What Does Your Dentist Know?

September 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Buck @ 1:25 pm

I just got back from a few days in Scottsdale, AZ where I took a great three day seminar at the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry. We were in class from about 8a until 530p each day. Which were long days, but don’t feel too bad, it was great weather, had some great mexican food, and had a good time (although I didn’t get to hit the little white ball around). This isn’t my first time to the Scottsdale Center. I’ve actually been out there about 10 times in the past six years and am re-energized everytime I come back. Dr. Frank Spear, who is a mentor of mine, leads the Spear Education curriculum in which dentists learn a high level of education including dealing with how teeth come together the correct way (or lack thereof), patients with joint disorders, larger cosmetic and functional cases, case presentation, and practice management. If that sounds like a lot, it is and probably more. I’m part of the Spear faculty club and a member of a local Spear study club. I also take courses once or twice a year in St. Pete’s, FL at the Dawson Center (another big name in dentistry). I am part of the Academy of General Dentistry and one of the services this group provides is keeping track of the hours of continuing education over the years. Once you have over 500 hours, you are eligible to take the fellowship exam to become a fellow of the AGD. I just passed that mark a couple months ago. This means that I have taken over 500 hours of my life to sit and learn about what I what I love to do…dentistry. So I will start studying the rest of this year and take that test early next year although I am not excited to start studying again.
I am boasting a little about my history of continuing education because I’m proud of the fact that I’ve furthered my knowledge of my field and that’s a benefit to our patients. But the fact remains that unless your dentist is seeking to improve his ability to provide you with the best care possible, then I firmly believe that you should seek a new dentist. There are so many opportunities out there beyond taking just the minimum requirements to further your education that there is no excuse not to.
The Ohio State Dental Board requires that in order for a dentist to keep his license, he/she must take 40 hours of continuing education at minimum every 2 years. You can take it online, go to a lecture, take a hand on course, or take a dental continuum (almost like a residency). I chose the latter because I feel my patients, staff, and I can benefit most from that. Another interesting note is the amount of investment in continuing education by the dental community. And I don’t put these numbers out there because of the amount, but because of the discrepency of the numbers. The average American dentist spends $900 every 2 years in CE. A dentist taking a continuum, such as Dawson or Spear, spends about $10,000 in that 2 years. The people who benefit most from that are the patients. These doctors have an much higher level of understanding of not just the teeth, but of the whole chewing system. “A physician of the mastigatory system”, not just “a tooth doctor” as Dr. Dawson says.