64 – Happy 2023

Hi and welcome, or welcome back. You are listening to the Perio Hygienist Podcast, a podcast for my professional colleagues and anyone else who cares to listen. My name is Dr. Ben Young and I am a periodontist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. This is episode 63 and the title is Happy 2023.  

I just wanted to come on here briefly to thank those of you who I worked with last year and the years before that and to consider where we might go from here together with regards to co-caring for periodontal patients. 

My philosophy of care has been with me from the beginning of my career which started as a young captain in the Air Force.  

My first year was spent in Bossier City, Louisiana at Barksdale Air Force Base in a one-year general dental practice residency. This is where I really learned to treatment plan care and where I learned the incredible value of cooperative or team-care for complex patients. 

Later in my career I was fortunate enough following my periodontics residency here in San Antonio to be stationed at another base – Sheppard AFB – and be able to teach in a one-year residency similar to the one I took. One of the things we taught our residents at that time was, when working up a case, ask as many questions to as many people as you want. Talk to the prosthodontist, periodontist, operative dentistry expert, pathologist, whoever you think will know more about that particular aspect of the case than you do. Take notes and learn as much as you can. 

But when you stand up to present the case, own it. Take responsibility. You are the one who makes the decision how treatment is best provided – along with agreement of the patient of course. The patient is always part of the team and we are wise to be good listeners as to what he or she wants. You can say, well in consultation with Dr Soandso, I decided to do this or that. This is acknowledging that you were actually smart enough to consult with people. What is not acceptable is to say, “Well, Dr. Soandso told me to do it.” 

So how does this apply to the way I treat patients now?  

For one thing, my correspondence attempt to mirror patient dental record entries. Rather than a letter every once in a while, I update other dental offices every time the patient is seen. In this way, it is not difficult to be able to track care as it is going. In the military and in large clinics, the patient has one record and all providers write in it. It can be a digital record today. When patients move between offices, then each office has its own record. Because I see the comprehensive or restorative dental office (I don’t think “general” describes this position that well) as the quarterback of the team, I believe he or she needs to be continually informed as to patient care proceeding in other offices.  

But that’s just me. Now, you may know a little more about where this comes from.  

Finally, at the end of 2022 I and my team here turned a corner and have begun working in other dental offices as we are invited in to provide one procedure and that is LANAP or the laser assisted new attachment procedure. In the same way I am about shortening the time patients are in active treatment along with reducing appointment visits and cost for care, I am about equipping other offices with my collaborative help in enabling them to do as much periodontal care as they would like. Coming in to other offices and providing a single form of care is an opportunity to talk face to face, rather than podcast to podcast, email to email, or by phone once in a while.  

Depending on how far our offices are apart determines how we can make this work. Also it does require that you have an extra room with a dental chair and unit. We bring in the rest.  

I can tell you, when it is possible to provide the care patients need without them having to leave their family dental office, or leave as infrequently as possible, they are very happy. Also, they know that everyone on their dental healthcare team is   cooperating and working together on their behalf.  

If this interests you to know more, shoot me an email or call the office and we will set up a time to talk. Oh, and I am always happy to keep things as they are if this works best for you. 

That’s it for today. Happy 2023. You have been listening to the Perio Hygienist Podcast and I am still Dr. Ben Young. Bye for now.  

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