A number of continuing education opportunities are available to dentists in print, DVD, and leisure/get-away formats promising specific material and technique training. Unfortunately, not all of these programs offer comprehensive and careful consideration of the underlying fundamentals required for treatment success. Such principles have relevance to all restorative materials, but not all techniques or materials can be universally applied to every indication.
Principles and procedures for addressing the masticatory system that are necessary for treating every indication often become gray areas in some continuing education programs. As a result, dentists may have difficulty developing a comprehensive understanding of proper function–a necessity for long-term esthetic and clinical success of any restorative treatment–as it relates to specific materials or techniques. A diluted approach to basic fundamental principles overshadowed by the introduction of new products can cause dental professionals to lose sight of the importance of the masticatory system during treatment and, ultimately, compromise the care they provide patients.
Peter E. Dawson, DDS, founder of The Dawson Academy and a leading expert in Complete Dentistry and dental continuing education, observes that although materials and techniques have undergone significant evolutions, underlying and basic principles of the masticatory system remain consistent. While dentists can now perform restorations that once were thought impossible, function and esthetics tend to suffer when the principles that make dentistry work are not understood and incorporated into treatment planning.
For example, it is not enough to prescribe innovative or durable esthetic materials, such as porcelain laminates and CAD/CAM restorations, to correct worn or decayed teeth in a more conservative manner. Because the condition of the temporomandibular joint—which affects the health and stability of the teeth and oral environment—depends on complete harmony within the masticatory system, long-term durability and function of any restorations will suffer if the requirements of total occlusion are not met. If these restorations fail and subsequently require re-treatment, the goal for a conservative approach is lost when basic principles are not incorporated. By merely utilizing new materials and techniques without consideration of how they will respond in the context of a properly developed occlusion, dentists fall short of the results that could be achieved.
Dental continuing education courses at The Dawson Academy provide a complete educational experience. Through a focus on the knowledge required for simple to more advanced treatments, programs at The Dawson Academy emphasize a patient’s masticatory system, including jaw joints, facial and temporal muscles, and teeth and gingival structures. Only by becoming masticatory physicians can dentists properly utilize modern techniques and materials to prevent, detect, and treat tooth diseases, tooth wear, and functional problems in a more individualized and conservative manner. Mastership of the Concept of Complete Dentistry provides the foundation for skills in sequencing and segmenting treatment plans, thereby ensuring the best oral health for patients. Demonstrating a broad and all-encompassing understanding on the importance of principle over procedure and of complete-care, graduates of The Dawson Academy’s comprehensive curricula demonstrate skills beyond merely choosing advanced materials and applying innovative techniques.