Friday, August 6, 2010

Are you a "modern" dentist?

Good Friday to you all,

I hope you have had a good week. Oh, my Lordy, it is so hot. I ran last Saturday and it didn't go very well. As you kno,w I am halfway through my marathon training. I was supposed to run 14 miles last weekend. I ended up only running 12 miles because I was starting to get dizzy. This is a big no-no in running. When I got home and weighed myself, I had lost 6 pounds that morning. That is with eating and drinking during the run. I am a sweater. You know it is going to be a bad day when you are sweating in the car on the way to the run at 5:20am.

I watched Frost/Nixon last night. I have to say that I thought it was going to be boring but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it.

I am reading a book called A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. It takes place in Florida in 1866. Sounds boring, doesn't it? Well, I thought so too, but about 10 people told me how great this book was. I picked it up and it is fantastic. I should be done with it by the end of the weekend because I know I am going to be sitting on the couch all of Saturday recovering from my 18 mile run.

I have started to read other blogs (which I don't recommend to you all, stick with this one ONLY. If you have nothing to compare it to then you will never know if this one sucks or not), and I came across a survey. I wanted to share it with you because I want to know your thoughts. I have to say that I don't really agree with the thing. I think I am getting kind of crotchety in my old age.

It is a survey to patients to see if your dentist is a "modern" dentist. Lets discuss it after you have read it. Here it is.

Give a “zero” for each “no” answer and a “one” for each “yes” answer.

1. Does your dentist have a clean office?

2. Does he/she take at least 30 hours of continuing education per year?

3. Does he/she have modern equipment such as digital radiographs (xrays) and paperless charting (digital charts)?

4. Does your dentist discuss implants as an option to missing teeth?

5. Is he/she involved with a study group?

6. Does he/she or the hygienist use a periodontal probe to measure your gums to evaluate the health of your gum tissue?

7. Does he/she offer an oral cancer screening test using a light?

8. Does he/she offer sedation for procedures to reduce anxiety?

9. Does he/she use ultra-modern reinforced ceramic restorations?

10. Does he/she use non-metal fillings?

11. Does he/she consistently use magnification with illumination to check your teeth and/or treat them?

12. Does he/she use a laser to check natural teeth for decay or cracks?

13. Is there an intra-oral camera available to monitor the status of old fillings and other dental conditions?

14. Does he/she understand the new theories and research on tooth decay?

15. When treating teeth, are cavity detection dyes used to remove only decay and preserve tooth structure?

16. If he/she says they are a cosmetic dentist, has a recent course about it been taken?

17. Does he/she have photos of their own work to show?

18. Is your bite checked to help avoid cracks in your teeth, chips on the edges, or increased muscle tension?

19. Does he/ she keep you informed about the connection between dental problems ( e.g. gum disease) and the rest of the body?

20. Does he/ she do a panoramic xray every 3-5 years to check for cysts, etc. that are normally not found on “checkup xrays”?

Rate your Dentist
15 – 20 — Your Modern dentist is Jetson-like. Good job!
10 – 14 — Your dentist could definitely improve some things. Just ask.
0 – 9— Your dentist may be working in the Flintstone-era

What does "modern" mean? Modern does not necessarily mean "good at what they do." It does not mean "passionate." Do you see the difference? The author is leading people when by equating technology with skill. And, it seems, the author is behind on the technology research as well. I took the test for myself and I passed, so it's not that I am pissed about failing the test.

I will buy the clean office question and the magnification question. I like the probing of the gums question. But some of them don't make any sense.

Does he/she use non-metal fillings? Hmmm? I have a problem with this question. I think amalgam, although not modern, is a material that has been in dentistry since GV Black. I sometimes see patients with amalgam fillings in their mouths that are over 40 years old and they look like the day they were put it. How are we now bashing it because it might not be aesthetic? Does "modern" mean aesthetic?

Does he/she use a light to do an oral cancer screening? Does he/she use a laser to aid in decay detection? According to the research that I have read, the light doesn't work for cancer screening and the laser doesn't work for decay detection (sorry Diagnodent users).

You know I am big on CE. But doing 30 hours of CE and never leaving the office is too easy now a days.

And the question about being a cosmetic dentist? I just never got how we started equating veneers with modern. I can be a dentist that cares about conserving teeth and a dentist that has an eye for cosmetics. I would not consider myself a cosmetic dentist but I certainly know when veneers or other cosmetic dentistry is necessary.

I understand the questionnaire. And yes, I think keeping up with the stuff that makes you a better dentist is important. But I also know that I have jumped on technology in the past and the new and best thing ever is sitting in my closet somewhere because it didn't work the way it was supposed to or the research told me it wasn't that great.

I understand what the author is trying to get out of it. But I also know how expensive getting a digital x-rays costs. And I know that now that I have digital x-rays it doesn't make me a better dentist, and it doesn't make more passionate. It doesn't make me care about my patients more. It doesn't make me fair.

I told you I am getting crotchety. What are your thoughts?

Have a great weekend,

ps. My kids start school next Wednesday.
Wow, summer is gone.


Tom Orazio said...

You don't say how this survey was being used but it strikes me that it could be more of a self-serving marketing technique. I too easily passed, but I bet I could design a "custom" survey in which I would receive 100% and no one else would.

Tom said...

I have to agree with you on the survey. I think a lot of people that take it will equate "modern" with "excellent/passionate."

At my dental school, we use phosphor plates for our x-rays. Many of the part-time dentists say that our digital x-rays show a lot less detail than an "old-fashioned" film x-ray. I'm sure not all digital radiograph systems are created equally.

I did smile a bit when I read #10. Is there really a dentist that doesn't use non-metal fillings? An amalgam on a front tooth probably wouldn't bring back too many patients.

Suzan said...

The survey author wants the market to look at what I have and what I do. Many dentists will score 100% so where's the distinction?

So Tom, I'll take you up on your bet. What would your survey contain that only you could score 100%?


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