Dr. Rafael Pérez Díez, specialist in dentistry, describes in the following article the relevant aspects to achieve quality dentistry.
What influences quality dentistry?
Quality dentistry is based on three pillars: the training of the professional, technology and empathy with the patient. In addition to having completed the corresponding masters and postgraduate courses, a good specialist must follow continuous training, that is to say, never stop studying, attending courses and congresses, in short, being up to date. It is also very important to like your profession; I don’t think you can be good at anything if you are not in love with your profession.
How important is technology?
Cutting-edge technology is fundamental nowadays. You cannot make a good diagnosis or a good treatment without being up to date in this aspect. This is something that is so clear to us that we do not stop investing in it: For example, we have incorporated a dental CAT scan to be able to reach accurate diagnoses, surgical ultrasound, laser for periodontal surgery, … and we also collaborate with leading prosthetic laboratories in the design and development of Cad-Cam prostheses.
What does empathy with the patient mean?
When we receive a patient, the first thing we must do is put ourselves in their place, think about what they are looking for, what their concerns are, treat them as we would like to be treated ourselves. Try to give them the simplest and most durable option, and not the most expensive. Perhaps this is what differentiates a clinic like ours, run by health professionals, from commercial clinics, with business objectives aimed primarily at billing, and where patients are considered customers and treatments are considered sales, it does not matter which is the best treatment, but which is the most profitable. When we are in front of a patient, we must consider what we would do to him if he were our son, our brother or our father, depending on his age.
How important is pain or fear when it comes to dental treatment?
It is very important to take psychological factors into account. We do not treat mouths, we treat people. There is still fear of the dentist, which is based on the reality of years gone by, but fortunately we have managed to eradicate pain in treatments. Absolutely all dental treatments that could be painful are done under local anesthesia and are completely painless, but is this enough? We have to take into account that the fact of being in the dental chair, defenseless and not knowing what is going to happen, can generate anxiety that we can and should control.
In long interventions or in people who suffer anxiety before any intervention, we use conscious sedation orally. A few years ago we used inhaled nitrous oxide, but we believe that today there are drugs with which we can achieve superior results orally. In certain cases, we can also count on the collaboration of an anesthesiologist for intravenous sedation.
The importance of teamwork
Teamwork is fundamental. A few years ago, a dentist was able to master all areas of the profession, today it is not possible to master them all if we want to talk about top quality dentistry. Techniques advance and evolve at such a speed that it is impossible to be up to date in everything at the same time, specialization and teamwork are now the present. Right now in our team we have four very well trained professionals, each one in their own area, which allows us to cover in addition to general and esthetic dentistry, the specialties of implantology, periodontics, endodontics and orthodontics.
How to act in the most difficult procedures?
Good teamwork requires collaboration between all the specialists in the most complex and multidisciplinary cases, so the advantage of bringing the whole team together in the same clinic is obvious, as it allows us to have clinical sessions in which to treat each case, discuss it together and coordinate the best possible approach.