Thursday, January 29, 2015

Old vs. New

I am often asked whether it is better as a patient to be treated by a young dentist who has been trained in all the latest technology and is up on the latest trends and innovations in dentistry, or is it better to be treated by a seasoned dentist who has had life experiences and has done thousands of procedures like the one that you need to have accomplished.  It is an interesting dilemma, and a question not easily answered without some prejudices.  I believe it depends on the procedure that you need to have accomplished.  For example, I was taught at UCLA dental school in the early 70s to do gold crowns and silver fillings only.  And in fact the tooth-colored restorations as they are currently accomplished today were not even available until 1978, several years after I graduated.  On the other hand,  Dr. Naten who graduated 2 ½ years ago was raised on composites and ceramics, the bulk of our practice today, and is thus very comfortable with doing those procedures even though he has not done as many of them as I have.  I believe that the best method to even out this educational divide was derived in California many years ago with our continuing education requirements of over 50 hours of education each renewal period.  That certainly helps, but it is each individual dentist’s investment in their practice and care of their patients that is the real motivation to go beyond the minimum requirements and get as many continuing education units as possible.  In my case, our last office trip was to the Greater New York Dental Society meeting with over 55,000 other dental professionals all trying to get the most up-to-date techniques and bring them back to our practices to help our patients.  Our staff is committed to that education process otherwise they would not be here, and I am very proud of all of them for their dedication to improving dentistry and the health of our huge family of patients.  I believe this is the real answer.  Is the dentist happy with his or her work and do they look forward to going to work every day to try to help people?  If the answer is yes, I believe that is the dentist you want to see.   Fortunately in our office we offer treatment from both young and old dentists (Did I really say that?) so you get the best of both worlds.  As for those young dentists out there, watch out for us old guys and gals.  We are not necessarily behind you on the technology bandwagon.  You may have to look forward to find us rather than behind.

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