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From the Chairside: The Art and Science of Dentistry: Days of Reflection

This is not a customary CDA Oasis post. Although this feature presentation is about the practice of dentistry, the post is more reflective in nature than based on a clinical inquiry.

The idea started when Dr. Paul Belzycki agreed to collaborate with us on a series of posts in which he shares his extensive experience treating complex dental cases. Dr. Belzycki considered it helpful to share his own philosophy on the profession of dentistry; how he became a dentist, how he acquired his knowledge, solidified his clinical experience, and why dentistry for him is an amalgamation of art and science.

In this post, you will experience his reflections on a professional career that extends over 38 years. You will also learn about his initial apprehensions of accessing knowledge on the Internet, and more particularly from Oasis Discussions, and how he is now using the tool to help his dentist colleagues.

I hope you enjoy this first presentation in the series. If you’d also like to share your thoughts with us, please do at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager

Highlights

Dr. Paul Belzycki speaks to our Oasis Discussions audience about his passion and philosophy behind the “art and science of dentistry”, a profession that he has practised over the last 38 years. Dr. Belzycki graduated from dental school and worked in private practice thereafter with little business experience. Through honest and hard work, he has had the privilege of building and working with a loyal staff and patient base. Paul’s overarching philosophy is that while dentistry may be guided by art, it must be grounded in science. Each and every patient deserves an accurate diagnosis as well as good, sound, ethical treatment.

Key Messages

  • Dentistry has many monikers now – spa, value-based, laser, family, patient-centered dentistry, but at the core, it is still dentistry.
  • Knowledge is abundant in this day and age and come from exo-somatic and somatic sources
    • Exo-somatic is knowledge external to one’s self – authorities (evidence-based), marketplace (journals, industry, KOLs) and the internet.
    • Somatic knowledge is intrinsic – gut-instinct based on experience and feel.
    • Choose sources of knowledge with care as well as a degree of skepticism.
  • Although, we are in the “new” school computer era, there is much value in the “old” school traditional methodologies that were taught in dental school.
  • Old school and new school methodologies do not have to be mutually exclusive.
  • The ideal treatment outcome rarely comes without hard work, diligence and frustration even if similar cases have been performed on multiple occasions.
  • To create beautiful esthetics that also have durable and high functionality, one must respect the patient’s oral and physiological characteristics.
  • While some aspects of dentistry may require trial and error, one must understand his/her limitations and anticipate issues that may arise during treatment – control what is controllable.
  • There will always be elements out of the clinician’s control – patient compliance, bacterial load, physiology but, it is important to recognize and mitigate them.

Full Interview (43″)

 

2 comments

  1. As one of your patients, I liked your presentation. Apart from learning new things in dentistry, I can identify with your quest for perfection, and with the problem of doing this in a world that is no longer interested in this ideal. In the end, we must accept the fact that the real and perhaps only reward is our personal satisfaction with the work we do. Hardly anyone understands, let alone appreciate, excellence. The common belief is simply that the latest things are the best. But rest assured that at least some of your patients appreciate the quality of your work and your genuine concern for their dental health.

    • From Dr. Paul Belzycki:

      The above comment by my patient is warmly appreciated. Dr. Sorin holds a PhD in computer science. In his book Software and Mind, The Mechanistic Myth and Its Consequences, he outlines in great detail modern Man’s ever increasing dependence on computers and how this impacts Mind and Knowledge.

      Over the years, in those quiet moments between dentalwork, we have had time to ruminate over all things philosophical. Truly a poor use of time as defined by practice management consultants in their quest to squeeze out every dollar out of every minute.

      But I have found these quiet moments with patients the most valuable and satisfying in the course of a day. Talk can be therapeutic for both patient and dentist. That’s Old School.

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