Great dentists come in all shapes and sizes, which allows patients the opportunity to find someone they can connect with and trust to meet their healthcare needs. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some common features that great dentists share. In particular, successful CAMBRA dentists share 7 traits that aid them in providing the best possible patient care. Unlike size or natural dominant hand, these traits are ones that can be fed and cultivated by practitioners seeking to improve themselves and their practice. Successful CAMBRA dentists are:
CAMBRA dentistry relies on practitioners to exercise clinical judgment to determine a patient’s risk of developing carious lesions based on an assessment of current risks, both biological and behavioral. Doctors who do so consistently and successfully are methodical in their approach to risk assessment. Getting a good sense of the whole picture and not skipping steps while collecting evidence for the assessment allows them to reach correct conclusions and provide correct and timely treatment.
2. Good Communicators
Knowing what’s wrong and knowing how to fix it are of little benefit if you cannot explain what’s wrong and get your patient onboard with a treatment plan. All too often, patients are used to thinking of their dentist as the guy with the drill. Communication skills bridge the gap between what patients expect to hear and understanding a better way forward.
3. Evidence Minded
They’ve seen the evidence. They’ve read the studies. They understand that active caries risk management improves oral health. Successful CAMBRA dentists are not blind trend followers; they look to evidence to ground their treatment plans in the best available science.
4. Whole Person/Whole Health Focused
Successful CAMBRA dentists know that the teeth they treat are part of a whole person. They understand that cavities do not develop in a vacuum and that health conditions like pregnancy or diabetes can change dental health. They know that changes in overall health can require adjustment to dental treatment plans. CAMBRA requires the dentist to consider the whole patient, not just some tooth related symptoms, and successful CAMBRA dentists do just that.
5. Long-term Thinkers
A successful CAMBRA dentist doesn’t just think about this visit when they have a patient in the chair; they think about the next year or two years worth of visits. They focus on long term treatment outcomes. They want to build or preserve enamel quality. They want to improve and maintain tooth health, looking at a patient in their twenties and knowing that patient will want their natural teeth healthy in their seventies. They don’t let the right now overshadow long term goals.
6. Proactive, not Reactive
Instead of waiting for problems, a successful CAMBRA dentist looks to stop problems from happening. They’re not looking to find cavities that must be filled. They’re looking for white spots that may turn into a problem or, better still, looking for changes that may cause white spots or other problems later. They’re treating a difficult biofilm to forestall any cavity development, not waiting for cavities to see if there is an unhealthy biofilm. They stay ahead of the 8 ball.
And, finally, they are
7. Lifelong Learners
CAMBRA is evidence based medicine. Success depends on understanding the benefits of keeping up with current studies and the best evidence. Because the focus is on treating the disease process in a new way, successful practitioners will work to stay current on research and methods and will seek out meaningful opportunities for continuing education to make sure they are providing the best possible care for their patients, which is exactly why they chose to practice CAMBRA dentistry in the first place.