Here is the paradox that is modern sedation dentistry: the more you know about it, the more you need to learn.
Yes, on first blush, that seems absurd.
But hundreds of successful dentists who’ve completed DOCS Education sedation courses – and frequently treat patients using the protocols they learned – can attest to the veracity of this seeming contradiction.
The explanation lies in the very nature of sedation dentistry: a means of safely and effectively treating fearful and anxious patients, especially those who require more extensive and complex dental care. Sedation dentistry has also proven to be a reliable method of helping medically compromised patients without having to tend to their oral health in a hospital setting.
The irony is that DOCS Education-trained sedation dentists need ongoing education exactly because they have been so successful in applying their core sedation training in their practices.
This is fascinating, so read on.
The Confidence to Treat Complex Patients
We’ve long known that one byproduct of providing the option of oral sedation is that those patients needing comprehensive restoration work will be drawn to DOCS Education graduates. That's because dentists who rely on the basic DOCS Education protocols can treat patients for longer periods of time, reducing the necessity for repeat visits. Moreover, our graduates feel confident treating a variety of complex cases that other dentists are hesitant to see.
When faced with a patient who will require elaborate restorative treatment, many general dentists who haven't yet trained to administer oral sedation shutter at the prospect.
First off, the patient is very likely to be anxious and uncomfortable, and unwilling to sit in the dental chair for hours on end. That means bringing the patient back time and again, with the likelihood that the patient will grow more anxious and warier of treatment with each subsequent visit.
By comparison, the DOCS Education-trained sedation dentist knows that his or her patient will not be anxious ahead of the treatment; will be comfortable enough to remain in the chair for extended periods of time; and if repeat visits are required, will have no painful memories to make the patient hesitant to return.
Now the scenario gets particularly interesting.
A Cycle of Success
Because dentists who provide sedation treatments attract a growing population of complex cases, they increasingly face dental challenges that do demand additional training.
Moreover, sedation dentistry has attracted a growing nucleus of physicians and other health experts who view sedation dentistry – because it causes far less emotional stress for the patient – as a preferred method of caring for the oral health of medically compromised patients, especially those with cardiovascular issues.
As such, veteran sedation dentists are seeing a significant uptick in the number of patients with heart conditions, diabetes, liver and kidney ailments, and other challenging medical conditions. These patients require a sedation dentist to have an even deeper understanding of the pharmacology, science, and safety precautions associated with medically compromised patients.
Here's the bottom line: success breeds success; draws more patients in greater need, and hence requires more education. Those who go ahead and get more education will attract even more challenging cases, and the cycle repeats itself.
It's no less true that even sedation dentists who don’t want to climb the education ladder and treat more complex cases shouldn’t rest on their educational laurels. The world of dentistry, and especially sedation dentistry, is anything but static. New techniques, new science and pharmacological insights, and new equipment and safety protocols, arise at an ever-faster rate.
In recognition of this fluid environment – and the rapidly growing need for sedation dentists with specialized training – DOCS Education in early 2017 introduced its Master Series: Advanced Sedation course to universally great reviews.
Education and Community
Advanced Sedation, led by renowned instructors Dr. Anthony S. Feck and Dr. Leslie Fang, builds on the solid foundation that DOCS Education core sedation course graduates have. In fact, a prerequisite for the advanced course is that those dentists who register must have completed at least 50 oral sedation cases. In reality, many of the dentists who’ve already taken Advanced Sedation have completed hundreds of cases; nonetheless, they are the first in line to sign up when a new course is scheduled.
"Master Series is perpetually evolving, and new information is added to every session, largely because of the rapidly changing scene on both the medical and the dental fronts," says Dr. Fang, who is a globally recognized expert on the pharmacology and physiology of sedation.
Importantly, those dentists who do attend the Master Series: Advanced Sedation course not only form a bond with Dr. Fang, Dr. Feck, and the other instructors, they form a sense of community with one another. Registrants in each class share their clinical experiences and solutions, and often remain in contact to help one another long after the course has concluded.
A core tenet of DOCS Education – both as an educator and a membership organization – is a belief in the value of lifelong education. The value of Master Series: Advanced Sedation, both to patients and dental practices, requires no advanced education to see clearly.
Editor's Note: Master Series – Advanced Sedation, a two-day seminar featuring Dr. Anthony S. Feck and Dr. Leslie Fang, is now open for registration in Seattle (November 10-11, 2017); San Francisco (February 23-24, 2018) and Chicago (May 18-19, 2018).
Click here to learn more and to register. (Classes fill quickly, so sign up early.)
Some of the fresh topics covered in Advanced Sedation include:
- 1. What do you do when a patient shows up on Eliquis?
- How do you manage a patient on Brillinta?
- What are the new AAMOS guidelines for osteonecrosis of the jaw?
- How do you manage a patient with diabetic complications?
- What are the new developments from AAOS on premedications for joints?
- What do you do with patients on hepatitis C treatment?
- How do you manage a patient after solid organ transplant?
- Update on management of odontogenic infections
- How do you manage pregnant patients?
- How do you manage nursing mothers?
- A quick guide to pediatric dosing of drugs commonly used in dentistry