Our teeth are fairly complex organs, consisting of at least three separate tissue types. Each of the layers, being the enamel, dentin, and pulp, can each develop its own problems. This makes caring for the whole tooth a complex process. Beyond this, there are other tissues found in the oral cavity. Consider the gums, the jawbone, the tongue, the membranes in the cheeks, the lips. Together they make up a complex system with parts that can each develop their own health concerns. It’s these elements that make interdisciplinary dentistry an important aspect of comprehensive care in complex cases.
The Fundamentals Of Interdisciplinary Dentistry?
Any individual dental concern can be addressed using a few approaches. This diversity of approaches to problem-solving is a remarkable aspect of dental care. The appropriate and most effective treatment to apply is heavily dependent on the specifics of the case, however. Everything from the dentist’s comfort with his tools, the underlying concern, and the patient’s health can impact the approach taken. Even straightforward dental problems, such as cavities, can benefit from multiple approaches. Perhaps it’s a small cavity that can benefit from an inlay or onlay, or a crown may be needed. Maybe things have gone so far that only extraction and bridge will do. Maybe the patient is thinking long-term and wants to replace that tooth with an implant.
Multidisciplinary dentistry approaches these questions by considering the benefits of multiple dental disciplines working separately and together. These additional perspectives come together to create a unique and personalized approach for that patient’s oral health concerns. An example can be seen in dental implants. Implants are very effective for replacing an extracted tooth. However, they can also cause irritation of the gum tissue. By applying treatments from other disciplines, perhaps another solution can be found, or the irritation in the gum tissue addressed.
The integration of orthodontics, endodontics, and various other disciplines requires the answering of a number of questions before beginning. The following are the concerns that must be addressed when selecting a multidisciplinary approach:
- What outcome does the patient want? How do we incorporate this goal into the selected treatment, and how will it affect the outcomes. Answering these questions ensures the patient’s desired goal is reached and that the procedures are safe and effective.
- What are the biological factors in their condition? Any existing health conditions must be considered, including diseases, tooth decay, etc. Understanding how these will affect the outcome aids in selecting the right approach.
- How would I approach this if it were me? – There are various elements of treatment and diagnosis that can help identify the right clinical approach. The dental discipline, preference, and judgment of the dentist are all important elements.
How Multidisciplinary Care Improves Dentistry
The purpose of multidisciplinary care is to ensure that the patient receives the most effective care for their dental health concerns. The advantages and disadvantages of each approach come together to produce results that may not be found using a single discipline. Contact your dental provider to determine what approaches they use and how they incorporate multidisciplinary dentistry.