Monday, February 3, 2014

the general dentist.

Our endodontics lab is on-going. I was so surprised that as dental students we were actually doing endo- we all have to complete five root canals including one molar. A big difference is that they are extracted teeth (and free from a patient who can feel pain) but I thought this was different from the other specialties where we only learn a subset of the specialty.


When I took an initial X-ray radiograph of a tooth I hoped to work with, my resident recommended I choose another one. “I would refer it to a resident”, he said. I didn’t see anything different but he was able to recognize that this was a tricky case that needed special attention.

I was called to this article by Dr. Ben Burris on The Hill urging general dentists to practice within their scope- let specialists do their job.

I remember our radiograph professor urging us to always seek second opinion (and document!) because what seems easy and doable may not be so. Then you might have to defend yourself in court later. It’s a matter of saving our own butt.

In the article, Dr. Burris also talks about how patients should take ownership of their treatment by asking questions about “where they went to dental school, when they graduated, and what their class rank was.” (Penn dental!!!!)

I believe in taking ownership of my own health. I don’t believe that “my doctor would have told me if this was important”. This probably makes me a difficult patient (SO MANY questions) but I’m better safe than sorry. That “one-in-50,000-statistic” matters a whole life when that one patient is me or a loved one.