What do Dentists do?

As I lecture I realize that dentists continue to view their professional world as from their time in dental school. What I view as the important stuff gets left behind as  clinical pressures take over and those hurdles become the top concerns. This leaves the dentist working from a point of view of “fixing the tooth”. However that is like an orthopedic surgeon “setting the bone”. Though that is the CPT code and where insurances and patients view the issue; it is not the main service.

Dentists mostly treat “movement disorders”. What you really provided was  the patient to eat better, talk better, smile better, swallow better, and  breath better. These movements are “functional disorders” and often involve “critical functions” as most mentioned in the first sentence. Not counting general pathology (cancer, infections etc), dentists treat the patient to improve and/or restore FUNCTION. It is way bigger than the “set the bone” or “fix the tooth”.

To this we are now entering an era of oral systemic linkage which takes us into an additional area of function in non-movement processes. We now will treat and resolve general physiological function disorders. Hopefully before they cause pathology. We are not competent yet in the medical world on what is happening in this area… but we see the issues and treatment/service is coming soon as we develop protocols.

So next time you go to the dentist or treat a patient, remember the goal is to restore function as we improve our lives.