Scientific principles constitute an underlying basis for our profession: these frame 80% of the sustaining requirements for accurate treatment planning and overall precise decision making.
These objective fundamentals are accessible for most professionals out there.
Yet don’t disregard that the residual 20%, forged by Vision, Personal Taste and Art, is the essential requirement for success.
By Art I’m referring to Artistic talent. This being a gift and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation, to know that he cannot waste this talent but must develop it. The artist is nothing without the gift but the gift is nothing without hard work and commitment.
The art of seeing what is invisible to others. In our field this is not only developed through the obsessive cult for dentistry. Vision is the sum of General knowledge, experiences, voyages.
It’s up to you to decide what good taste is. For me good taste and elegance are the key . Few have it, most don’t . I’ll let you decide what you think good taste is. Always keep in mind this quote from Paulo Coelho: Elegance is usually confused with superficiality, fashion, lack of depth. This is a serious mistake: human beings need to have elegance in their actions and in their posture because this word is synonymous with good taste, amiability, equilibrium and harmony.
I will explain how this harmony that I’m referring to is the answer to everything.
A good aesthetic outcome is only the result of our treatments, nowadays an easy result with the incredibly talented master technicians that support us. Yet if you truly believe that esthetics is our goal you are mistaken.
Our first goal is harmony, harmony in function.
Posting static before and after photos on social media has no value a side than for marketing purposes.
Common questions when I see those photos are:
Well, this is the key for patient satisfaction and professional success. This is the key for longevity.
This world wants to create robots. When you agree to be a robot you will find yourself in trouble. This growing tyranny of standardization results in professionals duplicating smiles, copying fake prototypes, following the same protocols, afraid to take initiative.
Refraining from imitation will be our best revenge.
Get used to celebrate and restore individuality in your patient’s smiles, esthetic IMPERFECTION ; only then you can achieve a natural and real look.
Having lived in many different countries and treated patients from a wide variety of ethnicities I had a chance to analyze facial beauty in depth realizing how ideals of beauty vary between cultures. I had a unique goal: celebrate cultural and ethnic variations in ideals of facial harmony while at the same time respecting the patients individuality.
No one should have to fit a certain mold to be beautiful, therefore It’s mandatory not to follow the same textbook measurements on every patient when blinded by esthetic rules.
When it comes to esthetic composition start celebrating your patient’s flaws and imperfections. And keep in mind that we are here 90% of the times to restore and only 10% of the times to create. We are Restorative Dentists. To restore is not to destroy what preceded.
The essential composition of a smile is determined by a perfect appropriateness to its use.
Everyone is aware of the relevance of listening to the patient’s chief complaint and his expectations however, only few highlight how important it is to have the patient listen to us.
This doesn’t mean having the power to choose for the patient but to choose with the patient, to Respond, to Change.
But educating our patient’s mind without first educating their heart will be effortless: Transmit your passion.
It’s mandatory. We must educate the patient. Too often around the world I realize that professionals are driven by patient’s unrealistic expectations. Our first mission as doctors, specialists is to inform the patient regarding all the possible consequences behind his desires.
Communication of those scientific parameters, of our boundaries as clinicians, educating the patient to respect function before considering esthetics are all indispensable factors when striving for longevity for our restorations.
To me picturing the future outcome before starting, envisioning the final result, that’s what produces passion. The art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Creating something as charming as nature; this is what produces passion, an emotion full of truth that rings a living sound like the roar coming from the lions breast. That’s what drives me. That’s why I do this.
This is a a profession that cannot be done only for business purposes, it needs to be driven by passion and this will be the only thing that can measure our success. Patients are aware of that. When they see our passion and our energy there will be no need to question our intention.
A powerful vision translates to passion giving you pleasure and satisfaction for life. Do it with passion or not at all.
Too often I see patients that have been previously treated for decades with crowns, fillings and veneers here and there; filling in the gaps or quickly trying to address the patients chief complaint but without treating the foundation problem which most of the times involves a broader aspect driven by the entire stomatognathic system, the face not only the smile.
Only who is able to perceive this and make treasure of the experience of other specialists for a total multidisciplinary approach can build a successful career.
Sometimes specialists are thought to be invasive for making some decisions that appear not to be directly related to the patient’s chief complaint. This is a false assumption in most cases: those decisions are the result of thinking of a bigger picture that considers overall longevity of treatment. Collect the information, connect it and then share these connections with your patient and your team, this is how a creative human works.
Every team needs different people with different qualities to achieve the final goal and make the project work. See the benefits of working with others, others that share your same passion. If you combine the talents you have in common you will get a lot further.
Often we need to be curious and humble in understanding our own limits. A multidisciplinary approach is always necessary. This is not a passive approach. Its an active communication with multidisciplinary culture, indispensable for a successful treatment plan.
Lastly be curious, as in good engineering our profession is all about understanding how our restorations break or fail. Being aware of that we can really provide long term stability for our patients.
Digital innovation will undoubtedly change and improve our profession, and I believe that the greater benefit of this technological developments consists in deepening multidisciplinary approach for better diagnosis.
For this reason it needs to have a clear direction: it is fundamental to understand that all this data and digital tools have no value on their own but all of its importance ( mostly in diagnostics) relies is the user’s ability to interpret them.
For a prosthodontist aside from the multidisciplinary approach with other doctors when aiming to restore ideally our patients there is a last fundamental aspect to consider : the art of reproducing nature.
Artistic talent must not disregard the natural anatomy of a real tooth. To this aid the continuous communication with our master technicians is mandatory.
Knowing how to communicate with lab technicians is key.
A ceramist is tailoring a dress on the body that we created, on a body that we designed; tailoring without design is lifeless and design without tailoring is mute. To achieve our goal we need to fuse these worlds together.
It is the accuracy and detail inherent in harmonic composition that endows these smiles with lasting value. Of course it is all about the time and attention paid by the prosthodontist but the ceramist with his final touch will make this detail, this dream, this vision possible.
Lastly be yourself because an original is worth more than just being a copy.
It takes a lot of courage to be authentic, and this entails taking risks too – the risk of being disliked when we set our boundaries, but here’s where risk turns into something worth it and that’s respect for ourselves.
And never forget that your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.