Benefits of Four-Handed Dentistry
Here at Dental Didactics CE we receive many inquiries concerning four-handed dentistry. The concept is to approach dental treatment not as an individual dentist providing treatment by himself or herself. Four-handed dentistry embraces the concept of a team of two dental professionals (i.e., a dentist and dental assistant, or a dental hygienist and dental assistant) working together to provide the highest quality treatment for the patient. This team approach to dentistry allows the dentist to focus on diagnosis, treatment planning, and operative procedures and not be distracted by the tasks of material preparation, retraction, operative site isolation, suctioning, and instrument handling. Operating with a dental assistant greatly improves productivity and efficiency, and results in a highly improved patient experience. It also improves the ergonomics of providing dental treatment and promotes sit-down dentistry which protects the orthopedic and muscular health of the dental team, especially related to posture and back issues.
Dentistry as a Team Effort
From a psychological point of view, working as a team, with the inherent support that provides, helps preserve the dentist's enthusiasm for the profession and prevents burnout. When the dental team operates properly, all members enjoy their professional duties more and achieve a greater sense of satisfaction. Enthusiasm for the profession is enhanced and the work environment is more conducive to ideal treatment when the dental team members feel like they are on the same team and valued for their contributions. When the operator has the confidence that they are fully supported and will have everything they need ready to go, before they need it, the entire dental experience is better for everyone involved.
Improving Dental Team Productivity
When practiced properly, four-handed dentistry results in less fatigue, less burnout, fewer physical challenges, greater productivity, and greater job satisfaction for both dentists and assistants. Patients also appreciate receiving the undivided attention of a well-coordinated dental team and have a much more comfortable clinical experience when treated by a team, rather than by an individual. Dentists today cannot imagine working without an assistant, and they are well aware that if they were trying to provide only two-handed dentistry, clinical results and operative quality would suffer greatly. One of the best ways for dentists and dental assistants to stay on the same page and stay mutually updated on the latest dental protocols is to take Dental CE courses together. This helps provide better communications between dental team members, as well as promoting a united approach to educating patients regarding treatment options and the clinical rationale for operative choices.