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Part 3 Key Skills Tip #28

Understand Treatment Planning and Case Presentation

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Tip 28: Understand Treatment Planning and Case Presentation

Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Alan Lakein

Adventure is just bad planning.
- Roald Amundsen

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
- Paul J. Meyer

Leaders are planners. Throughout this guide I have written about purpose, vision and mission. Once a leader knows what he or she wants to accomplish, then it's just a matter of creating a roadmap to get there. This goes not only for practice vision but for the accomplishment of performing your best dentistry on every patient. Of course, treatment planning requires a commitment to understanding technical dentistry. The incomparable doyen of perioprosthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, the late Dr. Morton Amsterdam, used to say, "One diagnosis, many treatment plans." That phrase is the ultimate understanding of empathy. (See Tip 14.)

Essentially the dentist's role is to design a treatment plan and to carry it through. The essence is to understand the reality of our patient's circumstances without losing sight of reality. The reality is in our ability to diagnose. The diagnosis is unchangeable. It is fixed. The constant.

The ability to empathize allows us to understand our patient's circumstances and objectives so that we can design our treatment with our patient's needs and desires in mind. The idea is to care about our patient's experiences and figure out how to help.

Treatment planning is an activity that requires the dentist to have complete knowledge beyond the ability to treat. It requires the dentist to understand how to gather information through the comprehensive examination. It requires the dentist to understand where each patient is coming from, what L.D. Pankey called their "circumstances, objectives and temperament. Finally it requires the dentists to learn about how to best present the dentistry in a manner that is nonthreatening and understandable.

The purpose of case presentation is to communicate, to influence. The end result should be positive action on that part of our patient.

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