Get Excited About Leading Your Team to a Fuller Knowledge of Dentistry

September 13, 2023 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Team members can become a bit tunnel-visioned. Their day-to-day work life and CE are focused on topics related to their niched responsibilities, which puts them on an island of their own. One of my hopes is that all my team members — including hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative team members — will learn about all we do in our dental practices.

Faculty meetings at The Pankey Institute always invigorate my thinking about the Institute’s curriculum and the teaching I do with my own team members. Freshly energized by the last faculty meeting, I am writing my thoughts to hopefully inspire the many of you who are not faculty but, like us, have enthusiasm for leading your teams to a broad and deep understanding of the dentistry you practice.

In my own office, one of the things I look for in hiring is team members who are interested in learning, interested in dentistry and are even passionate about dentistry. They want to know as much about it as they possibly can. And one of the things I pay attention to is providing opportunities for them to learn about the many aspects of dentistry.

For example, I want my hygiene team to understand what happens in the restorative operatory. They don’t often get to see me working with a patient because they are busy with their own patients. But when they see a beautiful veneer case that we’ve done, I would love for them to have some background in the considerations and decisions that went into that treatment…the knowledge, the technique, the materials, and even the patient’s experience during treatment.

When hygienists see our patients, they may think something could appear better, for example, a crown margin. It helps them put what they are seeing in perspective if they have some understanding of the techniques, materials, and complexity. And I want to know the questions and concerns that occur in their minds as they do their hygiene exams. I also want them to understand the dentistry we offer in our practice so they can better answer questions and advocate for a treatment plan that hasn’t moved forward.

I want them to take CE that elevates their hygiene skills. I also want them to be fully integrated into our team and understand everything that happens in our office, so we can all work collaboratively to create more effective outcomes for our patients.

Accomplishing this requires that we set aside time and take advantage of open time. In my office, I regularly review a variety of cases with my clinical team before, during, and after treatment. This involves more than meetings in my consultation room. Sometimes, it involves chairside observation and conversations. Most of my patients are eager learners who appreciate the chairside teaching that I do with my team members. They are simultaneously learning and coming to a greater understanding of their dentistry.

I often hear that dentists return to their practices after a Pankey Institute continuum course or seminar with the inspiration to share what they learned with their teams—the enthusiasm for learning spills over naturally in the week following the dentist’s CE. Take advantage of that energy at that moment, and while you are excited make a commitment to continue sharing your knowledge on a regular basis, interesting case by interesting case.

In your dental practice, it’s important to create a restorative partnership with your assistants, hygienists & front office team. Make the handoff between your team seamless, build a stronger team & create lasting patient connections. Check out our three Pankey Team Courses that are coming up: Team Series.

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About Author

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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