Continuing Education... It is a must for your dentist

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

When I graduated dental school 18 years ago, I remember being told by some of the faculty that finally I was going to learn. That was a little disheartening to hear since I had just spent the hardest four years of my life supposedly "learning" to be a dentist. I couldn't appreciate what they were saying at the time.

Today, I understand what they meant.

Dental school is only a beginning. It teaches the basics. A new dentist needs to practice what he or she has learned. The new dentist needs to gather tips and tidbits from more experienced dentists. The new dentist needs to take classes on subjects that are not offered in dental schools, for it is only when dentists routinely enroll in continuing education courses that they learn the cutting edge stuff.

Relying on only what was learned in dental school, a dentist will soon find him or herself terribly outdated. State-of-the-art procedures are constantly evolving, and it takes a concerted commitment to continuing education to keep on top of things.
Most of the procedures I do on a day to day basis, for example, are procedures that I learned after I graduated.... Things such as tooth-colored fillings, implants, porcelain veneers, orthodontics and orthopedics were all learned from other dentists who were considered masters of their craft.

Other techniques such as root canal therapy are now performed differently than was ever envisioned back in dental school days.

There are new materials to use that weren't even around four to five years ago. There are new and improved versions of older materials that need to be tried out. Equipment design changes are constant, with the introduction of better, faster technology almost every week.

With all the movement in the profession, it is imperative that your dentist read as much as possible about what is going on. The next step is to take courses on the topics that interest him or her. In this way, a dentist can bring new knowledge about the latest techniques back into the office.

Last month, at a dental conference held in Toronto, I became a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. It is an award given to dentists who complete hundreds of hours of continuing education in various dental topics, and who also pass a comprehensive written examination. I was proud to achieve this award because it signifies my continuing commitment to be my best.

Require the same from your own dentist. It will result in much better care for you and your family.

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