Know Your Work: Examination & Discovery

January 29, 2018 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

The best dentists I know mastered the art of examination and discovery first. They learned to understand their patients’ conditions and how they relate to one another.

Leadership Through Discovery & Complexity

In that process of discovery, highly competent dentists learn to navigate complexity by confidently using reference points. These guide their understanding of what they discover. They train their eyes to see the details of esthetics, tooth structure, function, and periodontal type and status. Their fingers learn to feel the dynamic nature of the patient’s functional system.

They use every available form of imaging and records that add meaning to their discovery. Ultimately, they intentionally, systematically, and thoroughly develop a diagnosis that can determine the treatment plan. They manage complexity by moving toward simplicity.

Absolute and relative reference points serve as guides in designing the optimal scheme for the patient. When the patient’s teeth, gingiva, bone, functional scheme, and esthetics have been lost, those reference points tell you where to start and where to end. They both establish and limit what needs to be created.

Managing Complex Cases

Dentists at this level possess a very sound understanding of the dental functional system and a very detailed understanding of dental esthetics. They specially focus on how these two systems relate to one another.

They also understand their role in coordinating, guiding, and leading their interdisciplinary team in managing the complex case. To be certain, every member has a strong voice in developing and executing the treatment plan. Leadership in knowing your work really becomes visible in this process.

Someone has to decide where the case is going and how it is going to get there. There are many voices in the process, but at the end of the day that someone has to be you the leader, who also happens to be the first and final designer of the beautiful smile that is being restored to health.

Related Course

E4: Posterior Reconstruction and Completing the Comprehensive Treatment Sequence

DATE: August 1 2024 @ 8:00 am - August 5 2024 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute


Dentist Tuition: $ 7300

night with private bath: $ 290

This Course Is Sold Out! The purpose of this course is to help you develop mastery with complex cases involving advanced restorative procedures, precise sequencing and interdisciplinary coordination. Building on…

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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