Staying out of trouble in aesthetic dentistry

Andrea Shepperson explains how to make sure you can offer a more predictable and reliable result.

Relevant to all dental procedures, the quality of the treatment planning process can have a huge influence over the quality of the outcome. Failing to plan for every eventuality can lead to some unnecessary and often expensive problems, which, in the worst cases, can cost dentists their profit, their reputation and their patient.

Andrea Shepperson is an internationally recognised clinician, thought-leader and educator. A Digital Smile Design master and instructor, Andrea is a past director and chair, as well as an honorary life member of the New Zealand Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She is a founding member of the American Academy of Oral and Systemic Health, and a mentor and alumni of the renowned Kois Centre in Seattle, US. Director of the dental corporate Lumino, Andrea is also the founder of Dental Fingerprint – a risk assessment tool for clinicians.

Andrea comments: ‘Dentists are currently dealing with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities in aesthetic dentistry. An ageing population wanting anti-ageing strategies, tooth wear, erosion, public awareness and global connection all add a vulnerability to our work. Patients are more informed and their expectations have changed. In an era of social media, mistakes can be very public and consequential, and complaint and litigation is on the rise. Dentists are also under a new pressure to perform in ways that create lifelike restorations and smiles in harmony with the face. The key to achieving all this safely is risk assessment and digital planning at the outset – reviewing the individual and their expectations, the biology, function and materials.’

Aesthetic dentistry

At a time when dentists’ every move is under scrutiny from every angle, it is more important than ever to avoid mistakes and common problems during treatment. The aesthetics of the teeth are perhaps one of the most obvious aspects to get right, as a patient will know instantly if their expectations haven’t been met.

‘Problems arise in aesthetic dentistry when dentists haven’t anticipated biologic and occlusal challenges,’ continues Andrea. ‘This might be lip mobility and gingival display, spacing or crowding that compromises proportion, varied substructures with discolouration, or difficult occlusal relationships. A planning process that doesn’t consider all of these elements results in cases that disappoint, which can involve costly alteration or re-treatment.

‘Effective communication is also integral to success. Digital planning allows a patient to be involved in every step – they see design lines, photos and videos to visualise the end result, which enables them to contribute to the decision-making at every stage. When the proposed treatment is carefully and thoroughly communicated, the patient can become part of the inter-disciplinary team involving dentist, ceramist and patient.’

Staying out of trouble in aesthetic dentistry

Andrea will be speaking at The Dentistry Show 2017 as part of the BACD Aesthetic Dentist Theatre. Her session, entitled ‘Staying out of trouble in aesthetic dentistry’ has been designed to help dentists avoid common pitfalls, about which Andrea says: ‘Atul Gawande, globally recognised surgeon and author, highlighted the need for a checklist mind-set in even the best health professionals. His work makes a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough) and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we make because we don’t make proper use of what we know). My presentation uses Gawande’s tools to make proper use of what we know, in an organised approach to any aesthetic case.

‘The lecture will provide a structured checklist to raise red flags and highlight the need to approach a case differently. This might involve the addition of multi-disciplinary care, managing biologic limitations, different conversations and changing material selection. I hope dentists will leave with the confidence to discuss all aspects of a case with the patient and have effective tools to evaluate form and function. As such, delivery of the perfect smile should be more predictable and reliable. I will also discuss digital design and case planning to shift the benchmark for aesthetic dentistry to a new standard of care.

‘This will be my first time at The Dentistry Show – I’m really looking forward to the scale of the event and am privileged to be taking part. Thank you for the invitation!’

World-class speakers

Chaired by Elaine Halley, the BACD Aesthetic Dentist Theatre will present an array of world-class speakers in addition to Andrea Shepperson, including Jameel Gardee, James Goolnik, Richard Field, James Russell and Christopher McConnell. Through this and various additional theatres, hours of verifiable CPD will be available for every member of the dental team. Further still, the trade floor will host more than 400 dental manufacturers and suppliers, with many offering live demonstrations of their cutting-edge products, materials and technologies, as well as on-stand learning and fantastic deals and promotions.

Make sure you don’t miss out!

The Dentistry Show and DTS 2017 will be held on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May at the NEC in Birmingham.

For further details visit call 020 7348 5270 or email [email protected].

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