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April 2023
Volume 44, Issue 4

It’s on My List

Whether going to a grocery store, shopping for the holidays, or planning for a treasured, though all-too-infrequent, 3-day weekend, I have found it is a good idea to make a list. It could be in my phone's Notes app, or dictated to Siri, or done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. Even if I chicken-scratch it in pencil on the back of a napkin, either way, the list documents what I may otherwise easily forget.

In healthcare, including dentistry, checklists can be used to yield a host of positive results, such as increased productivity, improved focus, and maybe even a bit less stress. When clinicians are working on a complex procedure, a checklist provides a framework-a list of actions arranged systematically that lets them perform each action consistently, record the accomplishment, and minimize errors. The end goal of using a checklist in medicine or dentistry: better outcomes.

In our first continuing education (CE) article this month, the authors describe the use of a "7 keys" checklist for the treatment of periodontal intrabony defects. While effective for addressing these often multifaceted deficiencies, periodontal regeneration can be complicated, as numerous factors may affect its predictability. Like so many other intricate dental procedures, careful attention to detail is needed by the clinician when treating intrabony defects. Here is where the checklist comes in handy. In this case, the sequential seven-item list outlines protocols for the planning, surgical, and postoperative phases of the periodontal treatment. As the authors demonstrate, use of the checklist can limit the chances of unwanted complications.

Our second CE article also focuses on a rather complex area of dentistry: palatal expansion. And while the authors do not utilize a checklist, per se, the virtually guided palate lateral wall, TAD-supported expansion they describe certainly requires not only technical proficiency by the clinician, but also organizational skills. The article offers diagnostic considerations regarding maxillary transverse deficiencies and discusses protocols for nonsurgical and surgical management of these deficiencies with an acrylic TAD-supported palate lateral wall expander.

Dentistry can be hard enough as is. Clinicians don't need to make it tougher on themselves. My advice: make a list!


Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD

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