With young dentists, the one theme that occurs again and again is CONFIDENCE.
Some dentists are self-confessed overconfident and they need help to find out which cases are too difficult and possible mine-field cases, but the vast majority of dentists are over cautious and therefore not confident in themselves.
The truth is if you're reading this and you have a dental degree, you already have the basic building blocks to tackle, any complicated case.
Don't want to read the full article? You can watch the short video version below.
You see the way that we learn is that we understand something to a good level (From university) so, for example, the anatomy of a tooth, the blood supply to gums, how implants integrate with bone.
These are the basic building blocks and then we can go on additional courses to build on this prior knowledge and understand more complicated things like how to carry out a smile design, how to do tissue grafting, how to do bone grafting.
And then there's different levels of difficulty in all of these skills.
So we always start small and then build up like riding a balance bike before going onto a pedal bike.
A lot of dentists get stuck and they can sometimes go on course after course after course.
On the same old thing without progressing.
There are three stages to learning.
First, we are unaware that something can be done, but then we become aware and we build on our prior knowledge and do a little bit of basic research on the thing, then we can go to a course.
On the course, the subject is explained in a lot of detail and this brings a level of awareness on how this skill or treatment can benefit patients.
And this is the level where a lot of people get stuck because nobody moves on to practising the skills.
It's only when you practise what you've learnt and get hands-on experience do you truly understand the subject and can then develop mastery in it.
And it could be a lack of confidence that holds you back.
It could be fear of something going wrong and getting a patient complaint that is holding you back.
But in my experience, if your relationship with the patient is good and your patient understands the risks involved, then this is a very unlikely outcome.
Whenever I've progressed into something more complicated, I've tried to reduce the risk to the patient as much as possible.
This involves financial risk.
Often we'll do it at a dramatically reduced price or even free if that's possible.
This also includes clinical risk.
So if the outcome isn't as good as we'd expected, then not much is lost.
We would tend to do these treatments in non-visible areas or areas where it doesn't really matter if it works or it doesn't work.
These techniques are just used to reduce risk, but for some people is the confidence that needs to increase.
And the best way I've found to do this is to tell yourself that you are an accomplished cosmetic, dentist, or implant surgeon, whatever it is that you want to be.
Constant repetition of this telling yourself every day that you are good enough will make you feel that you're good enough and this confidence will come across when you communicate with your patients
More of them will say yes to your treatment plan and then you will move to this next stage of learning - understanding.
If you would like to watch a webinar, teaching you a great consultation process that I use to routinely get full mouth, comprehensive cases, you can watch it from the link below!