have someone to ask, but ultimately every decision is mine and it is my dental license I have to protect. I wish that all of my boo-boos were limited to dental school and residency and now I won’t make mistakes. But, I know that’s not the case. Being 3 years out of school, I have gained a wealth of clinical judgment, but I think in order to learn all there is to know about dentistry I would need another 50 years of practice – and I surely won’t be working that long! So that means I will just “do what feels right” and hope my knowledge, clinical experience, and kindness will keep me from getting in trouble.

Nice talking to you,
Lets do this again sometime.
Michelle Aliotti

See why we like her so much at our office.
I have to go. See you all tomorrow.
Even if you are not coming to see my little talk, please just come up and say "HI".
Talk to you Monday.
No blog on Friday, I AM ON VACATION.

1 comment:

Buckeyedental said...

Dear Michelle

It will keep getting easier as the years go on. When I was first out of school I would be surprised by a patients condition, or by what they would say or do. Now after 19 years I do not get surprised that much. But I still do not know it all, dentistry is ever changing. So keep doing your CE, listen to John and his Dad.

Good luck and keep having fun.

Kim Shaw
PS John glad I got to meet you at AGD hope you have a great meeting


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