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March 2024
Volume 45, Issue 3

It’s Not Your Fault

You're probably familiar with the scene in Good Will Hunting where Will gets his emotional breakthrough. Robin Williams' character, Sean, a psychologist, has spent months working with Will, played by Matt Damon, an orphan who endured an abusive, troubled youth. Now a young man, Will, a natural math genius, has lived a life of fist fights, broken relationships, trouble with the law, and more. The elder Sean, a fellow "Southie" from Boston, is one of the few individuals who understands Will, and the two develop a trusting relationship. Finally, after much therapy, Sean exhorts Will, "It's not your fault," causing him to fall into his mentor's arms sobbing, at long last shaking off the shackles of his torment.

While this analogy may be a bit dramatic, sometimes dentists have to understand that "it's not your fault!" Despite their best efforts, there are times when dentists can't do much about the human body's biological response. One might conduct a procedure in just the right manner, yet an unanticipated outcome may result.

An example of this is highlighted in a continuing education (CE) article this month, which focuses on endodontic flare-ups. As the authors explain, such complications may occur after completely appropriate endodontic treatment was administered. Usually, their manifestation is due to a disruption of the delicate interaction involving chemical, mechanical, and microbial elements, and not poor execution of the treatment. In describing the etiology, risk factors, prevention, and treatment of endodontic flare-ups, the authors reassure clinicians that such events may be inevitable, are treatable, and are not a result of failed dental work. Understanding the situation can go a long way toward maintaining a good patient relationship.

Speaking of endodontics, our other CE article provides a primer on post and core usage in dentistry, discussing various systems for different endodontic, restorative, and esthetic requirements. The discussion is a precursor to a novel concept for developing a fiber-reinforced post and core system using a monoblock system via the injectable resin technique.

Other clinical reports in this issue cover such topics as intentional replantation, systematic treatment planning, and the always-challenging restoration of posterior mandibular atrophy.

Please enjoy this issue of Compendium, and know that while dentists always strive to do their best, some outcomes may have unwanted side-effects -- which may not your fault.


Markus B. Blatz, DMD, PhD

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