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Two-way communication Options · View
jmailankody@gmail.com
Posted: Thursday, June 8, 2006 11:55:42 AM

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Joined: 5/14/2006
Posts: 8
Dear Dr. Keim:

You are to be congratulated for an excellent, timely editorial on the importance of communication in the orthodontic profession.

Whether it be with staff, patients, parents, general dentists, colleagues, other specialists, third-party insurance, social contacts, or the media--whomever one deals with, the key to success is in understanding the other and making the other understand us. The orthodontic profession largely depends on understanding and meeting patient expectations, and on obtaining good compliance and cooperation to this end. Therefore, it is mandatory that our postgraduate curriculum and examinations should have more emphasis on effective two-way communication. Very few orthodontic departments have communication modules in their specialty teaching programs. I'm sure your editorial and interactions during the AAO conference will further expand this vital subject into more effective platforms.

Another point in the editorial is to know and to explain why you are doing what you are doing. Here in our postgraduate program, the residents are programmed from day one to know and be able to explain: a) what they are doing; b) why they are doing it; c) why they chose that method over other available methods. This gives them the basic power to reason objectively, and to make others understand the rationale behind the procedure rather than following blindly like the pied piper.

Looking forward to more on similar topics in future.

Regards,
Jayaram Mailankody
Professor and Head of Orthodontics
Government Dental College,
Calicut, India
abobkin@rogers.com
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2006 8:48:43 PM

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Joined: 4/20/2006
Posts: 1
Dear Dr. Keim:

I was interested to read your experience in the Editor's Corner (JCO, May 2006). I have had many experiences such as this. I have been in practice for 27 years and have found that patients take themselves to many different dentists in the large city in which I practice. It is very difficult to communicate my thoughts to all the various offices. Many, if not most, of my referrals come from other patients with dentists who are not known to me. While I do send letters back to these offices detailing my treatment plan and other options that were discussed, I have come to realize that few dentists read my letters.

I have had dentists refuse to extract teeth I have requested, including deciduous teeth. I have had a dentist tell a parent that his child had a tooth that was ready to pop out, and that I should have been aware of this. It turned out that this was a late-developing supernumerary that was not evident on pretreatment radiographs. I have had an oral surgeon refuse to do a frenectomy. There are many others.

I am not egotistical enough to suggest that my treatment plan is the only or best treatment plan, but the problem is that the dentists are speaking to the patients or parents without speaking to me. While I respect your opinion that you should have provided the pedodontist with a treatment plan first, what transpired was entirely his fault. He should have said nothing at all to the parent. He should have called you. This concept was taught to me over and over again in undergraduate dentistry. Do not comment on another dentist's work before you know all the circumstances. It seems to me that dentists today feel it is acceptable to make any comments they want, not realizing the difficulty that this places us all in.

Yours truly,
Alan Bobkin
Toronto, Ontario
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