Have You Ever Taken a Tour of Your Mouth?
We believe that people should not have to make decisions about what they do not understand or cannot see. We usually hear that people who come to see us have never had the opportunity to see teeth the way that a dentist sees them.
How can a person make an informed decision about what to do or not to do based on a dentist’s recommendation without understanding their own problem? It’s very difficult.
For this reason, most of our patients enjoy the opportunity to participate in what has been called the “Co-Discovery” or “Co-Diagnosis” process, which is based on the philosophies of the late Charles Barkley, DDS. Continuing education centers for advanced general dentistry techniques like the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and others support and encourage this approach to developing appropriate treatment solutions with our patients.
Essentially, the process starts with a thorough dental examination including most or all of the following:
- Evaluation of the gums
- Examination of the teeth for decay, cracks, or failing restorations
- Screening the jaw joints (TMJs) for problems or disorders (TMD)
- Evaluation of the muscles of the jaw, neck, and head
- Oral cancer and soft tissue screening
- Identification of risk factors for obstructive sleep disorders
- Screening for significant bite problems
- Review of medical and dental history
- Screening of blood pressure
- Evaluation of existing dentures, partials, or bite splints for proper fit and function
Since a key element of the co-discovery process is the patient’s ability to see what we see, we usually take several photographs of the teeth. Once all of the data is collected, a second meeting is usually scheduled for the doctor to sit down with the patient and anyone else the patient chooses to come with them to review the findings of the exam and to take a visual tour of the patient’s mouth with them so that he or she can actually see what we see and get to share their concerns with the doctor. The doctor also shares what his concerns are and discusses what modern dentistry might be able to do for that particular patient.
Together, we work with our patients to develop appropriate solutions to their specific dental problems through the co-discovery process.