Keeping up

In his introduction, Dr. Chafic Safi notes that we must embrace changes and keep up with technologies and new techniques that will deliver the best care to our patients.

It was exactly 3 years ago, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when I wrote the introduction letter in the Summer 2020 issue. Back then, I used “From Evolution to Revolution (while remaining a clinician)” as the title. Today, this title is still applicable, particularly for anyone who is setting up a new practice or even for a newly graduated endodontist. However, there is a lot of “keeping up” to do in order to stay afloat in a sea of technological advancements and new concepts and not lose track of our mission — saving natural teeth!

Here are three tips to follow to keep up with the profession:

  1. Think like a clinician: The success rate of endodontic therapy has always been reported to be in the top 90%, and we want it to remain this way. This raises the following question: When was the last time a new concept or a new trend was proven to yield a higher success rate? “Keeping up” means knowing which changes to embrace while staying mindful of their short-term and long-term clinical significance. In today’s world, only “valuable” changes should be embraced such as minimally invasive endodontics, vital pulp therapy, artificial intelligence, etc. These are the advancements that will ultimately have a positive impact on our field and on our patients.
  2. Sharpen your scientific data — the non-endodontic one as well: It is easy to be distracted by our area of expertise and miss out on other information that could potentially affect our diagnosis and treatment plan. Surely, it is important to stay up-to-date with our endodontic education and our skills; however, we cannot ignore an important phenomenon happening: higher life expectancy amongst our patients. This comes hand-in-hand with complex medical histories and a high rate of natural teeth retention — and a bigger percentage of our patient population will be considered medically compromised. Medical conditions such as diabetes, infective endocarditis, cancer, medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw, coagulative therapy — just to name a few — all have an impact on the patient’s capacity to withstand dental treatment and could lead to compromised healing. Keeping up with this information is crucial to the success of our treatment.

Moreover, when odontogenic pain is ruled out, one has to be able to evaluate the patient for other pain etiologies, such as neuropathic pain, myogenous pain, arthralgia, etc. Hence, the importance of keeping up by having a diverse continuing dental education portfolio.

  1. Adopt a patient-centered philosophy: Patient-centeredness is essential to any healthcare professional; therefore, presenting the best outcomes and patient experience remains one of our core responsibilities. “Keeping up” implies employing our best clinical skills, knowledge, and qualifications in order to render the best service in a simple, cost-effective, and affordable manner.

Finally when we look at the trends, one can say that 3 years from now, the field of Endodontics will be looked upon by other fields with one thing in mind: keeping up with us.

Dr. Joel Small offers guidance on how to embrace changes and continue leading your team to excellence in his article, “Leading through change.”

Chafic Safi, DMD, MS, completed his postgraduate residency in Endodontics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 where he also completed a Master of Science in Oral Biology researching the outcome of endodontic microsurgery and factors affecting prognosis. Dr. Safi is a published researcher and lectures on various endodontic topics. He is certified by the American Board of Endodontics. Dr. Safi remains on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Endodontics as well as University of Montreal, as an adjunct professor. He is also a faculty lecturer for Next Level Endodontics. He founded Centre Endodontique Saint-Laurent in Montreal, Canada where he lives and practices since 2016.

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