Recently I heard an intriguing interview with Dr. Gordon Christensen by Dr. Howard Farran. This podcast sparked two radically different ideas I thought I would share.
First thought: Dr. Christensen does an exceptional job of going through a brief overview of relevant issues in dentistry.
In responding to Dr. Farran’s questions, Dr. Christensen names areas of interest that have a bright future. In addition to the nine recognized specialties (Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics and Prosthodontics), he mentions several hot areas that are taking off:
- Dental Anesthesiology
- Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
- Aesthetic Dentistry
- Operative Dentistry
- Preventative Dentistry.
This is a good list, and I suggest that there are two more that could be listed.
The first is Special Needs Dentistry.
Dentists generally are inclined to refer patients if they are not equipped to manage special needs, or if they are not comfortable with patients who present with certain complex medical situations. Dentists who have the experience and training to receive these patients certainly provide a good service for the dental community. My own practice has focused on treating patients with special needs, and I have certainly witnessed growth of dentists interested in this.
Secondly is Dental Informatics. What is it?
Dental informatics is the application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education and management, and it is a sub-discipline of biomedical informatics. Digital imaging and image processing, computer-based dental records, clinical decision support and teledentistry are only some examples of research topics in dental informatics.
In my opinion, the more dental software improves, the more it will depend heavily on insights from dental informatics. An example is the prospect of integrating expert support for tobacco cessation counseling into electronic dental records to expand our ability to help our patients. Software vendors should evolve their products to accommodate bioinformatics science and dentists should press for software that can help them be good doctors as well as good businessmen/women.
Dr. Farran is the Charlie Rose of dentistry. He is a great interviewer who keeps in mind the questions every dentists would want to ask. And, Dr. Christensen has a wonderful speaking style that includes injecting his own questions and then answering them. And he does it in such an appealing way that it makes you feel like you answered the question yourself!
One of my hobbies is playing jazz bass guitar. A goal when playing jazz bass is to create a smooth linear bass line that connects common tones from one chord to another. This takes practice as well as knowledge of music theory, harmony and rhythm. When done effectively with a good drummer a groove is created that musicians and listeners can easily tap into and enjoy. Dr. Christensen’s answers are a flowing wave of rhythms and tonal changes that make for easy listening, and the effect of his asking his own questions resting the flow at just the right time to then continue completely in time is quite satisfying. A great walking bass line is what Dr. Christensen’s vocal delivery sounds like to me. That’s a gift.
Thank you Dr. Farran and Dr. Christensen!