Friday, September 12, 2014

Too Many Choices

In school, choosing dental materials was an easy choice. You used whatever the professor told you to use. But as a new dentist, I’ve been overwhelmed with the choice overload and information overload. Is it really necessary to have 5 or 10 different types of bonding or cement material?

Don’t get me wrong: I feel thankful that I’m in a practice where I get to choose what products I use and have control over the type of treatment I provide. I know several of my classmates who are working in large clinics who would love to have my dilemma. But, at the same time, can too many options be a bad thing? 

Most people think that there is no such thing as too many choices, but as new research comes out, psychologists and economists are saying that an overload of options may actually paralyze people or push them into decisions that are against their own best interests. As dentists, that means that our patients may not receive the best care.

From dental materials to types of restorations to which treatment plan is best for a patient—as dentists, we have several important choices we must make on a daily basis. Know that what works well for your colleague may not work well for you. And, despite the pitches from some sales reps, you are not committing malpractice if you don’t use their products. So how do we choose which products to use? I have come to the conclusion that less is more. 

The first thing I did was create systems and flow charts, which has helped me to take the guesswork out of the procedure. Second, I’ve referenced places like Dentaltown or the Clinicians Report for more information. Then, if I’m still not sure, I just resort to what I used in dental school.

I would love to hear from our readers. Which are your tried-and-true, go-to items? What things can you not practice without? 

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

Grant Glauser, DDS

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